Internal Competition Judging..just an idea!!

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keith richardson
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Re: Internal Competition Judging..just an idea!!

Post by keith richardson » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:37 pm

Hi,
Although members probably expect me to get involved sooner in these types of discussions, I do tend to stay away from debates about Judges and judging, but find it interesting to see what people think.
However, at this point in this particular debate, I do think that it would be helpful to point out and correct a few assumptions that are becoming apparent.
The L&CPU course to assess judges,( and I have attended it myself ), is not a training course to tell people how to judge a competition image. It is not intended to instill in applicants a particular set of rules to lay down and abide by when judging an image.

The course invites applicants to publicly judge a comprehensive set of collected images, of all types and levels, from beginners to International salon standard, and the applicant must 'judge' the image to the rest of the group, looking for good points, bad points, ways that the the image could be improved or acheive a higher score in a competition.
But the most important thing is that the judge is positive and supportive in their comments. The purpose of the potential Judge's 'assessment', and the reason why they must be approved by the L&CPU, is so that they don't discourage people, particularly beginners, with their criticism.
Judges should always try to be constructive and helpful, and if you see them that way, it can be helpful.

The main point of club competitions is not to win trophies or please a judge, it is to have an experienced photographer help you to see your work better, to tell you and help you see in what way your image could be improved, and to hopefully therefore make you a better photographer in the process.

Looking at your own work with an unbiased eye, and making you see in your work what others do, is what they are there for, not to discourage and undermine you. You should always listen to what they say and remember any points that they make, not just on your pictures, but on everyone elses. You may not agree with what they say, but they can often be a very useful guide and learning tool, even for us more experienced competitors.

Hope this helps, Keith.

PS. As for selecting Judges for our competitions, well there are currently around 90 registered judges on the L&CPU books, and every year I get to pick just six of them to judge our monthlies. Most are just a name in a register, and until they have been we don't always know what to expect. To see all of them and then decide which ones to invite back because we liked them will only take me another 15 years or so, by which time there will be another few dozen to go at....

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Re: Internal Competition Judging..just an idea!!

Post by Paul Jones » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:51 pm

mikeaspinall wrote: Your suggestion of 'other' judges wouldn't work in my opinion because to me a judge is only doing half a job in scoring a
competition and making comments unless he/she is trying to help an entrant to improve the image which he/she is judging.

Sorry Paul just my opinion - hope that you are not offended my friend.
Hi Mike, of course I'm not offended. It's good to have healthy debate.

The main point I was trying to make is that camera club competitions judged by camera club judges, who have been trained by other camera club judges, who were in turn trained by other camera club judges, can lead to camera club photographers just making camera club images to please other camera club photographers and to win camera club competitions.

I mean no offence to anyone with my comments, they're just my own personal thoughts.
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Re: Internal Competition Judging..just an idea!!

Post by melbarnes » Sat May 03, 2014 12:17 am

As a beginner, I don't know the first thing about judging a photographic competition, but what I look for when watching our own ADAPS competitions is the "Wow factor" - ie does the photo really grab my attention and hold my interest? A good example of what I mean is the photo (by Neil Higham) on the front cover of this year's ADAPS yearbook.
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Re: Internal Competition Judging..just an idea!!

Post by Walter Brooks » Sat May 03, 2014 7:36 am

Mel Barnes wrote
but what I look for when watching our own ADAPS competitions is the "Wow factor
... and yet for me that's probably the last thing that I would look for!
W 8)
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Re: Internal Competition Judging..just an idea!!

Post by Paul Jones » Thu May 08, 2014 5:27 pm

The 'WOW Factor' can mean different things to different people.

What will WOW one person may bore another.

And WOW comes in many forms. For example, in the Annual Monochrome Competition I was looking for images that had a 'real monochrome' feel to them and the shot that wowed me was quite a simple shot of some pewter plates that had been well lit, captured and suited the monochrome treatment.

After the competition was over I was saying to John Riley how much I liked the photograph and he told me it was his. :D
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Re: Internal Competition Judging..just an idea!!

Post by melbarnes » Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:39 pm

You can have the most technically correct photo in the world, but if it is boring to look at then what's the point? I've said it before, the first thing I look for in a photo is "the wow factor", ie does it hold my interest and stir my emotions. So I agree with others who say that beginners have a part to play in judging because they may not fully understand the technicalities of photography, but they certainly know the kind of shot that pleases them. Of course if the photograph is of poor quality or subjected to sloppy editing then I wouldn't expect it to do well in competitions. But the "rules" of photography can often go out of the window if the photo has a great wow factor (in my opinion).

There's a lot of bias from judges that I have encountered and not surprisingly because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We had one judge who clearly stated that he didn't like a certain category of photography. So the answer there would seem to be that if you are solely interested in winning competitions, then get to know what your judges like and submit your photos to please the judge. To me it would be better if marks were awarded to each photo for various categories, eg up to 5 points for composition, 5 points for sharpness, 5 points for exposure, etc, etc, then this would be a more objective way of scoring, and would provide valuable feedback. But practically this is a non starter because it would take much longer than we have time (unless the judge was prepared to do it before the event).

It would be interesting to host a night where we showed a number of photos and gave the attendees a score sheet to score individually, then we could see the spread of scores and discuss why someone (for example) would give a score of 12, whilst another would give the same photo a score of 19. It would make for an interesting evening. Anyone agree??
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Re: Internal Competition Judging..just an idea!!

Post by Walter Brooks » Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:43 pm

Mel Barnes wrote -
You can have the most technically correct photo in the world, but if it is boring to look at then what's the point?
to do just that and maybe enter it in the Record section of a competition?
that beginners have a part to play in judging because they may not fully understand the technicalities of photography, but they certainly know the kind of shot that pleases them
these are two mutually exclusive statements ... although the first does go some way to help to improve picture taking ...
To me it would be better if marks were awarded to each photo for various categories, eg up to 5 points for composition, 5 points for sharpness, 5 points for exposure, etc, etc, then this would be a more objective way of scoring, and would provide valuable feedback.
what would you need a judge for then, it's the judge's subjective opinion that separates the winner from the rest? Are these not the technicalities of photography that a photographer learns? And
It would make for an interesting evening. Anyone agree??
is that not just a critique night by another name?

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Re: Internal Competition Judging..just an idea!!

Post by Janice Freeman » Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:52 pm

I can see both points of view here and in my opinion the problem lies with whether or not the judge can remain objective. They will have their likes and dislikes but are meant to keep these separate from the 'job' that they are doing in judging images. That may be the case when they first start judging as it is all fresh in the mind, but after a number of years, I believe that judgement becomes a little clouded by personal opinion. And it is not only photography where that applies. Some judges do remain objective and give clear constructive critique, so if an image scores not so well, at least the author knows why. I recall one of my images and the comment was " well its just a holiday snap" and that is all that was said! No useful critique whatsoever, and whilst I did not disagree with the judge neither did I learn from that comment why it was just a holiday snap. So would one judging system be better than an other? Afraid I am still thinking about that!

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Re: Internal Competition Judging..just an idea!!

Post by Paul Jones » Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:29 pm

melbarnes wrote: ...the "rules" of photography can often go out of the window if the photo has a great wow factor (in my opinion).
Agreed.
melbarnes wrote: To me it would be better if marks were awarded to each photo for various categories, eg up to 5 points for composition, 5 points for sharpness, 5 points for exposure, etc, etc, then this would be a more objective way of scoring, and would provide valuable feedback.
But then you're back to judging based on "rules" and a "painting by numbers" approach, rather than on wow factor.
melbarnes wrote: It would be interesting to host a night where we showed a number of photos and gave the attendees a score sheet to score individually, then we could see the spread of scores and discuss why someone (for example) would give a score of 12, whilst another would give the same photo a score of 19. It would make for an interesting evening. Anyone agree??
We did something like this a couple of years ago, where we broke into small teams and discussed and scored various images. It made for an interesting evening.

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Re: Internal Competition Judging..just an idea!!

Post by Paul Jones » Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:36 pm

Janice Freeman wrote: the problem lies with whether or not the judge can remain objective.
I believe that judgement becomes a little clouded by personal opinion. And it is not only photography where that applies. Some judges do remain objective and give clear constructive critique, so if an image scores not so well, at least the author knows why.
It shouldn't do, but I think it's inevitable that this will happen. Perhaps we all bring our personal preferences and prejudices into play when looking at or judging photographs?

Some judges do take it to extremes, for example the judge who picks a steam train image as his winner purely because he likes steam trains.
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Re: Internal Competition Judging..just an idea!!

Post by melbarnes » Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:11 am

Paul Jones wrote:
But then you're back to judging based on "rules" and a "painting by numbers" approach, rather than on wow factor.
I intended to include a score for the "wow" factor, and the points system could be weighted, say 4 for wow factor, 6 for exposure, etc. I just think that this would be a slightly more objective way to give feedback, even though there is subjectivity in the awarding of points for each category. This is nothing new, it is a system adopted in many fields, eg piano examinations, but as I said, it would take too long.

However, I think the following comments by Keith Richardson are spot on, and emphasise the point that it is not the winning that is important, but the taking part and learning from the process.

"The main point of club competitions is not to win trophies or please a judge, it is to have an experienced photographer help you to see your work better, to tell you and help you see in what way your image could be improved, and to hopefully therefore make you a better photographer in the process."

I have learned from the excellent critique from at least two judges that I can remember. However, some judges are biased, as Paul Jones said, and often dismiss a photo out of hand. This is not helpful in anyway to the photographer.
"Aim for the moon - if you miss you'll land amongst the stars."

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