The early morning hues embrace Thornham Harbour, Norfolk.
Today I’m visiting the big smoke. Am I mad as its nearly Christmas it will be chocka with people rushing around getting their Christmas fayre! All decent exhibitions are held in London these days. I do wonder at times whether we are a one city nation. But there are lots of photographic exhibitions on show and that’s where we are heading.
Astronomy Photographer of the Year was held at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich with a small number of images on display but nevertheless a good selection. The overall winner was particularly eye catching.
At National Maritime Museum was the iconic American landscape photographer, Ansel Adams. An entrance fee, £7, applies to this exhibition but none the same it is a fine exhibition tracing his early years through to the period pre and post WWII where some of his most famous images are displayed. Highlights include 3 gigantic images which he printed. There are elements within his work I’ve seen for the first time today which I’ve seen in my work. Amazing! The documentary excerpts where also interesting in what he said.
Next was the landscape photographer Michael Kenna. A selection of his prints were on display at Chris Beetles Fine Photographers store near Piccadilly Circus. There were 50 prints on display. A fine selection of monochromatic prints indeed. Some simple compositions, others more complex. Many were taken whilst in Japan and US. The tones on the prints are beautiful with some a much smaller mono palette. I enjoyed viewing these prints, as with Ansel’s prints makes you look at B&W with real pleasure and that colour can sometimes seems inferior.
Final destination was the National Theatre for Landscape Photographer of the Year. A problem year for the competition. However, hopefully lessons will be learnt from this year’s event. Camera club members you have been warned! The images were superbly printed and many large so that you get a sense of being at the scene that the photographer set. A good selection of images. Not sure whether I enjoyed the winner’s work as much as others. Not taking anything from the winner, Simon Butterworth, I’ve seen his work before and he is an excellent photographer, so worthy in that sense? Get the feeling that too many images are over vibrant over saturated. Not a huge amount of B&W. Maybe more sutle needed next time!
Another camera club season and another season of mainly lows and criticism directed at the Judge! For those who don’t know, let me give you an insight into “Camera Club World” The stereotypically scene of a camera club is full of dirty old men! Well, there is that to a certain extent. However younger members are taking part as they try to improve their photography. Many younger members come and go as other commitments take precedence. The “retired folk” remain. I think it’s a great way for these people to keep their minds occupied, keep being creative and it in some cases, get out of the house into the outdoors in pursuit of their hobby. Elements of the camera club revolve around lecturers, competitions and improvement techniques mainly in post processing. It’s the competitions which cause much debate. Typically these are judged by a federation judge. Each area of the country has a photographic federation which camera clubs in that area are affiliated to. There is a circuit of judges and lecturers attributed to each federation. It’s these judges that turn up week in week out to camera clubs up and down the land to judge members’ images. Therefore the competition is based on their opinion. So in many respects, it is judgmental and involves an element of luck. The fact remains that what we would deem to be the best images do not necessarily win!!
So onto the judging itself. For the majority of the time, each judge talks sense. A lot is clearly common sense in terms of taking a picture… but here’s where the majority of them fall down. If you were a referee you would never show your allegiance to a particular type of player or club, so why o why to judges “show their hand” and proclaim their favouritism to either landscapes, wildlife, portraiture, etc. Judges – your favourite subjects should NEVER be discussed. It puts the mindset of the camera club member in a spin. Keep your cards close to your chest so that each image can be judged on its merits without bias or extra emotion. Additionally, judges are inconsistent. This is really frustrating and often their winning selections differ to what they’ve discussed about each image previously. Very frustrating for club members. It’s a thankless task being a judge but please stick to the rules and be consistent. That’s all we ask and maybe, just maybe, the best images will be victorious.