2014 Open Competition

As payback for his nearly 30 sterling years as Competition Secretary, Kevin Morgan was press-ganged into judging our entries for the 2014 Open competition.

There were 30+ prints and more than 45 projected images so Kevin had his hands full!  You can see the entries on our Gallery page.

Congratulations to Greg Ball, whose silhouetted person on a bicycle was judged best projected image, and to Carolyn Kearns whose adult and child sharing a secret was the best print.

As always, the competition raised some constructive discussion, the liveliest of which was about abstract images.  The debate was around the question of whether a photograph — in particular, an abstract — needs to be identifiably “of” something, or whether the image can still convey an idea, even although the object photographed is not identifiable.  At issue is whether a photograph that aims to tell a story about textures, patterns, or contrasts can do so without disclosing its sources!

In a similar vein an interesting challenge was thrown down about pattern repetition:  when is this a strong compositional element, and when does it simply render a photograph ‘too busy’?

Another theme that arose during the evening, was the hoary old chestnut of adequate depth of focus.  How much of an image needs to be sharp?  The answer is both simple and complicated!  The viewers eyes will be drawn to the sharpest parts of the image, so two simple things are obvious:  make sure the most important element(s) in your composition is/are sharp, and make sure that potentially distracting elements don’t draw attention to themselves.  In portraiture make sure the eyes of the subject are sharp:  most people, and I dare say, animals, would prefer you to be looking through their eyes into their soul, than drawn to the end of their nose!

Listening to the conversation afterwards was reminded of the numbers of times I’ve heard (and sometimes thought, myself) that that person critiquing the photograph ‘missed the point’.  If a viewer misses the point of your image, whose fault is that?  Perhaps the point was just too subtle.  No one ever missed the point of the ‘Napalm Girl’ photo from the Vietnam war days.  Food for thought.




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