For the first time in 18 months, we were able to meet together for a competition session. The theme was "Abandonment."
Meeting in person meant that we could again share Prints as well as Digital images. Some 17 members contributed Prints and 30 entered the Digital (DPI) category. Thanks to technology and the wizardry of our Webmaster, members unable to attend in person were able to take part by Zoom.
Our judge was Jay Charnock who delivered a characteristically witty as well as instructive commentary.
Jay began by reminding us that all critique is subjective. She outlined some key aspects of her approach to looking at any art, and judging in particular:
- to give priority to the mood, feel and emotion engendered by an image over its technical merits;whether an image is sharp or blurred is less important than how strongly it connects with the viewer
- to acknowledge that each person – photographer and viewer – sees things differently and reacts differently to what they see
- to be mindful of how well the brief – the theme – has been fulfilled
Highlighting the importance of presentation, Jay praised the overall standard of mounting of the Print images. Even a small print can be helped to “sing” by being well presented in a larger mount. This was a theme she came back to from time to time in reviewing our Prints. Another aspect of presentation that matters is the title given to an image. A good title can really make it clear what an image is all about, and stimulate the viewer to think about the image.
Going through the entries, Jay highlighted good examples of where an image conveyed energy as opposed to being “flat”, or lacking “welly”; where it told a story or stimulated the viewer to imagine their own story.
She expressed a liking for monochrome images, especially where these demonstrated good control of tonality, texture and detail. With these, she recommended “burning” the edges to hold the image together more firmly.
However, she noted, some pictures do work better in colour and we need to think about the choice we are making. She favours colours that are gentle and balanced, not harsh or clashing.
There is a balance too to be struck between including detail that is interesting and relevant as opposed to “busy-ness” that distracts from the main subject of the image.
Observation – seeing things in a unique or unusual way – is part of the skill of photography. One key message was that we should have fun with our photography. Pictures that are quirky, or a little off-the-wall can be very rewarding.
A number of images were “held back” for further review and these achieved the highest marks on a scale up to 20. In the Prints category, maximum scores were recorded by:
- John Murray, for “Abandoned Premises”
- Natalie Robinson, for “Burnt Out”
- Hilary Barton, for “Abandoned Russian Coal Mine in Arctic”, and
- Colin Page, for “Abandoning Red Sands Forts”
In the Digital category, full marks went to:
- Jools McLean for “A is for Abandonment”, and
- Rob Wilkinson, for “Unfinished Business”
Their images are included below. You can see all the entries in the newest Galleries on our website.
We will open a platform for members to share comments on their own and each other’s entries, as we have done before. The platform will be open for longer, to give time for more members to add their thoughts.
The third Round of the Season will be held on 7th December 2021. There will be no set theme. Please keep an eye on the website for more information closer to the date.
Concluding the meeting, our Chair Paul Shelley thanked the judge and all those who had taken part, with special thanks to John and Dennis for keeping the technology on track, and to Debbie and Colin for stepping in to handle the Prints.
Paul also congratulated Natalie Robinson on the installation of her project “Reflections – What Lies Beneath” on the riverside at Walbrook Wharf, by Cannon Street Bridge.
Abandoned Premises (John Murray)
Burnt Out (Natalie Robinson)
Abandoned Russian Coal Mine in Arctic (Hilary Barton)
Abandoning Red Sands Forts (Colin Page)
A is for Abandonment (Julia McClean)
Unfinished Business (Rob Wilkinson)