Having bought a digital camera in 2007 I joined a local photographic society and quickly became aware that there was a monthly competition for the members. Woo Hoo!!
After watching for a few months what happened during the judging process I decided, towards the end of the season, to dip my toe in the water and enter the comp. So I carefully selected 3 pictures which I submitted into the digital section with high hopes of success.
I have always been arty (although I have not had any formal art school training) so I thought that my pictures would blow the judges mind and he would shower my images with praise.
You know this is going to end badly don’t you?
To say that the judged savaged my pictures is an understatement. He wrongly guessed what the subject matter of my first picture actually was. It was in fact columns reflected in the water at the Albert Dock, Liverpool but he thought it was a picture of cricket stumps reflected in a puddle. He suggested that it would have scored more points if he could have seen the bales or the bottom of the cricket bat in the puddle !!! I sat in stunned silence wondering whether if it would be the wrong thing to do to stand up and say what it actually was….. I decided not to say anything.
The second picture depicted two gentleman deep in conversation on a beach with a little dog who, as far as I was concerned, was the focal point of the picture. The judge said that he liked the interaction of the two men but thought it would be better without the dog………. The dog WAS the whole point of the picture – why couldn’t he see that?? I shook my head in disbelief but knew my final picture was probably my best shot at getting a higher score.
The last picture, which was a line of row boats on a dock, elicited the following comment from the judge, and I quote.. “ why the photographer took their camera out on this occasion is beyond me. It is probably the worst picture I have had the misfortune to judge”.
I was crest fallen. My hopes for a set of high scores was shot down in flames BUT I have to say that I needed to be brought down to earth- I needed that brutal but honest set of scathing remarks, they made me more determined to get better. Had I received a good set of marks and nice comments I would have sat back and not tried to improve.
The judges comments made me realised that if I wanted to do well in competitions I would have to learn more about photographic techniques and about what judges look for when they were scoring the various pictures.
So that was my baptism of fire and I had taken my first steps in the wonderful and somewhat exasperating world of competitive photography.
I was yet to discover Photoshop…. that pleasure came much later and is another story.