To put in a short sentence - I am disgusted! I don't make blog entries often enough and I try to make them positive and photography related so I am not happy that this is a rant but ....
Today I went from a very pleasant visit to Fusion Sunday in Newmarket Square where I had the pleasure to talk to very nice friendly people to an appalling display of rudeness and shoddy organisation.
I went to an event that is known as "The National Shield". This is a competition under the direction of the Irish Photographic Federation (IPF). The website defines it (kind of) but it is essentially submissions from camera clubs around Ireland that are panels of colour and monochrome prints selected from their amateur members. The definition of what constitutes an amateur is also listed on the website page.
The judging is usually done by visiting people (usually the UK) who have some recognised standard.
So .... there are individual awards and best panel awards but the premium accolade is the "National Shield" which is the best camera club. It is regarded as being an important event to do well in.
I arrived about 3:45pm, went in the front door and was 'accosted' by a man who wanted me to fork over €5 for raffle tickets. Nothing else was mentioned. From my years of experience when I was involved on various committees, I know that raffles can be one of the main sources of revenue so I coughed up. It was only when I had walked away that I noticed there was an admission ticket to the event stapled to the three strips of raffle tickets. I don't know if it was free to get in and I bought raffle tickets or there was an admission fee and I got free raffle tickets thrown in. No matter. I would have ended up with the same rubbish in my hand and €5 lighter anyway but I realised I might have had an option that wasn't given to me.
I went straight to the panels and came across a couple of my pet irritations. The first was "d'expert". You know the type - holds court in front of the pictures you are trying to view but you are 'mister cellophane' and can't be seen. He extols the virtues and faults of the pictures and seeks agreement from his followers that they understand. Understand how wonderful he is rather than whether what he has said is good or bad.
I usually plant myself somewhere irritatingly close to these people so that they get the message that other people want to view the pictures.
The second irritation is people who choose to hold conversations unrelated to the panels of pictures they are standing in front of! There were a lot of these! A firmly placed hand on their elbow or a fairly heavy nudge with an angelic "So sorry!" usually clears the way but usually to the panel on the far side so repetition is required but at least they have been 'trained' and are easier to move.
My memory may be fooling me (it does often these days) but I think there was enough room to space out the lines of panels so there was less crowding so why didn't the organisers do this?
Anyway ..... The judges came back and were giving comments on the panels while they were being projected (badly) on a wall. This was my third irritation. Around the area everybody was talking at their normal decibel levels. To each other. On mobile phones. There are a few people in the Dublin Camera Club who are equally inconsiderate. The HAVE to make comments on whatever the visiting person who is making a presentation has to show and say. It's not always easy for people making presentations. They can be nervous for a variety of reasons - first time, insecurity about a new subject, intimidated by the status of the audience, etc. To have people in the audience making comments that are 'stage whispers' will not help and certainly are sending out the message that what the presenter is saying is not worth listening to. Apart from this rudeness I hate to have one of these gobshites sit beside me because now he is breaking my concentration with his inane remarks. I have made it clear on occasions I'm not interested and have on more than one occasion told them to shut up.
I can't be sure what the judges from the UK made of the people there but the message seemed to be clear. We're not interested in what you have to say. We have no intention of showing you any respect. Just give us the results.
My fourth irritation was that when the medals were being awarded they quoted the person (where appropriate) and the club and the picture title but if you wanted to see what had merited this award then you would have had to dash around the panels and by this stage the area between the panels were stuffed full of people so that wasn't going to work. Since the organisers had files of the pictures I would have thought it would be a small extra step to project these on the wall for all to see and nod approvingly?
I gave up and retreated to a back area of the venue to see if I could get a coffee. There was a place. It looked more like one of those places you see in a house on a building site where there are two tables thrown together and all the bare necessities are thrown on the table. I wasn't sure if that was for the public or for the organisers but I gave it a miss.
Then came the raffle! Okay, I might win something. One of my strips won!!! I headed towards the woman in charge and proffered my strip while someone else also did the same. Luckily she spotted that his strip had the wrong serial number so my strip was deemed to be legitimate and hieroglyphics indicating their veracity were scribbled on a piece of paper and I was given 'documentation' to give to the people looking after the prizes. Oh yes, the prizes weren't there. They were in a different area. So off I went. No queues here - you're in Ireland pal. We don't do queues. A mad throng! The stuff I did see was rubbish. Fireguards that Hector Grey would have given away! When it came to me, I gave her my strip and she seemed confused. It was then I realised all the prizes were gone. She went off and came back with a Photo Ireland book. On reflection it was probably a far better prize. I don't know what I would have done with the other stuff. They had 12 rubbish prizes. What I'm wondering is why didn't they spend the money on one decent prize?
So my lasting impression from a supposedly premier event had nothing to do with photography but with the bad organisation, cheap impression and the rudeness of Irish people. That's one I'll be giving a miss next year. On another note I only saw one other DCC member there.