Friday 1st March 2013 – PAGB & RPS Winning Images


“Judge not that ye be not judged” – a Biblical quotation (Matthew 7:1) which might well be applied equally well to photographic competitions as to a moral or ethical path for life.

The lonely, friendless figure who arrives at a camera club intent on delivering a fair, balanced and positive appraisal of the efforts of the members is often the target of the wrath of those whose work is deemed unworthy of accolade. The judge, along with the football referee is on a hiding to nothing. How can he,or she not possibly see the hidden depths, the subtle nuances in my print? How can they possibly choose that out-of-focus, colour-cast monstrosity in front of what is obviously a work of near genius (mine!)

On Friday night Ray Magill (President of the Northern Ireland Photographic Association) prescribed a dose of their own medicine to the members of Bangor and North Down Camera Club by inviting selected (press-ganged!) participants to try their skills at judging panels of entries for accreditation to the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain.

Each entry consisted of ten images which were shown to the judges for five seconds each. During this time they had to assess the quality of the picture and award marks from one to five. The cumulative total was then measured against a cut-off point of two hundred marks to ascertain the successful candidates. From the anguished cries of the volunteers it was plain that this judging lark was, perhaps not as easy as it looked.

In the event the Bangor panel judged the selections slightly harder than the actual national team which met last week.

Prior to that Hugh Rooney had displayed a selection of the cream of the work selected by The Royal Photographic Association for their annual display.

This represented the best photographic efforts of both amateur and professionals around the world and while the standard of work was very high it was noticeable that a substantial amount of the images had been enhanced and manipulated – some to a degree which, it could be argued lifted them out of the realm of photography and into the sphere of art.

Yet another potential pitfall to ensnare the poor judge!

John Bennett

Friday 2nd March 2012 – Clubnight – Club/NIPA Competition Round 5 – Shadows


The feminine touch was much in evidence at the Friday night meeting of the Bangor and North Down camera Club as many of the major honours in the competition were claimed by the lady members. The occasion was Round Five of the annual competition series and the subject was Shadows.

Shirley Graham posted notice of things to come when she took both first and second place in the Foundation monochrome section – her study of a flight of steps bathed in deep shadow attracting very favourable comments from the visiting judge Peter Wilkins, a Past President of the Northern Ireland Photographic Association.  Trevor Robinson and Mark Bell completed the placings. Continue reading

All about NIPA


If you are a new member to your club and have heard the phrase “Nipah” being mentioned, but haven’t a clue what it means – you are not alone!

Many club members, especially beginners, have asked me to explain more about “NIPA” and their competitions. So; here is a brief summary of what it is all about.

* ‘NIPA’ stands for the ‘Northern Ireland Photographic Association’. All camera clubs in Northern Ireland are members of NIPA.
* ‘NIPA’ is a member of the UK wide organisation called ‘PAGB’ (Photo Alliance of Great Britain),
* ‘PAGB’ is a member of a ‘FIAP’ a European wide organisation called ‘La Fédération Internationale de l’Art Photographique’,
* ‘FIAP’ is a world wide organisation to which over forty countries belong.

Therefore our wee club, is part of a world wide network. But it all starts with NIPA. In the past we had club competitions and NIPA competitions. But this was very confusing, so we now have club competitions and images are selected to go forward to NIPA.

Continue reading

Friday 13th January 2012 – Basic photo judging & interaction with members


I'll be the judge of that!

I’ll be the Judge of That

The set aim of Bangor and North Down Camera Club is “Promoting and developing all aspects of photography through example, discussion and competition.

The golden thread of competition is stitched into the fabric of our yearly programme, with one being held on almost a monthly basis.  Club members are encouraged to assess and compare their knowledge, skills and experience, through the mediums of print and the projected digital images, in club competitions.  The essence of competition means that there will be winners, who will always applaud the judge for their outstanding verdict. But what about the folk who didn’t win, what do they get from competition?

The evening was hosted by Ray Magill, a long-standing member of the club and Vice President of NIPA (Northern Ireland Photographic Association.) He recruited nine volunteers, split into three teams, to perform the role of trainee judges. The brave volunteers, and a few conscripts, were Alan McMorris, Alan Hartley, Julie Campbell, Bobby Peacock, Drew McAvoy, Harry Watson, Christine Pearson, Helen Fettus, and Deborah Carvill. They, and the audience, listened carefully to his presentation about the different aspects of competition; the contestant’s expectations, and the judges responsibilities.
Ray was at pains to point out that his approach was a personal one and was, as he described it, a work in progress.  However, his years of experience as a NIPA judge was clearly evident.  Ray mentioned that he was impressed with Eddie Sethna’s approach to judging photography and recommended members to check out his web site. http://www.monolandscapes.talktalk.net/judging.htm Continue reading

Friday 28th October 2011 – Club/NIPA Competition Round 2 Open


It was click and display time again at the Bangor and North Down Camera club and the Ward Avenue clubhouse was full for the second Open competition of the season last Friday evening.

The large entry, expertly managed and arranged by Alan Hartley and Alan McMorris fell under the expert scrutiny of the guest judge John Belshaw, the Chairman of Shorts Camera Club, Bangor’s Belfast neighbours and friendly rivals.

After explaining what he looked for in a picture (good composition, tonal range  and freshness of subject or treatment ) he went on to offer a short comment on each of the numerous entries beginning with the Foundation prints.

Trevor Reid won the monochrome section with a portrayal of an old fashioned sweet shop; Angus Gardiner and Julie Campbell finishing second and third. In the colour competition Bill Nesbitt’s shot of a young bird was victorious- followed by Alex Boyd and Angus Gardiner.

When it came to the Advanced competition Mr Belshaw explained that he would be looking more critically at the composition and print quality. Alan McMorris clearly satisfied his criteria; his monochrome close-up of a guitar took the honours ahead of Nigel Snell and Anthony Crosbie.

Alan Hartley’s atmospheric landscape won the colour section with another of his prints in runner–up spot ahead of Alan McMorris.

There was a very healthy entry in the Projected Digital Image competition where the colour and black and white images are judged together. Julie Campbell braved the darkness to provide the Foundation winner with a vivid shot of Donaghadee from the pier. Julie also took third spot behind Shirley Graham. Nigel Snell opted for a close-up depiction of a dew spattered poppy to finish first in the advanced line up – he was also  third with Jack Thompson second.

John Bennett