** In Praise of Judging **

06th November 2017
** In Praise of Judges **


Being a Judge can be a thankless task - your job is to please the chosen few, and disappoint everyone else. Not so at this year's PAGB Print Championships! The 3 Judges in the firing line were Paul Stanley FIPF EFIAP/S from Dublin CC; David Lowe ARPS DPAGB from Smethwick PS; and Colin Westgate FRPS MFIAP from Eastboburne PS.

The first maximum score of '15' was announced on about the 3rd picture in - "Green Parrot Snake in Rain Forest" by Alan Walker MPAGB of Keswick PS -

And so it continued....yes, the various Clubs that are privileged and good enough to qualify for the PAGB Print Championships produce quality pictures....but to see the Judges so willing and able to hit the magic '5' button not only in unison, but on such a wide variety of images was a pleasure to witness. No-one could say the Judges favoured one genre over another.....No-one could say highly processed images scored higher than 'well seen' pictures.....No-one could say that landscapes were hard done by....or fine art nude.....or sport.....or still life. If the print was good enough, it scored 15!

I would like to thank the members of several Clubs that have willingly provided me with digital copies of their images that scored 15, in order to illustrate my point.

A still life by Stan Farrow from Dundee, beautifully printed on fine art paper:

"Softly Last Summer" - 15

An image that made the audience chuckle, and the Judges all hit the '5' - "Meat" by Hilary Roberts of Smethwick PS :

A composite picture by our own Hugh Wilkinson - "Orangutan with Butterfly" - 15! Yes, the butterfly is a figment of Hugh's imagination!

Creative imagery by Hazel Marr of Dumfries Camera Club - "Out of the Forest" - 15!

A beautiful misty landscape by Ken Rennie of Keswick - "Dornoch Point" again printed on a fine art paper to suit the delicate subject -

My own low key Fine art Nude/Figure Study - "Private Dancer" printed on Fotospeed Platinum Baryta - 15!

Don't forget the Sports Photographers - "Accomplishment" by Warren Alani of Smethwick PS, and "Full Force" by Phil Barber of Wigan10 (also judged to be the Top Colour Print!)

A personal favourite of mine when it came up, a creative image by the multi-talented Rikki O'Neill from Dundee PS - "Woman" - 15!

Bison of Yellowstone from eventual winners, Cambridge CC -

Nature featured again with a beautifully delicate mono print by Michael Windle of Smethwick PS - "Polar Bear Greeting" - 15!

Dinah Jayes of Smethwick also managed a well deserved "15" with a high key Fine art Nude entitled "Delicate Form" -

Ken Rennie of Keswick PS produced his second "15" of the day in the Plate Competition with "Last Flight of the Day" -

Keith Elgin of Catchlight CC scored 15 with his super mono sports image entitled "Point to Point" -

Rikki O'Neill hit the maximum score again, with "Bubbles" -

Another landscape photographer, Brian Clark of Dundee was rewarded with a "15" when his beautiful minimalist landscape "Through the Mist" came up -

And finally, a cracking sports image by the overall winners, Cambridge CC - "Sophie Hitchon, Womens Hammer."

So this is just a sample of the images that were rewarded with the perfect score on the day. I will add to this blog post as and when I receive other images, particularly from the winning Club - Cambridge Camera Club, and clubs like Chorley, Non Pareil and Dumfries.

But what a job by the Judges to produce so many 15's. One of the lessons every Judge should learn, is that you only get one chance to hit the 5 button on an image. I have often regretted hitting a '4' button instead of a '5' - but I have never regretted hitting that magic '5' button. Obviously all the photographers from the various clubs have to be congratulated for producing such a fantastic array of top quality images. But the final word has to be a word of high praise for the 3 judges who made the competition by their willingness and ability to recognise and appreciate ALL genres of photography with "15's!"
Because the Judges were so willing to reward good prints, the final outcome was extremely close - with only 4 points between 1st and 5th!

Ross McKelvey
Catchlight CC