I entered another Projected Digital Image competition at Camera Club last month - my second experience of photographic battling on a personal level (as opposed to inter-club contests). I haven't yet entered any of the 'print' competitions - hopefully one day I'll advance to that. Anyway, this latest competition was judged by the Chairman (who is actually a Chairlady) of the Club. Once a year, she (or whoever is Chair) gets to choose a 'theme' for a competition which s/he then judges. This year her theme was 'Technology'. Club members could enter up to three images based on that keyword.
What, Dear Reader, would you photograph if your 'prompt' was the word Technology? At first I was totally stumped, but as I let myself think a bit more laterally, I realised it could cover a whole multitude of life as we live it today. No.1's suggestions was 'computers'; No.2 was keen for me to photograph his toy robot - which as you'll see in a minute, I did. I must have taken well over 50 possible shots for this competition, of everything from a sewing machine (my friend P has a beautiful old Singer and let me take lots of photos of it - thanks P x) to a torch. I took photos of a bike, some ball bearings, a keyboard, a car, some electric lights and some lamps. I looked at all these images over and over again, and just couldn't decide which ones were ok for the competition. I asked a friend for advice - that helped. I asked the kids for advice, and in the end let them make the final decision as the more I thought about it, the less sure I was as to what to do.
This competition wasn't like others - the Judge didn't award marks for each image, instead she spoke about each one (there were 72 entries in all), and then kept some back for the next 'round' - her further consideration.
The first one of mine was this:
It is just some CDs, but placed on top of one another and taken from an angle which allows one to see the light bouncing off the surface. I use CDs (or DVDs) quite a lot for my abstract shots - I love the colours that different light can produce. Anyway, the judge said she liked the composition and the colours, and that it fell well within the remit of 'Technology' (she rejected some images as not quite what she was looking for), and she put it through to the next round.
The second shot of mine was this:
Which is a macro of the front of a halogen light bulb. Again, I like the colours produced by the light (which was behind me as I shot the picture). There is something quite flower-like about this image isn't there? The judge said it was unusual, and she liked it, but she wondered whether the colours could have been a bit more saturated to create an even stronger effect. She put it through to the next round.
And my final shot of the evening was this:
Which I wasn't at all sure about, but the kids both urged me to put forward. It is of No.2's toy robot, taken in low light with a torch shining up at it, to create that shadow behind the robot's form. There is of course some hefty processing involved in this image - some Photoshop filters were used to increase the texture in the background, and the glowing edges of the robot itself (which is in reality just a black and white robot - although it does have luminous red eyes which look quite spooky as it marches towards you). I just felt it might be a bit too 'out there' for a club competition.
The judge liked it, and made special mention of his 'six pack'. She felt it would have been a stronger image if I had included the whole thing right down to his feet rather than concentrating on his top half. She still put it through to the next round.
There were a total of 19 images in the next round, and I was responsible for 3 of those so was very pleased. The judge then looked at all the images again, and gradually whittled them down further to a final four - the first one of mine (of the CDs) was in that four but the others had been discarded. In the end the CD image came 4th, which I felt was pretty good. The images which came first and second would also have been 'my' first and second if I had been judging the competition, although I think I'd have reversed the placings. I am gradually learning that judging is very much a personal thing, and thus that it is something of a lottery, assuming one has all the technical requirements 'right': It will ultimately come down to personal taste.
The next competition I intend to enter is in May - the second round of the competition I entered in February. Wish me luck!