“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!