2nd Open Print Competition – 1st March 2023

by Mar 2, 2023

Our new home has had its first club evening, its first PDI competition and its first guest speaker. To complete the set, we welcomed Peter Merry LRPS as our judge for our first Print competition – our Open Print 2 evening. Peter also teaches photography at a variety of levels, including one-to-one, group workshops and tutoring in photography at the Guildford Institute. His website is:


Peter is a new judge to Photocraft but it is fair to say that this will not be his only visit. What was most refreshing about Peter’s approach was his honesty throughout his comments. It’s not often if at all, you will hear a judge admit it can be difficult to assess work outside their own specialist genre; in Peter’s case, engaging in street photography is where he can most often be found. I am pleased to say that we all found Peter was more than able to assess what he saw.

We had a final total of 27 prints to view and enjoy and I would like to thank everyone who entered work. It was good to get a worthwhile number. Special mentions to Tim D and Paul S for getting involved in the competition as well! It is always good to see new work. Paul, as you will see below, has arrived with a bang but regrettably, at the time of this blog going live, we have no digital copies as Paul is a film camera aficionado first and foremost. I will add images when available.

We also had the first outing for our updated print stand (thanks due to Kevin B for his great work). New wiring, fittings and LED lights helped make everything that bit more secure and brighter. It would be good to know how members felt about the changes – could everyone see the prints when on the stand? Was it too bright? Was it raised high enough? Please do share your thoughts on this. To make the best of the space, we had another set up in the room and used our projector screen as a light block for the window. It worked a treat and I think we will use this again for all print events.

Peter immediately commented on the changes that come from presenting each image on the stand with the correct lighting. Many came to life in both colour and texture but he did point out that there could be some pitfalls if using gloss paper if the lighting is not right. In our case, all was well for our members who did choose gloss.

Some of his general comments concerned the input of the photographer and where it was clear that good decisions had been made, e.g. in shutter speed, composition, focal length and the like. Peter took his time to fully explore each print and if it did not grab his attention beyond some straightforward level, he told us so. Some he felt were fine works but he would soon want something else, no matter how technically sound the image was. Others asked him “too many questions” or threw up conflicts – lighting being one area where he made many salient points about the need to be careful when editing in respect of where the natural light would fall but, in the print, it was not there.

Titles were mentioned as they often are – Peter likes them to guide him into the work. Also, perspective is something to keep in mind where it can potentially detract.

In the event, we had 13 images effectively held back for the top marks of the night.

I am chuffed to say that one of mine was awarded top spot:

Flowers in the Grass – Brian C

Peter loved the composition, commenting that he felt the author had taken the time to find the right area to have in the frame. The colours and shapes gave this energy and the painterly feel added something more.

Our other 10s were:

Bookworms – David H

Peter again loved the painterly look and the juxtaposition of the two main subjects. “A beautiful capture” – Nice work David H!

Paul S got a 10 in his first event! Great stuff Paul! The print is titled “A location behind Shoreditch Station”. Being a street shot, Peter enjoyed much about this print. The background was perfect for the subject and the environment of the area.

Our 9.50 scores went to:

Lion Fish – Dave S

Peter mentioned a family member who takes many “fish” photos and he admired the passion one can have for a subject. In Dave’s image, Peter could see and appreciate the skills needed to get this excellent print.

Boscombe Pier – Alfred C

Here, Peter really liked the muted colours of the whole print. It evoked that British seaside feel where everything is often just not that sunny. Well done, Alfred.

The Chosen One – Dave S

Dave S once again with a piece of work to make us think. Peter briefly considered the impact of AI that is creeping into photography more and more but not in this case. He liked the title and the whole presentation of the print. Well done Dave S, for two 9.50s!

And onto those prints scoring 9:

Groyn – Mark B

Mark’s work came to life on the stand and Peter acknowledged the skills employed to get this work. The slightly soft feel worked well, along with the abstract style. Well done, Mark.

Big Appetite – Roshan R

Roshan’s work was displayed without mounts but no matter – it is not the mount that is scored! Peter took his time with this print and whilst he felt there were “technical issues”, he said the whole thing worked well.

Stonehenge at Sunset – Roshan R

Roshan has also done the double! Peter loved the great interest all around the image and said he could not recall seeing a photo of Stonehenge in such light. Well done, Roshan.

Underway at Portmadog – Brian C

I am further chuffed with this 9. Peter noted the leading lines and the way you can just flow through the print. The sky and the steam plume worked very well.

Red Deer mating – David H

Joining the double club David H’s…err…natural image was enjoyed by all. “The decisive moment” as Peter put it. Well captured David!

Paul S enjoyed more success with his other two prints. His choice of using red in his mounts was worthy of comment and in this case, helped the overall presentation.

The first 9 was for “Fashion Street, E1”. Peter enjoyed this one as he saw a clear example of the photographer setting up the scene and not just waiting for someone to pass by.

Paul’s second 9 came with “Old Railway Yard”. Peter felt it was a pleasing image and one that was to be enjoyed.

I will add Paul’s works as and when they are in digital form but for now, I am sure you will agree, he has done very well.

Altogether, we enjoyed our usual variety of excellent work and had a judge who seemed to enjoy them too! Long may that be the case!

Thanks as ever for reading.

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