Nov. 1999

(Photo by Bob Coffey)

President's Message

WIEP Report

Portrait of ...

Article: Malaysia - High Rises and Headhunters

President's Message

Dr. Ernst Tomic

Patsy Costis and Ardis Williams are doing an admirable job of securing competent judges and by advising them to use the whole range of 1 to 9 points when evaluating an image; they now even place a billboard with judging guidelines in front of the judge's eyes. Ardis and Patsy are now also making the point forcefully, that an image that does not fit the assigned subject should be downgraded to 1 or 2 points. If competition meetings are still not quite what we think they could be, and I for one hold this opinion, it is up to us, the competitors, to further improve the dynamics of these meetings.

Although "winning" seems to be one of the greatest incentives for our members for participating in our competitions, it should not be the only one. The improvement of our photographic skills through a learning experience should also be a major driving force for our participation. It is in this facet of the meetings in which we, the competitors, can make an improvement by interacting with the judges.

Presently the typical judging of a competition, especially on slide night, proceeds through a series of announcements of cumulative scores to a silent audience. Rarely does anyone in the audience ask for a comment on their own image. Questions such as "Where was this picture taken?" or "Was this image manipulated?" or "Did the maker use a filter?" are the most frequently asked questions. But such questions fail to take advantage of the knowledge, experience and artistic abilities of our judges. The current mode of operation is certainly the simplest and most rapid way to establish the winner and the runners up in a given night's competition, but the learning experience under these conditions is zero for all of us. Questions which are potentially most useful and instructive such as "How could I improve the composition of this image?" or "What do the judges like (dislike) most in my image" rarely are being asked.

I propose, therefore, to enlist one volunteer from each of the three classes who, for that night's competition, will request a comment for each of his/her images as soon as it has been judged. This person would then engage the judges by asking them to discuss the merits and demerits of each of their own images. I hope that any concerns for an excessive duration of the competition nights as a result of these "comment periods" are as ill founded as they were for the additional time consumed by the "preview step" on slide nights. Hopefully though, we shall gain from judges' comments. If we do not, we shall simply revert to our current practices.

Ernst A. Tomic