Friday, June 19, 2015
Yesterday was the RPS advisory session, where a couple of judges took a look at panels of photos from ten aspiring photographers who hope to earn a credential known as "licentiate." We weren't being judged; we were just hearing their opinions about the photos we'd chosen and whether we were ready to submit.
This is how the session looked from my seat near the back row. Yes, those are my pictures up there.
Each photographer was told to bring ten mounted prints and another couple of optional pictures, unmounted. The mounted prints were carefully placed on those narrow shelves, in the order we specified. The goal, as one of the judges said, is not only to have ten good pictures, but also an 11th "image" -- a cohesive panel in which the individual elements relate in some way to each other.
Mine were viewed in the afternoon almost at the end of the day. I was completely calm until they actually started to go up -- then I had a momentary panic attack. My heart was pounding. I was so surprised to have that adrenaline rush!
Overall, I fared pretty well. One of the judges began by making largely positive or neutral comments about each photo, and then both offered some criticism. For example, they suggested I remove this picture -- in which they felt the figure of the skateboarder got somewhat lost in the overall composition -- and replace it with this picture, which they thought relates well to this one. I agree -- they're absolutely right.
They also made some suggestions for minor tweaks to a couple of other images, which are easily achievable in Photoshop. (Once I learn how to use Photoshop -- ha!)
The suggestion with which I completely disagree involved this picture. One judge in particular felt there's too much black space, that the sliver of sky is unnecessary and that the image should be radically cropped, taking about half off the top and a slice off the left side, leaving just the man walking through the shaft of light. I think that would reduce it too far -- I would argue that the blue of the sky is an essential color component in the overall composition, and the immense arch of the bridge both conveys the hugeness of the structure and echoes the curving shaft of light. (I didn't argue the point there, because I wasn't sure it was really my place -- I was there to hear their suggestions.)
But anyway, that's a suggestion that I probably will not take. If my panel fails because of that one image, then so be it. At some point you have to remain true to your own eye, you know?
I believe the next formal judging doesn't happen until fall, so I now have some time to make those changes and get the panel in shape for submission. It was a very interesting day, being able to see everyone else's work, seeing what caught the judges' eyes -- and what didn't!