by Oct 20, 2023

Tonight saw the first of this season’s Open Print competitions and we welcomed Gerald Kitiyakara back, visiting Photocraft as our judge for the evening.

It was his first visit to our new home but he’s been passing judgment on our work for many years. He is the President of our neighbours at Carshalton Camera Club but lives a bit further away than that.

We had a relatively healthy 24 entries – thank you all – and hopefully that is a good sign as it is up on last season.

Gerald has his own style of commenting and at one stage, did actually say he knows there are times when his comments and scores might not match. Speaking personally, I can concur!

After seeing all 24 prints under the new lights in our print stand – big thanks to Kevin B for the work on that – Gerald held back eight images. Here they are, in score/presentation order:

Mark B – Frosted Rose – 10 (WINNER)

A very worthy winner that Gerald took time to enjoy. He liked that it is very well done and nicely presented; “It sings out”, as he put it. The neutral background and good contrast give shape. Excellent use of light to show richness of colour. Great focus to capture the ice.

Mandy B – Great Spotted Woodpecker – 10

A well-handled shot that gives an excellent sense of movement. Another one that Gerald enjoyed looking at.

Mark B – Ice Abstract – 10

Gerald thought the slightly soft focus was perfect for this as there is no single point of attention. He liked the overall presentation of the print.

David P – Chalk Streambed – 9.50

A good pattern picture for our judge. He found it a pleasing abstract that doesn’t need a single point of attention. Well exposed with good colour saturation.

David M – Stairwell Spiral – 9.50

Gerald enjoyed this print. It has good lighting that helps bring out the details in the bannister. It helps to have the centre point slightly off-centre. The Illumination makes it more “3D” in effect.

David M – Devon Headland – 9

Gerald liked this “quite powerful image”. Good contrast, colour and light, helps set the scene. It works very well, with the classic shape of the headland and a suggestion of movement in the waves.

Dave S – Trepidation – 9

Gerald needed to look at it for a while to understand the link to the title. He found the image to be intriguing and enjoyed the overall “big picture” and the way the people were positioned in the frame.

Mandy B – Grey Wagtail – 9

Gerald was drawn to the surroundings as he suggested there were possibly other wildlife in the image. Overall, he enjoyed how the wagtail stands out from the background.

Congratulations to Mark for two terrific prints and two 10s – a fine start in defence of his print crown!

Mandy is back with a bang! Well done for her two wonderful bird images.

Great to see David M’s success with two quality prints – the headland is a great capture.

David P and Dave S completed a “David/David/Dave” triple with their own excellent prints and noteworthy scores.

Thank you again to all who entered and thank you to our judge.

A couple of personal observations if I may because these things stick in my head.

There was mention of titles and how much importance should be given to them. “Look at the big picture first before the details”, as our judge put it. I found this intriguing as it is frequently the case that the title “tells” the viewer what the subject in the image is – it offers direction if you like. We know that some judges put great store by a title and others do not. Gerald himself took the time to work out Dave S’s one above and he did get it. In my own case, one of my prints was titled to make it clear what I had deliberately left in and our judge got that straight away. Great! Yet, it was then suggested that said item (i.e. the “subject” of the title itself) in the picture could have been edited out to improve it!? But then I would not be able to use the title that I had chosen, so it would be a completely different image altogether. I freely admit here that I don’t understand the logic of that at all.

We also saw a few different mount styles on display and some were considered a “distraction” by our judge. I am sure many photographers take their time to choose and style the mount they use. Not all may work but I am puzzled when a judge, having made us all aware of this “distraction”, in the next breath says “…but no matter…”. Clearly, it matters because it’s been mentioned and dwelt on across more than a couple of prints.

I fully appreciate that on any given evening, all our entries would get different scores from another judge but after many years, there are still times when I leave the event more confused than when I went in and this was one such evening so forgive me sharing these issues.

I can best sum up thus: if you give one print to two judges, you will end up with three different scores.

Thank you and bye for now.

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  1. David Pelling

    A great blog Brian, and good to hear your personal views. More of this from bloggers please!

    And it would be nice to get a few more comments back from members. Else how can we tell there’s anyone there?

  2. Dave Stoneleigh

    Taking up David P’s challenge, I’ll try and respond to Brian’s comments at the end of his Blog. Clearly I can’t know Gerald’s thinking on the matter but it seems he thought the ‘teardrop’ light was perhaps a distraction and the photo might have been better without it (clearly it would need a different title in that event). The fact that it was referenced in the title drew particular attention to it. Remember it’s the photo that is being judged, not the title – neat though it was. Interestingly, a very similar image, complete with ‘teardrop’, was entered by someone from another club in the SPA Individual competition last Saturday and that didn’t do so well either!

    It’s not uncommon for judges to find borders to pictures distracting, especially wide white ones (or missing ones) with PDI’s. Seems logical that this should also apply to Prints and their mounts. Perhaps Gerald saying ‘no matter’ just indicated that he was not going to deduct points for it.

    Well that’s my take on ‘guess what the judge was thinking’!

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