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Do you like having your photos judged??

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Kiwi Paul, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul Mu-43 Top Veteran

    729
    Aug 15, 2011
    Aberdeen Scotland
    Do you like having your photos judged?
    Do you like entering competitions where someone or a group decide which photo is best?
    I don't, I love taking photos and sharing them, I post online, I put them on my walls for folk to see and don't mind any comments for good bad or indifferent.
    But I HATE having my work compared to other peoples work. Not because they might be better or I might be better or because I might get last or whatever but because I simply enjoy what I do and and don't care to have what I do compared to what anyone else does.
    To me photography is about being unique, doing your own thing and there will always be those who like it, hate it or whatever, but as long as you are doing it then that all that matters.
    I stopped entering camera club competitions after a year or so, I did ok, but more enjoyed just the sharing of photos rather than someone having to "win".
    To me photography isn't about winning but sharing pics, enjoying the feedback and seeing other folks work and ideas.

    Any opinions?

    Paul
     
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  2. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    I like getting feedback and entering contests. Sometimes I feel the easy praise of forums diminishes the accomplishments and improvements of one's photography and makes it harder to further your skill.

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43 App
     
  3. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Artists are supposed to suffer! Having folks judge you is a great way to have suffering thrust upon ones self.

    I know I suck so when praise is offered I laugh at their incompetence!
     
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  4. woof

    woof Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Oct 18, 2011
    The present.
    Good post...

    Actually I enjoy the competitions. They are a form of sharing. The judging is incidental to my mind, but it is an important part nonetheless.

    I compete in the local Agricultural fairs. Some have a pretty large set of entries... numbering in the thousands. Some are Pro and Am together. I prefer the ones that allow pros to enter and which are judged by pros. I've done alright, - at least one ribbon per season since 2008 (crosses fingers, judging tonight on my favorite fair).

    But that's not the point. I enjoy selecting the photos, preparing them for print, seeing the output, matting the photos, and getting them all ready. Love the feeling of leaving them all wrapped and ready to go, and knowing it is out of my hands. It's a little akin to what it felt like dropping film off and knowing you would not see the results for some time.

    I'll go up to the fair on Friday night and find out what happened. Last year there was a Best in Show waiting for me... this year? Who knows. Even odds all over again. But I'll be nervous and excited until I find out.

    Again, I digress... In some ways digital is about instant gratification. The majority of what I shoot never makes it to print. This is a shame because I personally believe that something is lost where photography is not a printed media. So to me this is a bit of a connection with what photography USED to be. More deliberate, more tactile, more considered, and more... analog. Digital has brought much to the game. But the END game (or at least one end game) should be printing and hanging the photo on a wall.

    >> To me photography isn't about winning but sharing pics, enjoying the
    >> feedback and seeing other folks work and ideas.

    In the end juried events like this are Photography SHOWS... and hanging photos in a show IS a way of sharing, and an important one... In addition to looking at how I did, I'll spend about three hours on Friday night "seeing other folks work and ideas." And if anyone is really scrutinizing anything of mine, I'll ask them about it. People seem very willing to discuss what they think in this situation.

    The judging and winning is a small part of the whole thing... yet I feel it is somehow a little indispensable. I think it is the reward part that people are after even though showing itself should be the reward. What it does is push people to submit what they think is their best stuff. In this particular show being judged tonight there is a serious class (Salons) and a snapshot class. Both are judged, but the standards are different. So in a way it is very democratic, and everyone has an opportunity to win something.

    True story: Last year I entered one that I really like. Here it is:

    p265365675-4.

    Now, honestly, this presentation does not come close to what it looked like in 8x12 with a bedsheet-white 16x20 white laid mat.

    The judges passed it by. No matter, I was going to hang it in my house anyway. Someone else came along and stole it. It was there Friday night. It was gone Sunday. Right off the wall. Someone voted with their feet. After the initial feeling of violation I realized what a compliment that really was. heh... how's that for feedback?

    So I agree with you in principal, but I am fine with people judging. People judge anyway, so I might was well get the opinion of professionals and see how my stuff stacks up against the rest in a true juried setting. In the end, each year i get a crop of what I think is my best stuf for the wall. If a ribbon happens to get displayed with it, that's just icing...

    woof!
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I agree with woof - I have only entered one contest so far (Popular Photography's annual contest), unless you count the mu-43 salon threads. I don't have any real hope of winning, in my mind at least. However, I like the way that sharing my photos and entering in a competition or exhibition makes me distill things down and select extra carefully, as woof mentioned.

    Even in the simple example of the PopPhoto contest, I took an image I'd already done all the PP for and found myself looking at it all over again with a critical eye, tweaking the colors and contrast again, adjusting the cropping, and carefully exporting it to JPG. These are things I clearly wouldn't have done to post it up on Flickr or share it here in an images thread, since I did all those things and STILL found myself making a few more adjustments to submit it for judging.

    So yes, I agree with the OP that I do photography for my own reasons and to share with others who will hopefully appreciate it. I don't do it to win contests or get the pats on the back, but the other elements that come into play with entering a contest are nonetheless valuable for me to grow as a photographer. I'm not sure if I'll enter more contests or not but I can clearly see a value in it beyond simply validation by judging panels.
     
  6. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul Mu-43 Top Veteran

    729
    Aug 15, 2011
    Aberdeen Scotland
    Great replies woof and jloden, I certainly can't argue with what you say and I take the point about entering your best photo and making an extra effort to make it special.
    I guess I was partly put off camera club competitions by the sometimes 'incredible nitpicking' of some judges (and I don't just mean my pics just the judges general comments about others pics too).
    I guess to me photography isn't an absolute thing and is completely open to interpretation by the viewer.
    Please don't get me wrong I'm not suggesting competition is bad or undesirable and if you like it and it's your thing thats great.

    Paul
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    True... there's always that risk with asking for critique from judges, photographers in particular. They're more likely to see everything through the lens (har har) of technique rather than simply appreciating a photograph on artistic or emotional merits. I guess a lot depends on *which* contests you decide to enter!
     
  8. digitalandfilm

    digitalandfilm Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 18, 2011
    Some photo competitions are nothing more than popularity contests.. or who has the slickest website.. etc.
     
  9. woof

    woof Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Oct 18, 2011
    The present.
    Paul, honestly I totally get what you are saying. And no misunderstanding at all... you are totally right about 'to each his own.' FWIW I have a lot of respect for you based on your interaction here... I was just trying to give the topic a good airing.

    I will say that if judges are nitpicking or engaging in anything other than constructive criticisms (ie: the kind of criticism that leaves you with choices or courses of action) I would also be put off terribly too... I've seen the photo club scene and frankly for me the issue there was more about Canikon judgement. I didn't fit in with my K-mount cameras...

    Frankly, we may be talking about apples and oranges. These shows I am "competing" in are large and rather anonymous and are judged by local pros. You don't have to attend judging. I rarely do. If you get a chance, give it a try. The more I think about it the more I think you've had a version of a bad experience I have had as well with the club scene.

    I've seen this. Want to see a large online popularity context in action? JPGMAG is just so. Never quite understood what makes it tick.

    woof!
     
  10. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Bob
    I've entered quite a few in our local fair and have a number of ribbons of various colors. I, too, enjoy sharing my photos with a large group who would otherwise never see them. The ribbons are nice - but I have no idea how qualified the judges may be and I've shaken my head more than once at some of the fine shots (not mine) that have been passed over.
    In the end, it's more about the sharing than anything else.