Competition Judging

Wow, what a busy start to 2013!  The blog has been a little neglected as a consequence but I’m planning a series of posts that will update you on some of my activities in the last few months.  I’m going to be covering the results of a visit to a Lake District location, a Joe Cornish workshop that I attended and some product images I did for a local business.  These will be posted shortly, but in the meantime I wanted to share a new experience that I found an enlightening and worthwhile challenge.

Competition Judging

Earlier in the year I was asked to judge a competition for Guisborough Photo Group.  The category was the AV (Audio Visual) Short Set – members were limited to a maximum of 5 minutes and could present a projected series of still images on any topic with the addition of a soundtrack, typically either music or spoken word.

This can be either a challenging or liberating brief for the competing photographers.  The category was completely open for any interpretation, which alone can either terrify or inspire!  Technically, it presents a different challenge to a normal competition category, often using unfamiliar software or features to create the presentation.  There are more artistic considerations, including the choice of music (or other soundtrack), the pacing of the slideshow and ensuring a large number of strong images.

As I discovered, it is also challenging for the judge!  Each presentation is played once (barring technical problems).  As there is no consistent theme, each has to be judged on individual merit and there is little time to assess each shot before the next is presented.  There is no opportunity to go back and review if you miss any!

What I was looking for was:

  • strength and consistency of the theme
  • technically good images, including composition, focus, tone and colour
  • presentation – effective use of the format, impact, appropriate pace

I was shown a diverse group of presentations which ranged from graphic art through to traditional landscapes and local interest through to foreign locations.  It was difficult to separate the top three places but on watching the winning presentations back again after delivering my decision, I was satisfied I had made the right choice.

The group made me very welcome and I was honoured to have been invited to perform such an important role in the club’s competition calendar.  Seeing a variety of images at a high standard also gave me a different perspective from which to reflect on my own photography.  I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.