Photographic competitions, in a similar manner to all competitions, bring out different reactions in people. The club I belong to (Dublin Camera Club or DCC) has regular competitions all year round. Last night (Tue) was the beginning of the Winter League competition where members can enter a maximum of 2 colour prints, 2 black and white prints and 2 digital images (to be projected) per month for a period of 5 months.
Each month a judge (usually external) awards marks to each print in the Novice, Intermediate and Advanced sections with a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. The points are accumulative so it means that someone who has made entries every month but not actually come in the first three places might still win the overall competition because of an accumulated score. The top three pictures in each section are retained by the club and there is also a final competition of the "best of the best".
Like most clubs there are members who enter photos to get feedback on whether they are doing well or need to improve. Others like to see how they compare with others of a similar standard. Then there are others who cut their 'photographic cloth' and tailor their photos (forgive the puns) to win the competitions. A lot of these are formulaic and guaranteed to tick all the judge's boxes of what constitutes a 'good photograph' but there are new kids on the block!
It seems to be that since the movement restrictions of people in the EU diminished and more people from Latvia, Romania, Poland, Germany and other countries appeared in Ireland; the calibre of photogrpahers in the club changed in style and quality. I like this. It might mean my status within the club will drop but that should give me the incentive to improve rather than wallow comfortably in the doldrums.
Judges, of course, vary in their judging. We've all seen it. Most will preface their comments by announcing that their marks and comments are personal to them (almost by way of an apology in advance) and that they may not be agreeable with everybody. Fair enough. But, where I don't have any problem with judge's criticisms, I have on occasion had issue with how they presented them. Most judges will go lightly on the negative (more puns!) and accentuate the positive with suggestions on how to improve photographs submitted by novices. They will be less gentle with photographs in the advanced section as these photographers should not be making basic errors. However, when a judge literally dismisses someone's work then I feel there is the chance he may have discouraged a budding Cartier Bresson. This is wrong.
We have been lucky that most of the judges have been fair and, for the most part, have given judgements that most people agreed with.
In addition to the Winter League Competition start, there is another competition going on that I am entering some pictures to but am not sure what it's about. It has been referred to as a "round robin". It appears (you're going to see that word a lot!) to be organised by the Irish Photgraphic Federation or IPF) but it also appears (told ya!) that the IPF aren't advertising it on their website. Using their search engine produced no viable results for words such as "Round robin", "Tallaght" nor did a check of their competitions section. Finally I used Google and found a link to the Dublin Soth Leinster Region that listed the competition for next Tuesday (12th). "And you problem is ......?" I hear you ask. Well ...... it's the second round. I didn't know about the first and the clubs listed as being in competition with each other are:
Do I see the Dublin Camera Club in that list? Nope.
Anyway, the number of photographs that members can submit is unlimited BUT the club will choose 20 colour prints and 10 black and white to form 2 panels for this round of the competition. So I have entered a number of photos. It's one thing to compete with members of your own club. There is a familiarity with all the others' work and because of that there exists a sort of comfort zone where there are no major shocks. But competing with another club destroys that happy feeling. You're out in the open! On top of that there is the added component of how a panel hangs together. It needs to have balance and the difference between winning and losing could depend on that format.
So, I'm sticking my neck out in a way. I have submitted a number of photos to the club competition and for consideration in the IPF panels competition. And here they are: