The hall was almost packed to the rafters, we were treated to some fabulous prints. There were a good number of people who thought the scoring was “a bit on the low side’ (there always are) and the usual suspects (give or take a club or two) finished up in the top 8. Huge round of applause…. the crowd goes wild….. goodbye hugs and waves all round. The audience has left the building
So that’s an overall view of what happened yesterday…. but what about the actual the prints on display?
Well…….. I have to report that there were only one or two Ragged Victorians who showed up. I am referring to the tatterly dressed models who pose at the various organised shoots around the U.K. and not referring to anyone sitting in the audience ! Only a couple of “Peaky Blinder” characters sneaked in and from what I can remember, there were no white hares in the snow, or kingfishers gobbling up fish. However there were a number of fabulous images of Dalmatian Pelicans so, it seems they have replaced (for the time being) the white hares/kingfishers/sea eagles we grew so fond of.
There were a few lone trees in snow (they always are) and a smattering of stunning landscapes that didn’t seem to score too highly, which is a shame. Portraits, on the whole, didn’t do so well , I know mine didn’t…… booooo !! And I am here to dispel the myth that “creative images” ALWAYS win….. they clearly don’t and didn’t yesterday. Only a couple of creative images made it into the selection of one of the highest scoring clubs (who I am delighted to report had a variety of genres) and I have to say those images were stunning. I wish they were mine.
So……I hear you cry…. Get on with it , what DID score well. Well….judging (no pun intended) by the top winning clubs submissions it was sport, nature and elderly folk in their environment or as someone described them to me recently “headscarfs and hovels”. However, as I said previously, one of the top clubs had a variety of genre including studio shoots , sport, creative images and thus demonstrated how versatile they are as a group – you know who you are…. the Irish Sea obviously didn’t stop you from travelling to Blackburn oooops think I gave it away there.
So, that said, I will say a few words about those genres…… obviously these my own personal views don’t forget. You no doubt, will have your own opinion, and that’s fine.
There were lots and lots of fantastic spots shots, pin sharp by the look of it (and the 3 judges did handle a lot the prints for a more detailed inspection) and the action captured at the optimum moment – fabulous images. From memory, I think one of the top winning clubs final submission was almost all sport images (might have been one or two nature shots) but obviously a winning selection and good for them – they guessed correctly what the judges favoured on the day. Most of the high scoring sports shots seemed to have been taken by people who could get good access to the action and consequently they were great pictures that deservedly did well.
Not so many staged birdie pictures that we all know and “love” – that particular posing post (you know the one) didn’t appear too often, but we did see some stunning butterflies and even the return (if they ever went away) of the good old bird on a stick. Again, lots of super images with a good number of birds/insects which looked like they were actually in their natural habitat – but who knows?
So what else scored highly? Well it seems like elderly folk in their humble homes were very VERY popular again – so I am going to stop photographing beautiful models and instead buy a couple of headscarfs and the odd chicken and head off to Eastern Europe. These were obviously stunning images that told a story – old lady/man holding poultry or standing next to a goat or two or sitting looking very glum with a picture of a dead loved one on the wall behind them. Like the peaky blinder pictures or the ragged victorians these, I think, are staged/organised photographic shoots but you have to travel a bit further to get them. Great pictures with lots of atmosphere and narrative and something that usually appeals to the judges, so grab your chicken and scarf and head east. Cuba was also a featured destination along with the much closer to home people in and around the Black Country Museum (or similar venues ). Craggy faced seniors seem to have superseded the smooth skin beauties at the moment.
So to sum up – the pictures on show were of a very high quality and although the majority of people walked away disappointed the U.K . photographic world ultimately was the winner.
Congratulations all and hopefully the images next year will be just as impressive…… now where’s that chicken gone? Taxi !!!!