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Mar 29, 2015
Animals, "Braided": Excellence
A lot of discussion went on with this judges on this image about whether they needed the fur or not in focus on the horses. They were also questioning whether this type of artsy portrait could be accepted in the animals category. In the end a judge stated that they accept portraits of newborns and weddings like this and they ended up increasing it to an excellence. It could have gone either way (excellence or unaccepted, I was lucky here). One comment that I hear often from some judges is that they know all the ears must be forward on a horse. Here in this image the concentration of the horses at the camera does make the image so it worked for me here. However, saying the ears must be forward is like saying all people have to be smiling directly at the camera. A horse's ears to the side are relaxation, straight flat back are a warning, but in general they move around to listen directionally.
Experimental/Unclassified, "Sky Train Tunnel": Merit
I don't really consider long exposure as experimental but my favourite experimental image went too far for the judges last year as they considered it "not a photograph". This is actually just a simple (slightly) long exposure image (50mm, F3.5, .8 sec) but I like it and so did the judges.
Freestyle, "Thai Dancers": Accepted
Note on event photography: I have found that the judges tend to rate all lighting on people as per portrait lighting so staged events that are shot in the dark during performances with high apertures don't tend to do well. The comments on the image were about the lighting on the faces. Another one was that their eye had no where to rest and just kept going around the image. The focus here for me wasn't on the faces, although important, it's the clothing and movements of the women and of course their grouping to represent Thai dancing that led me to make this image. It is in freestyle as in this category you build your image from various ones. Here I have two women that I have both taken different photos of and as well used the same image and flipped it to make up this image.
Fine Art, "Dreams with Seagulls Fly": Not Accepted
My pinhole image didn't get in. I heard a lot of comments about sharpness and center of focus, but is that necessary in a fine art image? (Also a note here as I also find it interesting that basic enhanced sunsets do well in this category)! But anyways, I take away that this image doesn't catch one's eye so it doesn't really stand on it's own outside of a pinhole collection.
Class description: Unusual photographs, individual images or a series of images on one entry. Conventional beauty, formal design and familiar subjects are often not components of fine art photographs and can include: Classic B&W scenes, painterly effects, soft focus, journalistic, bizarre images and other unconventional approaches.
Here I want to shout out to one image I saw in this category that I really loved. The "Cancer" image was an amazing concept. I do agree with the judges that the feather could stand out a bit more but not that the black is too much. Cancer is a black hole. This excellent image would stand in a gallery for sure. I would love to see a collection from that artist!
Another image I really appreciated was a figure study of a pregnant woman done as an almost classical Baroque-era painting. I was interested to hear a comment from a female judge that perhaps she should be positioned into a better position so she didn't look as large. Another judge familiar with art luckily fought for it. I felt her curve along her upper body was exquisite. Another one for an amazing collection. I really want to see more of those images. I'd also love to see them pushed even farther.
Conclusion: I am going to enter the portrait classes next. I believe in order to grow as an artist I need valuable feedback. I certainly value the PPOC judges in their portraiture. I do notice that it is perhaps the hardest to get through but I find there's good consistency there and I know what to strive for and can learn from that. I am putting aside entering fine art as it is so subjective and I will use curators in galleries as well as sales determine my success as a fine artist. And congratulations to everyone! I saw so many images that I really loved and am inspired to try some new ideas.
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