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  1. #41

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    The below is not entirely true. Being long listed for (but not winning) the Terry O'Neill award got my work a full page in the Sunday Times Magazine, which was useful for me at the time.

    The reality is that if you want the best chance of being considered for things like grants, in addition to good work, you benefit greatly from history and 'credentials' i.e. other people or organisations having 'validated/recognised' your work, which in turn make donors feel confident enough to give you their money. How you go about that can be as varied as it is intelligent. High-profile competitions can help build that credibility. Whether you think it a good thing, or whether you think it should be needed, is a quite separate thing. Galleries pay attention too.

    Comps are far from everything, but it is also not a 'win or lose' activity. Its about building a resume/CV and recognition by institutions, which depending on what you wish to achieve, may be irrelevant or hugely important. It can also be about learning how a panel of judges (whose backgrounds and activities you have researched) respond to your work. As always, it is personal choice.

    Have a look at the resumes of many of the best known documentary and fine art photographers and you will see how many have won awards (posh name for competitions of some type or other). This has not happened because they are irrelevant, but because they are considered part of the 'costume of credibility' even for those whose work is blindingly good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vincent Brady (TEX) View Post
    Thank you Ralph for your input on photo competitions. I was very involved in club competitions and it is only in the last few years that I have opted out of them for many of the reasons you have stated. The chief reason is that I believe photography is an art form and not a sport with only one winner and everyone else losers. General Custard once said "First is first second is nowhere" and that sums up camera club competitions, when it could be so much more.

  2. #42
    Vincent Brady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stanworth View Post
    The below is not entirely true. Being long listed for (but not winning) the Terry O'Neill award got my work a full page in the Sunday Times Magazine, which was useful for me at the time.

    The reality is that if you want the best chance of being considered for things like grants, in addition to good work, you benefit greatly from history and 'credentials' i.e. other people or organisations having 'validated/recognised' your work, which in turn make donors feel confident enough to give you their money. How you go about that can be as varied as it is intelligent. High-profile competitions can help build that credibility. Whether you think it a good thing, or whether you think it should be needed, is a quite separate thing. Galleries pay attention too.

    Comps are far from everything, but it is also not a 'win or lose' activity. Its about building a resume/CV and recognition by institutions, which depending on what you wish to achieve, may be irrelevant or hugely important. It can also be about learning how a panel of judges (whose backgrounds and activities you have researched) respond to your work. As always, it is personal choice.

    Have a look at the resumes of many of the best known documentary and fine art photographers and you will see how many have won awards (posh name for competitions of some type or other). This has not happened because they are irrelevant, but because they are considered part of the 'costume of credibility' even for those whose work is blindingly good.
    My feelings about competitions stems from a life spent in the amateur circles and are not meant to reflect on photographers who are attempting to make a living from their profession.
    I did found a small group from within the camera club who wanted to discuss their own approach to photography and projects they were working on. Their was no competitions, only encouragement and exchange of ideas. It was a most enjoyable experience. Lack of a meeting place forced us to disband, but not before we held several exhibitions which brought out the best in us.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vincent Brady (TEX) View Post
    Thank you Ralph for your input on photo competitions. I was very involved in club competitions and it is only in the last few years that I have opted out of them for many of the reasons you have stated. The chief reason is that I believe photography is an art form and not a sport with only one winner and everyone else losers. General Custard once said "First is first second is nowhere" and that sums up camera club competitions, when it could be so much more.
    In our club competitions, every single entry receives an oral critique. After that process is complete, the judge looks over all the entries together, and identifies (usually) five "winners" - 1st, 2nd, 3rd and two honourable mentions.

    By the way, did you mean to refer to General "Custard" and not General "Custer"?
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  4. #44
    Vincent Brady's Avatar
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    By the way, did you mean to refer to General "Custard" and not General "Custer"?

    Sorry about that Matt, bad spelling on my part. Although there is a connection between both words, General Custer was know as 'chief yellow hair' according to the comics that I read in my youth and of course custard is yellow.
    In your club I wonder how people would feel if the judge just left it at the oral critique. People have heard a critique of their work and can accept the judges words or not.

    Cheers
    Vincent

  5. #45

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    Vincent, Don't worry about the Custard thing. I took many years for the boy to become and adult and belatedly find out that was not his name. I was hugely disappointed, naturally. I guess that's fond memories of rhubarb crumble and custard, treacle sponge and custard and the enormous contribution custard had in my development. Up until hearing the bad news, custard had a real life hero. From that point on it was just not the same.

  6. #46
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vincent Brady (TEX) View Post
    ...
    In your club I wonder how people would feel if the judge just left it at the oral critique. People have heard a critique of their work and can accept the judges words or not. ...
    That's how I see it too. Once the prints have been reviewed and critiqued, opinion and advise have been given and shared, why the rating on top of it? I don't see the point.

    Is it our societal conditioning? Are we brought up to compete? Do we need to support that habit by passing out trophies in photographic clubs?

    Or would it be better we turned photo clubs into centers of creativity and started talking about photographs like painters talk about paintings?
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  7. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht View Post
    Or would it be better we turned photo clubs into centers of creativity and started talking about photographs like painters talk about paintings?
    If we did that, could we start signing prints on the image itself, like painters do?

  8. #48
    Kevin Kehler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by An Le-qun View Post
    If we did that, could we start signing prints on the image itself, like painters do?
    Now you're just being silly

    Interesting aside regarding my post, I ended up only entering 2 prints and one for my daughter. I didn't win anything but my 8-year old won first place in the youth category. While my lack-of-winning did not dampen my photographic love, my daughter is already asking when she can take more shots. However, more in line with Ralph critique, she wants to take pictures so she can win next year, not because it encouraged her love of art. These were the first shots I entered in 3 years, I can't see doing it again.

    Back to the O.P., I sign the back with an acid free marker made for prints and am wanting to use India Ink for the fronts in the future. I generally sign the matte and just put my name and print reference number on the back.
    Once a photographer is convinced that the camera can lie and that, strictly speaking, the vast majority of photographs are "camera lies," inasmuch as they tell only part of a story or tell it in a distorted form, half the battle is won. Once he has conceded that photography is not a "naturalistic" medium of rendition and that striving for "naturalism" in a photograph is futile, he can turn his attention to using a camera to make more effective pictures.

    Andreas Feininger

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