Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
I find this very difficult, because if you donít know the subject, how do you assess if the image is a valid representation?
This reminds me of a story that one of my photography mentors once told me. Not totally on point, but speaks to the issue of context...

This mentor of mine is fairly accomplished as a commercial photographer in a smaller market town. He has previously worked in some of the larger markets (NY, LA, etc.) and knows some of the bigger commercial shooters. He happened to be at the LA home of one of these shooters and, as he was perusing some of the guy's better and more popular celebrity photographs, he comes across a poorly lit, poorly composed "snapshot"-ish image that was prominently placed in the middle of all these images. My buddy was curious as to why this "crap" image was sitting in the middle of all this great work. The photographer responded that it was the most valuable photo he ever took - it was of his parents before they set off for a cross-country trip, a trip on which they were both killed in an accident (i.e. the last photograph of them).

Not totally on point for this thread (I get that) and certainly not applicable in the context of a judged competition where your work is expected to stand on its own, but that story always pops into my head right before I'm about to say "gosh, I really don't like that...", forcing me to think a little bit more.