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Mark Allen - My Journey To MPAGB / AV

The Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB) offers Awards of Photographic Merit (APM) by Print, PDI and Audio Visual. There are three levels, Credit, Distinction and Master. The first MPAGB/AV was awarded in 1999. Since then, there have been 23 applications, yet only 10 have been successful.

I started in audio visual by making slideshows about foreign travels. Then I became interested in AV Competition. I was successful at DPAGB/AV in 2019, however, in 2021 I was unsuccessful at M. I had to up my game. As a PAGB AV Advisor for C and D, I knew I needed help. I went through the official PAGB Advisor route and worked tirelessly with my mentor.

For the ‘M’ level of accreditation you must submit at least 3 shows with a running time of 15-20 minutes, and the task is often described as “not quite impossible”. I felt that my first show was the weakest of the three. 'Photographer's Paradise' features iconic Icelandic landscapes with wham-bam music for the first half and some relaxing piano for the second half. I thought that my second show was my strongest, 'All Human Beings'. It used iPhone6 images from the Oscar Schindler Museum and Auschwitz. I used a harsh high contrast 'Look Up Table' (LUT) for the first half and a more sepia-toned LUT for the second half. The change occurs with a change in the music and is very subtle. The music was supported by victim testimony. I considered my final show as a bit of a risk, 'A Landscape of Love'. It was a new show, untested in competition, but it had a lovely story about life, love, and loss, set against the dramatic landscapes. It included a visual impression of the Sword of Damocles to imply impending death, followed by a few seconds of silence.


All images were post-processed with ON1 Photo Raw, including the iPhone jpgs. Each audio visual was created with PTE AV Studio Pro (for Mac). * From the PAGB Although there have been 23 Applications for MPAGB/AV, this is not 23 people as a few entrants have had more than one attempt. Also within this 23 are 4 Joint Applications which are permitted in AV where two people have co-operated closely in the making of sequences. Each is counted as a separate applicant, each paying the full fee and each receiving a badge and certificate if successful. 2 Joint Applications have been successful. Whilst we do not operate a “pass rate”, each application being assessed against the standard, our record keeper, Patricia Platt, has noted that 43% of MPAGB/AV Applications have succeeded, compared to 46% of a much greater number of Applications for MPAGB in Prints, PDI and Slides. Interesting that they are so close and quite high for an Award that we sub-title “not quite impossible".

The link to Mark's YouTube Playlist that include his MPAGB shows is here:

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