Monday, October 16, 2006

Camera Club tonight

First off: congratulations! Ivan, you got a "second" for Corn Field. Very well deserved.

Unfortunately, the judge dismissed the forest light photograph for similar reasons to the punt image - the shadows on the tree trunks had lost any detail when projected, so he rejected it on that technicality. Annoying and frustrating as the detail's definitely there.

As for my stuff? He just didn't like it. No technical comments whatsoever, he just felt that the main horse was too large in the frame and the tractor one... he just didn't like. No comments at all, he just didn't think it was strong enough.

The winner? A macro of a grasshopper on a reed. A well-executed image for sure, but I'm at a bit of a loss as to where to go from here because there's nothing I'd have changed about either image.

Onwards and upwards!


Ivan said...


Many thanks - I couldn't make it as I'd forgotten that Kate and a pal were going out for a few hours, to give her a break from all-day baby stuff. Very pleased with the "Second", but shame about the other, which I prefer - as you say, the detail is there.

Can't understand your situation, and the lack of engagement. I thought the tractor image was a sure to be graded. I bet there were ones that were graded that you would honestly feel were not as strong..can't work it out. There are loads of strong images on your blog, so it's only a matter of picking the one that does it for that particular judge.

Can you recall the technical critique of the Cornfield image?


Ivan said...

I had a think about this more this morning - I think that there are loads of strong, distinctive images on your site, and I wouldn't change anything either. I am pleased to have had mine "acknowledged" in this way, but if they had not been, I'd have stuck with it, as those images please me, ultimately.

I think competitions are a different thing, and it may be that one has to be mindful of what to select, what will appeal more generally, rather than what one likes oneself, if one wants to "win" something. I do think it's a shame when there is no critique offered when an image is not graded. That defeats the purpose.

Finally, there is the satellite group that looks at competitions, judging etc. May be worth tagging along sometime, to gain an insight.

As you say - onward and upward.


Gareth Marlow said...

Hi Ivan,

Critique of Corn Field: he was entirely positive, commending the sharpness and positioning of the ears of corn, and the recessiveness of the field leading the eye to the sky.

Comments this morning are interesting. I, too, have thought about it overnight and came to similar conclusions to you but with a different endpoint. I think you're right that there appears to be a specific "type" of image (particularly the landscapes) that they favour - sharp, technically-strong stuff, but perhaps a little more conservative than the two I submitted - although cornfield wasn't a completely "straight" image.

I'm not too bothered about success in the competitions. I'm tempted just to keep banging away with the stuff I like anyway, just to see if some of it is appreciated. I might bang in the scarecrow image for the next projected comp, and another more "extreme" one to the same competition, to see how they're adjudged.

Ultimately, I guess, I'd be more interested in going for some LRPS-type certification - and I'm not sure how well the images which are successful there correspond with those which are successful in the club comps.

Satellite groups are definitely a thought - time's the problem here though - a day a week's already quite a lot!

Thanks Ivan. Comments appreciated as ever.

Ivan said...

Hi Gareth

Thanks for providing the critique on Corn Field - good to know.

I think you may have slightly mis-interpreted what I was meaning with the competition entry selection (although you do say you came to slightly different conclusions, so maybe not).

I think that certain types of image are more likely to succeed, but I don't think that renders them more conservative. Certain images make better publication materials, but are no less impactful.

I feel that Cornfield is quite a dark, different take on rural England that gets under your skin and makes you feel uncomfortable, and is more "extreme" than your wonderfully serene, simple agricultural image. Sure, it follows good compositional rules, but that does not make it conservative or safe. Neither does breaking those rules automatically render an image great. It does have enough impact and presence to hold attention and therefore is likely to be better competition fodder than perhaps simpler images. To be fair to you, you do indicate that it's not a straight shot, so perhaps you agree more with me than it seems.

Great comment chain, though!

If I can be honest, I think you may have just chosen "poorly" for competitions. You have much stronger (competition-type) images on your blog. I have put a few images on Stock sites before, and I know what they look for. I think I took some of this into my selection for the competitions. Kate selected "Flower Meadow", and I have followed her feeling in the selection of "Corn Field". Something that will hold attention will do better than a very simple image that perhaps needs more time than the competition format allows.

I think that images with impact, obvious or not, will also do well in LRPS-type qualifications too, but who knows what defines impact?

In the end, it's all subjective.


Gareth Marlow said...

Hi Ivan,


Wires crossed, I think. I was struggling to put cornfield into the context of the rest of them, because you're right - it *is* a dark twist, and it *is* distinctive. The fact that it didn't fall into the mould of the rest of the photos last night and still pulled off a very high placing is testament to its strength as an image and your understanding of what would resonate in a positive way with them.

The "conservative" tag was directed at the grasshopper-on-a-reed, girl-sitting-on-a-rock-looking-down-a-valley shots which were, to my mind, snaps. Technically-proficient for sure, and I'm not sure I could have pulled off the macro picture in a month of Sundays, but lacking in creativity - they strike me as painting by numbers. Yet they still seemed to do very well.

I picked those two from my blog because they were the two of the twenty-ish I submitted to the BBC competition which were shortlisted. I think there's definitely something in what you're saying about suitability for stock sites, and also needing to be a picture which holds attention (although the horses certainly did that!)

For the next projected image comp, I think I'm going to submit the scarecrow and something along the lines of what I submitted last night, and see how the two fare.

Ivan said...

Thanks for clarification. I find the snaps-that-do-well v frustrating too, and I see what you are doing with the tractor image - simple, clean yet thought-provoking (to me). Perhaps the judges are a little old school and not as up with what is good contemporary photography, but a little stuck in the past, unwilling to take risks or move on. Was this judge "old"...?

Gareth Marlow said...

He wasn't old (forties?), and his own material's erotica/nude/mild fetish stuff (google John Tisbury to see his work). I've actually just emailed him - I really don't know if this is the "done thing" but I'm just curious - so I hope he has time to give me a bit more detailed feedback.

See, photos of mine that I really like are this one:

and this one:

plus the twenty zillion portraits of the kids that I've taken - I still don't really know, though...

Ivan said...

I'd be interested in hearing what he comes back with...half tempted to ask him about Forest Light, but will not..!