Photo judging goes interactive

Morpeth Camera Club

Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, 12:58 pm
Canary Wharf Buildings Abstract by Glyn Trueman.

The annual A4 Print Competition and Assessment evening was held at Morpeth Camera Club on December 4.

Everyone had been invited to bring along their prints to be appraised by fellow members and judge and club member Steve McDonald.

With all the prints displayed, everyone had an opportunity to study them at close range for 20 minutes. This time was given to enable the viewer to get a feeling of what the authors wanted to say, to decide whether they had been successful and to keep a note of any prints that stood out. They were asked to select their top five, the results of which were to be announced later in the evening.

This exercise put club members in an environment similar to that of photographic judges, some of whom have a few weeks to study a set of images while others only have a few seconds. Most judges have to select from a broad spectrum of subject matter, and with club photography being of such a high standard, judging can come down to a matter of personal preference.

Various photographs were picked by Steve at random, which ranged from an abandoned bridge covered in undergrowth to a geometric picture formed from modern architecture.

An asymmetrical arrangement of chairs led to a discussion on symmetry. Steve said that life is not symmetrical, and a focal point that is offset can often be softer on the eye because it is natural. He picked out a perfect example of successful asymmetry with an image of public seating at Central Station; the seating when placed slightly to one side and framed by symmetrical roof arches seemed to compliment each other.

Steve drew attention to a portrait of a girl overlaid with basket weave layer, saying that it was interesting and bold. He could see that it was meant to be controversial, adding that this print would likely be a challenge for judges.

A surreal image raised much discussion, with the audience expressing ideas on what the scene could be, which proved that it was a successful picture in terms of communication with its viewers.

With a lone physalis side lit to highlight its veining, a view of Edinburgh from Arthur’s Seat, torch-lit crystal owls, sunset on a craggy outcrop, a bright abstract using mirror images, a dew-laden spider’s web and a montage of bottles and posters, the audience had its work cut out to decide a winner.

Canary Wharf Abstract, by Glyn Trueman, taken from the bottom of a shaft looking skyward to the moon, was the favourite print.

Throughout the exercise Steve provided a judge’s eye view. Each author was asked if they would like to identify themselves and explain the methods they had used.

At the end of a great interactive evening, Vice Chairman John Barnes thanked Steve for his constructive comments, saying it was always interesting to hear comments from a judge’s point of view.

For more information about the club and its programme visit