Juried shows

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by eclarke, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    I'm posting this to harvest a few opinions about a method for selecting a juried show. There is an organization in Milwaukee called COPA (Coalition of Photographic Arts) which has sent notices around for submissions to a juried print show which will attract entrants from surrounding states, The juror is a curator from the Museum of Modern Photography. The hitch is that they will choose the work for a print show from digital web images!! Opinions on this procedure please...Evan Clarke
     
  2. billbretz

    billbretz Member

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    My opinion? It's a lousy way to put together a show. But it is standard practice in a world gone over to digital. Cheap and efficient.

    Given that a lot of works today stand merely on the presence of their massive size I'm almost surprised it has taken hold. Shows often include a warning in the guidelines that they will remove images juried in if they do not stand up, technically, at least, in real physical printed form.

    Here's what the juror of a recent show in my area wrote of the practice, from the reviewer's perspective:

    "...as is always the case with a juried show, there is the frustrating fact that one cannot see
    the actual objects. Craft is part of every art and it’s hard to discern when one is looking at pictures
    of photographs on a computer screen. Come delivery of the actual works at installation time, every
    juror may find that they misjudged some work’s materiality, scale, quality and ambition; that’s
    just part of the show."

    A pragmatic, honest viewpoint - not necessarily what I would accept should I ever jury a show. And I think it is interesting that the juror chooses to say this is "always" the case. Because, of course, that is not true, nor does it have to be...
     
  3. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Frequently a juror selects images that work together and are not necessarily all the best of the submissions. Different jurors have different tastes in what they consider a strong image worthy of display. Email submissions are more convenient but not better than seeing the real thing. Many juried shows are fund raisers for the organization and digital submissions eliminate the need for storing, repackaging and returning rejected pieces. They don't need standards for containers and the correct return postage. Also the juror can be in another city and never see the actual photographs. I guess it's best to carefully check out the sponsor and purpose of the show.

    On the other hand it's easier to submit entries especially if you want to enter for several shows at different locations with overlapping deadlines.
     
  4. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    I'm just up in the air about submitting because a few years ago I banished all digital stuff from my house, scanners, cameras etc. and really don't have any method to submit or do I want to waste time that could be spent in my darkroom. They have had this event before but not with somebody of museum stature to jury it, I'm surprised (uneducated in the current process) that a museum curator would do this...EC
     
  5. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    Why be so rigid about it?

    People digitize their images HERE for perusal and commentary...so why not do it to help analog photography reach a wider appreciative audience?
     
  6. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    The alternative would be slides of the images, and I don't think that is any better of a way to select images for a show than digital.
     
  7. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    First and foremost, analog photography reaches an audience when somebody sees the print or negative, what we see here on the forum is digital photography AKA web images, the show and this forum are separate and unrelated venues. I'm pretty sure that most of the submissions for the show will be digital prints and more color than B&W. I think that hanging a real physical print show takes a giant leap of faith that the prints will be true to a web image and surprised that the particular juror will do it. I have only made submissions with actual prints (twice this year) and the digital submission surprises me. I don't develop any opinions about the stuff posted in the gallery here except that the subject matter is pleasing, you can't tell anything about the poster's ability to print. Usually the prints I get to see which I've seen digitized for the forum are way better or worse than the image. I'm not being rigid and I posted this to see the viewpoints...Thanks..Evan
     
  8. Exeter2010

    Exeter2010 Member

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    I am concerned about this very thing right now. I recently entered my first juried "contest" - no results yet - and I sent prints because I was allowed to and because I really thought that much of the impact of the photographs would be lost if only viewed on the web. Ultimately though, the images were scanned by the administrators and it is the scanned images on the web that will be what the jury will make their selections from.

    I suppose it was a little naive of me to think that if I were to send prints, than the prints would be the medium that the judges would see and 'judge from', but there you go...you learn something every day. I am not too hopeful that my images would be selected in any case, but now that I've seen the scans I don't even think about it anymore. I'll just consider myself lucky if any of my images are chosen.
     
  9. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    I emailed the juror with the question and the reply was that all juried shows are done by web viewing with the hope that prints are up to snuff. The response also said that the idea of the image (not photograph) was more important than craft. My question is... Why should shows even have actual prints and not shown on monitors? Why not marry a web picture of a spouse instead of a real person? Why not eat a web image of a fish instead of the real thing? Why visit Yosemite when you can see it on Youtube? Is the idea more important than the total experience?...Evan Clarke
     
  10. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    The easy solution, then, is don't enter. That will free up the spot you may have had for someone who isn't going to bitch about the way the work is viewed by the juror.
     
  11. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't have a problem with it. I've entered a number of juried competitions, and have been rejected (a lot) selected (enough to keep me happy) and even won a competition a couple of years ago. The resulting shows have been generally, good, and I've never felt that my work was hanging around a lot of inferior work. Especially when a curator/photographer/gallerist juror might find some resonance with my work. It's not an ideal way to view work, I'll grant you, but it's made it easier for organizations to hire really good jurors to view a lot of pictures, and make their selections in a reasonable time frame.
     
  12. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I'm afraid this is just the reality of today's world. And as one on the receiving/organizing end of some juried art shows, I'm well aware of some of the advantages of the digital process. A couple of the larger photography shows in this area sometimes receive more than a thousand submissions. Even when the work is only hand delivered, that's a formidable exercise in logistics. This is only a sampling of one show, but last year, one show that accepts digital or physical submissions ran a little analysis that suggested your odds of getting in were about 10 or 15% better with a physical submission. But as with every other parameter, that might vary wildly between judges (or perhaps making entry digital only levels the playing field.)

    The whole business of jurying and judging shows is just about guaranteed to leave at least some people unhappy. In both photography and painting, some judges are mostly interested in the concept and composition, others are awed by technique, and still others grumble about "bad presentation." "You guys should run a class or demonstration on framing" etc. Think of it as a lottery, but you have to bring a picture!
     
  13. billbretz

    billbretz Member

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    No, the alternative would be to look at the pictures. In living color or living black and white. To stand before the actual work, not a x by x pixel version. Logistically more challenging? Yes. But some things are worth the effort.
     
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  15. billbretz

    billbretz Member

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    Greg,
    I wouldn't call being concerned about how work is presented bitching. These shows would all be better if every photographer but strong effort into how their work actually looks.
     
  16. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    I'm not bitching, I just think it's a curious process to choose something from a representation of it. I like real things that I can touch and experience and am actually shocked by this much acceptance of virtuality. I respect your opinion about it and am happy to hear it. Are your prints better than your scans?

    DW, I'm not unhappy, I would rather just get together with 3 or 4 people and look at each other's prints, don't need a contest to help me enjoy what I do...Evan Clarke
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 31, 2010
  17. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    I have never entered a juried show by submitted photos, however, my Wife does glass and copper sculptures, and has entered several shows by photo only. We're photographers, and hopefully, and make digital photos that represent our work fairly accurately. People that are not photographers often make really bad photos of their work. I'm sure many good pieces are rejected due to these bad photos.

    That said, I would rather enter the actual piece of work, which is the only way I have done it so far.
     
  18. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    Its obvious who in this thread has ZERO exhibition experience. Those of us who do know that juried shows almost never (and never have) used the original prints for judging entries. Before digital, they demanded slides. That meant taking pictures of your prints using slide film and the results never looked as good as the original. Its done digital now because slide jurying is a logistical nightmare. You have to keep track of who the slides belong to so you can mail them back and before the jury can see them they have to be loaded in slide projector trays. Its much more efficient for them to ask for a CD or email of JPEGS and frankly, having done both slides and digital submissions, the digital ones are MUCH truer in appearance to the originals than slides ever were.

    Like another poster said, this is how its done, don't like it, then get out of the way of the professionals. Your narrow-minded bigotry is only hurting YOUR career, no one else cares.
     
  19. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I expect that the experienced judges are reasonably good at interpreting the digital facsimiles of analogue prints. By that, I mean that a good judge will be able to tell whether the original photograph is likely to reveal more/have more positive qualities than the digital image of it that they see.

    If these juried shows require that accepted work be printed to be displayed, I would expect that the real challenge would be lousy digital prints made subsequently from digital images reviewed and accepted by judges.
     
  20. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Wow... Thanks for straightening the rest of us out.

    Ken
     
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  21. billbretz

    billbretz Member

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    Chris-
    If you are going to be insulting and attempt to speak with such authority, please know what you are talking about.

    There are plenty of shows that accept, even require, physical prints.

    I will now provide my proof.

    Last I saw, all with a year or so, these shows required physical prints:

    Philadelphia Sketch Club annual photo competition
    Perkins Center of Art annual photo competition
    Center for the Creative Arts annual competition

    Yes, they are local or regional shows. You've likely never heard of them, fine.
    But they do, to use an examples just off the top of my head, show why you should not be so damn sure of yourself.

    If there is anyone here showing "narrow-minded bigotry" it is, well, you.
     
  22. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    Look, I don't need another career, I already have prosperous 30 year career making expensive, highly decorated pool cues. I'm not a bigot and am curious about this process, seems like a poor way to do it despite it being the way it's done. I have had favorable portfolio revues by people with good credentials and have been in juried shows which required print submission. Honestly, I would love to see your prints and could care less about seeing the web pics. Why be so nasty? I didn't claim to have experience..EC
     
  23. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    That's the issue with this particular show, the local people who will be involved in this have sort of a camera club background and I'm sure there won't be any analog photography. The juror who will be selecting just did a large show in San Diego and was happy that all the prints were pretty good but appears to have been a little apprehensive...EC
     
  24. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    Look, I'm telling you how its done. Don't like it? Too bad. The art world isn't going to bow to a bunch of whining amateurs.

    The hate toward digital of some of the people here makes all photographers look like fools who only care about process. That is precisely why photography was not accepted as art for so long and why some still refuse to accept it as art.

    Like it or not digital printing processes are here to stay and they're fully accepted in the world of the professional artist. You don't have to use them. Hell, I still shoot film for 100% of my work. You can use any processes you want, but when you constantly rundown people who use digital you make only YOURSELF look bad. Curators and gallery directors have no time for people who have to talk bad about how someone else works to try and elevate their own work. It makes you look like a nasty backstabber, and no one wants to deal with that type of person. If your work is good, it'll stand out no matter what others are doing. If it sucks, then no amount of badmouthing digital users will make your work suck any less.

    I joined APUG because I like to shoot film and wanted to talk to other film users. I have no need to fight a crusade against digital. I'm too busy making and selling my work for such silliness.
     
  25. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    My original comment was harsh, but close to the truth. A juror has to look at hundreds of images from possibly hundreds of artists. They have an intern que up all the discs and then they go through them rather quickly and narrow it down to the works they want to show. Rarely do they want prints because it is more effort to shuffle through prints than to click the next button. Slides are falling out of fashion because they are so small compared to a screen image. They usually do not put the slides into a projector, they just lay them on a light box and look.

    The fact of the matter is that nobody is going to care about the craft of your image as much as you do, so they aren't going to look at your prints and marvel at them then put them up because you are a good printer. I wish it were so, but they aren't. They don't want good craftsmen, they are looking for clear visual communication. Most jurors know that a certain amount of craft must be used to communicate clearly through images, but some artists just don't care enough or know enough. I had to come with terms with the fact that just because I demand a high level of craft in my images, doesn't mean they do. I don't lower my standards because they aren't needed for shows, though, it's my work and I'm only going to show it if it meets my satisfaction. But I also know that no juror is going to show a beautifully crafted photograph of dog crap just because it's printed very well unless it clearly communicates something to the viewer.

    And, Bill, it is not the actual show I'm talking about. It is the submission to try to get into a show. With only one exception, every show I have been in has been a print on the wall in the end.
     
  26. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    Submitting stuff to get in exhibits has always been a compromise. Like I said, slides are the traditional method and they sucked. The originals always looked different than the slides, and I don't just mean my slides and prints; I have seen a lot of other people's work too and have always felt that submitting slides didn't do justice to the original (and this applies to painting, drawing, sculpture, etc...they had to use slides too).

    Now most places want digital photos instead of slides. Honestly, compared to slides a well made digital photo of a piece of artwork is FAR better than a slide. With digital you can color correct the photo to very closely match the original print or painting or whatever. Its also reduced costs for us, because we no longer need to have huge numbers of slides made and keep track of who we've sent them too and risk the people not returning them. Shoot each piece once, send copies of the digital file. Its a good thing for us artists, really!

    My problem is with the knee-jerk anti digital bigotry that condemns it JUST because its digital and for no other reason. I can guarantee you that 99% of the people who have screamed the loudest in this thread about the awfulness of submitting digital files wouldn't have complained a bit about having to send slides that didn't look at faithful to the original as a well made digital photo.