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  1. #1

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    Judging pictures

    A quick one
    As a member of a Camera-/Photoclub I sometimes attend the monthly competition. Didn't last year cause I wanted to concentrate on learning B&W.
    We had one "judge" who is returning every year. He is so used to judging in our club that he knows the older members and their style very well. He can actually point their images out very acurately.
    (darned the PC dictionary wont work)
    I feel this may be a problem. What do you think ? can he be "neutral?" ?

    Regards Søren

    BTW feel free to correct my english it can improve

  2. #2

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    Isn't this type of pre-judging what camera clubs do best? It seems the best approach is to submit what you know or think the judges will like instead of what your own mind or heart can achieve. In the end, I think they are counter-productive activities that stifle rather than encourage creativity. What could be better than finding and expressing your own voice?

  3. #3

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    In our club (AFA in Århus) we have the same "problem". The judges from around the country are having preferences, and to some extend they follow trends. At the moment I see that digitally made pictures featuring two or more element from different photos. These are very high-scoring in competitions.
    Without wanting to down other people in the photoclubs (especially mine) I think that some people are making pictures to fit the trends and likings of the judges to score high and get their SDF (danish) and FIAP (international) titles.

    The judges are getting to know us, and we are getting to know the judges. This ends up with more and more similar photos. Just look at the trends at danish site www.fotokritik.dk ...

    Morten

  4. #4
    arigram's Avatar
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    Just don't take it too seriously.
    No judge is neutral, everyone judges by their own preferences, knowledge and philosophy. Everyone. From the common snapshooter to the great artist or curator.
    Just remember that is their opinion and only matters if it matters to you.
    I rarely ask people to judge my photos unless I know and respect them.

    In any way, don't let it influence you in a negative way.
    If you don't succed don't let it stop or discourage you.
    If you do succed don't let it get over your head and think "you are it".
    An artist should be a judge of himself/herself and an honest one.
    Underestimating or overestimating yourself can destroy you.

    I guess it comes back to the old greek philosophy of "know thyself" and I would add "don't let the bastards get you down" from a t-shirt that I wore as a teenager.
    aristotelis grammatikakis
    www.arigram.gr
    Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
    no digital additives and shit




  5. #5
    roy
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    I agree with "arigram". It is however, possible to find totally unbiased and objective assessors but they are in the minority in my opinion. On one occasion we had a judge who happened to have another staying with him as he was delivering a lecture locally the following day. Mostly they agreed with one another but disagreed when it came to picture display. One was for white mounts and the other accepted black mounts !
    Roy Groombridge.

    Cogito, ergo sum.
    (Descartes)

  6. #6
    biloko's Avatar
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    "can he be "neutral?" ?" Of course not... I'm not neutral, you are not... my mother and my wife are not neutral, nobody is... But would you stop photo if your wife tells you she prefers photo a to photo b... of if your mother tells you it's too expensive for all the out of focus pictures you produce...
    But Photo clubs are also for that... getting the eye of other people on your work... and having this done regularly... Getting your eyes on someone else's work... and finding if you like it... and WHAT you like... and WHY you like... Then, you take this, keep what you think usefull and throw the rest... Same when you shown your pictures in any exhibition... don't be afraid of negative comments... they sometime are usefull...
    What is true is that many photo clubs members are just like chameleons... in competitions, or in their usual photography practice they just follow the style of someone else... And for the next competition (or next circulating portfolio as we do in our federation) you'll see two or three people producing the same kind of picture...
    So, what's the issue... if there is something positive you can get from the photo-club, let's go to the photo club... If there is something positive you can get from competition, let's do it... and if your judge can, each time, give you only one single usefull remark... be friendly with the judge even if he'll eventually prefers very bad and common pictures from all these idiots.
    Charles "Biloko" Lemaire

  7. #7

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    Thats a problem to. The judge isn't very useful in his remarks.
    I don't want to enter prints or slides to suit the taste of one person. I want the one who is making the judgement to be openminded, not be extra hard on some catagories because "we see so many good images of that kind elsewhere". I want him/her to look at the pictures and see them on their.... their .... aahh don' t know the word (dictionary still down)
    I want the person to see the quality in a picture even if its not his kind of subjects.
    It's not a quality in itself that there are people shown in it.
    In a way this judge and his kind are making photographers stop developing cause theres no need to do anything new or different just stay true to your style and that subject.
    Ok for me these monthly competitions are only for fun. my way of "seeing" is very different from the others (I hope) and it's gonna stay that way
    Regards Søren

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soeren
    I want the person to see the quality in a picture even if its not his kind of subjects.
    In that cas you don't need a human... let's try with a god! But I'm not sure he would do it better... gods also have bad taste!
    Quote Originally Posted by Soeren
    In a way this judge and his kind are making photographers stop developing cause theres no need to do anything new or different.
    And that's what most teachers, trainers, judges do... what most human do... they expect you to be "as much the same as"... they don't ask you to be an artist, a genious, a brillant person...
    Quote Originally Posted by Soeren
    The judge isn't very useful in his remarks.
    He is! Because sometime he will have the right look on what you do... or, just because he doesn't he'll force you to defend yourselve, to know why you are not doing the same thing than everybody... why you think what you are doing is what you definitely want to do...
    Not every movement is the result of someone pushing you in the right direction... in many cases it's just the opposite.
    Charles "Biloko" Lemaire

  9. #9
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    I've had some experience with "Juried" shows ... Work submitted for competiton, with prizes awarded.

    The most closely guarded secret is the identity of the judge. No exhibition committee will let that be known (at least to "outsiders"), because there are data bases correlating the judge with the prizes they have awarded ... Judge AB has a history of awarding 93% of all prizes to "Large, Color Photographs of Floral Arrangements; Judge CD, 87% to "Oil Paintings of Maritime Scenes- Sailing Ships and the Like"; Judge EF, 85% to "Large Black and White prints of Weathered Wood, Rusty Farm Equipment, Old Barns" ...
    And they are categorized by the work they do... One Judge may work exclusively in Silverpoint...

    If the identity of the Judge is known beforehand ... the show will be deadly monolithic ... Judge EF? - Expect the "Old Weathered Wood Show" ... and the Judge will have a heck of a time deciding on a winner. And ...more darkly, an "Insider" will have lost their advantage.

    Camera Club Judges are much the same, except thir identities ARE known. They spend a lot of time in acclimation... Learning the work that is acceptable in their particular "kingdom".

    A friend of mine Was ACCEPTED!!! into a *very* elite, incredibly exclusive (read snobbish to the point of being ridiculous) Camera "Association".
    I asked him, "How did you manage to do this? I've heard their Membership Committee, who judged submissions of work to see if the applicant was 'worthy', was impossibly tough."

    He replied, "No great mystery. I went to their last exhibition. All the work was large, warm-toned black and white ... nothing but images of old, weathered barns, rusty farm equipment, rough textured wood.
    I went out and took photographs of old weathered barns, old weathered wood, an abandoned farm tractor. Printed them LARGE on Warm-toned paper.
    I went through the Membership Committee evaluation like I was a long, lost Messiah. Never even touched the sides of the door.
    I really only joined to see if I could. Personally, I thought the work was lousy."
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  10. #10
    RAP
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    I have always hated competitions, camera club critiques for that very reason, they are usually biased, highly political, skewed towards a particular style, technique, gimmick.

    You need to determine what you personally are trying to accompish with your own work and then compare it to the masters, those whose work is being published, displayed in galleries, what is selling and decide, where does my own work stand or fall in relation to all that. The library is a great source of research because you have such a wide selection of books by noted, famous photographers that you can bring home and sit and contemplate over.

    Then when you think you are ready, try some local galleries, find some local space in libraries, offices, etc to display your work and see what happens.
    Time & tides wait for no one, especially photographers.

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