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Kevin_E._Newsome
02-27-2009, 07:42 AM
Rumor has it that the Florida Professional Photographers association is considering doing away with physical prints for competition, requiring only a CD of entries that will be viewed and judged on a monitor.

Motivation is to reduce the cost of competition thereby increasing the number of competitors. They appear poised to raise the "case" fee since the competitor's images will now only cost them $1 to create.

Have any other states attempted this? I know that albums were handled this way last year in Florida and it was fine, but there were no albums available to view after the competition. This will effectively eliminate the salon print display (a member benefit) and apparently replace it with a slideshow on a monitor... not exactly conducive to being an educational opportunity for the viewers who want to inspect, compare, and stare at an image for clues to how it was created.

What other states are doing this?

ChrisGrandell
02-27-2009, 12:30 PM
I wonder how this would affect (effect?) prints that merit at state or regionals automatically getting a merit at the international print competition.

Heidi_Theriault
02-27-2009, 01:11 PM
I suggested that exact thing for CT about a year ago and they shooed me away with disgust for such an absurd idea. Nice to know I'm not like an alien or something. I see pros and cons...

D._Craig_Flory
02-27-2009, 01:33 PM
Hi Kevin;

I see some pitfalls. One is density, contrast, and color balance. A photographer can make sure any prints they send are perfect. With what you advocate, they would have to hope that the monitors are set up exactly the same ! Now, there are 5 judges, an alternate, and the print master all viewing each image at once. Any can make a challenge at any time. Would you envision one monitor for each of them ? If an image looks "soft" or something judges can walk up to the print to look at it closely. If a DVD show would you see a way to enlarge them ?

I do like this for non competition purposes such as a critique or a meeting where members would bring potential competition images for review.

John_Stein
02-27-2009, 01:36 PM
Kevin,

Check with the Delaware PPA I know they have been doing this for about a year.

John

Mark_Levesque
02-27-2009, 01:37 PM
I would be opposed to such an idea until such time as projector technology exceeds the current state of the art in terms of color fidelity, accuracy, dynamic range and resolution. Let's be frank- who here has not seen a speaker who had to make apologies for his or her projector's inability to correctly render an image? "The highlights are not blown out on the monitor." etc

Does it save money? Well, yes. But printing is an important component of image creation, and there isn't even a monitor yet made that can rival the detail possible on a print, much less a projector with such capabilities. I think we'd be losing too much to go to an electronic format for PRINT competition. I do not have an issue with electronic submission of albums, however, because there it is more about the design so less is lost, plus the cost of creating albums is so much more than creating a little 16x20.

When you think about it, most of what we deliver to our clients is prints. And that, to me, is why it is important to retain the print aspect of print competition. At some point in the future what we deliver to clients may well change, and then we would want to adapt to that new reality. For now, prints are what we deliver, and that is what we should compete with. IMHO, of course.

Jonathan_Brown
02-27-2009, 02:35 PM
We have done this in KY for afew years but not at the actually print comp only at a Critique only session we do at our summer seminar to help people prep for the competition next year. It works out well but as has been pointed out the problems with projectors make it difficult to really judge an images.

SO why don't we just use a color balanced monitor like they do for albums? i mean PPA has allowed monitors for album judging so obviously they are comfortable with the qualities of a calibrated monitor. We could use monitors that flip vertically and just flip it if needed and arrange the images so that we have runs of horizontal for 10 or so images then flip the monitor for 10 or so vertical and so on and so forth.

Any ideas or thoughts on this? I think it would reduce the cost, a major hurtle for many to enter, it would keep us from having so many old comp prints hanging around and possibly save time at the actually print comp.

Michael_Black
02-27-2009, 03:42 PM
Imagine not having to fly judges in. Less costs. All judging could be done online.

Ron_Jackson
02-27-2009, 03:59 PM
Does it save money? Well, yes. But printing is an important component of image creation, and there isn't even a monitor yet made that can rival the detail possible on a print, much less a projector with such capabilities. I think we'd be losing too much to go to an electronic format for PRINT competition. I do not have an issue with electronic submission of albums, however, because there it is more about the design so less is lost, plus the cost of creating albums is so much more than creating a little 16x20.


Who said it would be on a projector? The new HD flat screens can be color balanced and used as monitors just like the one on your desk right now. Very high resolution and the ability to zoom in on the image for closer inspection.

You say printing is an important component of image creation however, when it comes to competition, that is a whole other animal. How many actually do their own printing? Probably less than 5% would be a guess. Even then, this whole print density thing that makes the print too dark to hang in your average home is borderline rediculous. Few even know how to get that density right so they rely on the lab they send it to. With digital submission, the most basic level entrant can finish their own files without worrying about that density issue.

This statement is like saying only a few short years ago, digital photography is just not for the pros. I am guessing it's not a matter "if" this will be the way of the future submissions but a matter of when all competitons will be this way.

Michael_McBlane
02-27-2009, 04:24 PM
Our work may be digital but the product is a physical thing that can be held in our hands.

When I first read this, I immediately thought, why make any prints at all. Not just for competition but for our business as well. Why not just give the client CD/DVDs and they can display them on their TVs or project them onto their walls.

Then I got sort of a sick feeling and realized I'm glad I'm sort of a traditionalist.

I like the physical print idea.

Stephanie_Millner
02-27-2009, 04:33 PM
Except... Nationals already accepts digital copies of albums! And albums are like THE item that you want to hold and touch and really have as a tangible product.

Ron_Jackson
02-27-2009, 04:39 PM
Michael I am a traditionalist like you. What I have an issue with are the competition prints themselves. I only did one competition but the prints are of virtually no value to me after competition. The goofy step mount and the overall density being so much darker than a client print would be. With the submission of digital files, they should be able to look like the client print since there would be no use for hot lights to illuminate the prints. If you were to merit, then maybe the competition would require you to make a physical print of the image for loan display and even then, it could be normal density.

Jonathan_Brown
02-27-2009, 05:06 PM
Michael I am a traditionalist like you. What I have an issue with are the competition prints themselves. I only did one competition but the prints are of virtually no value to me after competition. The goofy step mount and the overall density being so much darker than a client print would be. With the submission of digital files, they should be able to look like the client print since there would be no use for hot lights to illuminate the prints. If you were to merit, then maybe the competition would require you to make a physical print of the image for loan display and even then, it could be normal density.

I agree 1000000 %. I have so many useless multiples of images form state comp, regional, national, WPPI, etc. I would love to only have to print up images that merited or loaned. I think this would help with participation as well.

Just my thoughts!!!!

Michael_McBlane
02-27-2009, 05:55 PM
I've always done my own printing so having extra prints was never a big deal.

I guess if you have to continually pay for them it would be an issue.

D._Craig_Flory
02-27-2009, 05:59 PM
This thread gave me an idea. I just sent an e-mail to our PPAofPa Talent chairman for 2010 about having time at our 3 two day meetings for a critique of images on CD or DVD to help narrow down to the best for getting prints made.

For Ron and others who say they can't display competition prints, afterwards, in the studio. I have track lighting and they look just fine.

Stan_Lawrence
02-27-2009, 06:49 PM
"For Ron and others who say they can't display competition prints, afterwards, in the studio. I have track lighting and they look just fine."

Lighting wasn't the issue for me, it was size. I would never display anything that small. As for the cost, if you're competing, it's a cost of doing business. :cool:

D._Craig_Flory
02-27-2009, 07:31 PM
I got this reply back from my friend who is an affiliated judge:

I have judged the guild with projection images and it worked well. The only bad thing is there is no print display for the members to see. other than that, I think this will eventually be the norm down the road.

Just read your post. We were allowed one "zoom" per judge if needed. The skin tones and contrast were extremely close to actual prints. Dennis Kelly's son from NJ has the whole system down to a tee!!

Cassandra_Sullivan
02-27-2009, 07:43 PM
My favorite part of Print Competition is viewing the print display after, and getting critiques from the judges. Lots of our members hang around looking at all the prints. If everyone submits digital images, what happens to the print display - do we all stand around a TV watching a slide show? What if someone wants to get a critique of their image? How would that work?
My state this year did accept digital albums. Afterwards they had them playing on a slideshow on the 30" monitor. Not too many people stood and watched it.

On the national level, tho, I can definitely see submitting digital and getting a print if it's accepted into the General and Loan collection.
Oh and one more thought - if it's not being printed, would step mounts be needed then? Because at that point, you're only judging the image - not a 'print'. Hmm..

D._Craig_Flory
02-27-2009, 08:01 PM
On the national level, tho, I can definitely see submitting digital and getting a print if it's accepted into the General and Loan collection.
Oh and one more thought - if it's not being printed, would step mounts be needed then? Because at that point, you're only judging the image - not a 'print'. Hmm..

Hi Cassandra;

I would think that the format would still be 16X20 & 20X16. Step mounts help in composition as well as impact etc. so I still think they would be used just as heavily as now.

Kevin_E._Newsome
02-27-2009, 09:11 PM
I've judged at a local guild via monitor only, and it went well also, but the lack of prints to view takes quite a bit away from the education that competition is designed for.

It will no longer be "print education" because there are no prints, no education. It will become "image slideshow" which has no inherent value to the makers whatsoever. In a state like Florida where we routinely have up to 120 cases submitting over 700 images/albums, it would take over an hour for a single image to reappear in a slideshow.

The inability to stare at an image long enough to really appreciate the effort it took to create or capture it becomes moot.

If this method were of any value at all, we'd see museums doing away with works of art and installing EIZO monitors on the wall so we could see their very calibrated version of the Mona Lisa... just like we were looking at the real thing! Yeah, I'd pay for that...

Sorry... this a very bad idea.

Ron_Jackson
02-27-2009, 11:53 PM
It will no longer be "print education" because there are no prints, no education. It will become "image slideshow" which has no inherent value to the makers whatsoever.
Sorry... this a very bad idea.

Kevin please help me understand this statement. Why is this about print education? As I mentioned earlier, the prints are printed down to a bit of an abnormal tonal range to compensate for the lights. Most makers don't print their own but use a lab. So where is the "print education"? I did the one competition and didn't get any "print education" from the experience.

I did also mention that if the print made the merit level then the rules could and should require the maker to submit a print if they wanted it to hang for exhibition.

I must be missing something if there is a value to learning real world something by printing these comp prints.

Kevin_E._Newsome
02-28-2009, 12:52 AM
Ron,

The FPP has long referred to the print competition as print education. In fact, at one time, they changed the name of the salon chairman to print education chairman (it never really stuck formally).

The idea being that sitting behind the judges and listening to their comments were an invaluable tool to learning how to create better images. Additionally, when the prints are hanging in the salon display, the judges come in and give free critiques to the makers on their individual images, pointing out what helped or hurt the final score, thereby providing an incredible educational opportunity to the membership.

This has long been one of the most useful tools in fostering the talent of our membership - educating them to create better images. To say there is no educational value in print competition is to totally miss the big picture and ignore the point of competing. You don't compete for the awards, you do it to learn how to produce better images for your clients.

I couldn't care less about whether the image is printed a stop darker than one I'd deliver to a client. It's about composition, expression, impact, color harmony, storytelling, etc. It's about studying an image long enough to decipher how the maker did what they did and why. You won't be able to do that watching a it go by in 4 seconds of a 700 image slideshow.

Todd_Reichman
02-28-2009, 12:55 AM
I only send albums for competition, and print education never seemed part of it for me. I care about the photos and the design. But I do love that I only have to pay for a few writable dvds - no print case, no lab fees and reprints! Awesome. They seem to have some leeway on the color/ finishing on that level - for those judges who've done prints and albums - how do the albums on the screen show compared to the prints?

- trr

Ron_Jackson
02-28-2009, 01:48 AM
Kevin you missed my point. I understand the value of the concept and the image and learning what makes an image better through this process. I took your comment to mean the print, the paper part, not the image part. I don't see the value rendered in the actual print I do see the value in submitting the image. Did that make my comment a bbit clearer? I apologize if I am not conveying my point very well.

Kevin_E._Newsome
02-28-2009, 03:06 AM
Ron,
With regards to the physical printing being educational... maybe not. But if the image is but a few seconds in a slideshow, there is nothing at all educational about competition. If the image is a tangible print that you can get close to, explore, dissect and discuss with others, particularly the maker, there in an incredible amount of education to be derived from the competition.

Doing away with that aspect deprives the viewer a chance to learn anything at all from the experience, and THAT is why I object to taking print competition to a 100% digital format.
Sorry for the confusion.

Ron_Jackson
02-28-2009, 03:16 AM
Kevin I understand but I never proposed a slideshow review of the merited images. I proposed that if one merited and wanted it displayed, they must then provide a print to hang under the same guidelines as currently used. I have no answer to how to make that happen but I never felt the slideshow idea was a good one.

Rick_Massarini
02-28-2009, 06:02 AM
I repeatedly see hear people talking about the "excessively bright" lights used for print competition. In reality, the lights are really not all that bright. The exposure for competition lighting is the equivalent of 1-second at f-16 at ISO-100. That sounds bright because some people see the f-16 and say "wow, that's bright !!" But if you were to pick another set of f-stops and shutter speeds that provide the same exposure - say 1/30 at f2.8, most people would realize that's about what you would normally give for exposure of a typical window light image, or the exposure for a typical church interior. So now it really doesn't seem all that bright once you get rid of that pesky f-16 number in the description. That exposure is just slightly above what you would normally find in a typical home - so where do all these people live where competition prints are way too dark to display so that they are useless??? - do they live in a deep dark cave somewhere with pitch torches on the walls for lamps ??? I have competition prints displayed in my studio and always have - I, like D.Craig, have low power track lights in my reception room aimed at the images on the walls, just like an art gallery would, and they look fine. In fact, most art galleries use much more light on their walls than we do, and I can vouch for that having had one of the largest art dealers in the world as one of my clients for many years - the galleries are much brighter than my studio track lights are (I use 50 watt floodlights), and my competition prints look just fine on my walls. In fact, my sealed prints that are going to the national judging in June are currently hanging on my studio wall and they look great !!!

So what is "normal room lighting" anyway? In my home, I use indirect track lighting aimed at the walls with the dimmer turned way down low so that the bulbs go warm - because I like the feeling it gives. This is normal for me - is that normal for you? Probably not. If you normally have a house with lots of windows, so you get lots of ambient sunlight, is that normal for everyone? If you have fluorescent lights in all of your lighting fixtures, is that normal room lighting? The point is that "normal room lighting" varies a heck of a lot. But if you are going to do a national competition and keep it all on an even keel, then you have to have some kind of published standard illumination level at which the images would be viewed so that everyone is on the same page. You can't just tell people that the prints will be judged under "normal room light" without giving some kind of measurement as to what you mean by that rather nebulous phrase.

1/30 at f2.8 at ISO 100 sounds pretty average to me - just like a window or a typical church interior - so that's pretty average... so what's wrong with that illumination level??? Now somebody talks about the PPA lighting standard of 1-second at f-16 at ISO 100 - then pulls back and says - wait - that's excessively bright !!! No it's the same - do the math... It's pretty average overall...

Kevin_E._Newsome
02-28-2009, 12:23 PM
Ron,
Providing a print for display after a digital competition at the national level would probably work just fine since the images aren't displayed until several months after the actual competition.

However, on the state level where digital competition is being proposed (and why this thread was started), it can't work at all because the images are displayed within hours of the competition. If folks are expected to bring prints just in case they merited, then a digital competition is a waste of time.

Ron_Jackson
02-28-2009, 01:29 PM
Kevin that is a very valid point indeed. National is apparently the only place it would work. As we move further into the digital age, it will be interesting to see where this issue takes us.

Rick yes I kept mentioning the dark prints and no they are not excessively dark but add to that they are small, super glossy and they have the step mount so these are not prints I would ever display. If they were full image 16x20s on the appropriate paper for the image then I might consider hanging although that size to me is still quite small.

Believe me I am not badmouthing competition, I was just expressing my thoughts of going digital.

D._Craig_Flory
02-28-2009, 03:12 PM
If anyone does not want to display competition prints with regular studio samples ..... one wall, or area, could be just for those. Lighting such as track lighting would give proper illumination. A nice sign would tell what they are and what their purpose is. Merits could be displayed as well. This would be a way for those who say that the 16X20s are too small.

Jeff_Dachowski
02-28-2009, 09:27 PM
Hi Folks,
Currently I am against a total digital comp. This past year at our regional 4 members from OURPPA had albums that went through early in the digital judging. All three albums looked over saturated. All three albums were commented on that they looked over saturated. The judges scored all three albums 79's becuase of the color. One of the judges called the albums back and said that the system must be set up wrong. Nope, the print chairman said it was right, so too bad right? Well about 15 min into the albums, the color on the monitor shifted to normal. Most of the albums that went after that point went into the 80 pile. My point? I had an album that was judged early in the process, and it did not merit. I spoke to two judges who said there was nothing they could do except ask about the color.

If it was a real album, there would not be a color or saturation variable.

They knew it was not right, and they had no recourse.

I have about ten prints hanging from comps, and my clients love to see them up with the ribbons on them. I think I will lose that benefit as soon as we move to all digital, as a disc wont look that cool on a wall!

For those that say comp is too expensive, I would suggest you look closer at your business. If you cant afford $250 a year for education, than something is not right in your studio.

Jeff

Rick_Massarini
02-28-2009, 10:09 PM
...and they have the step mount so these are not prints I would ever display. If they were full image 16x20s on the appropriate paper for the image then I might consider hanging although that size to me is still quite small...

Step mounting is not a requirement, just another option to allow you to provide what you might believe is a better presentation to the jurors. If you believe that your image is stronger without a step mount, then just send it in to be judged as a full-bleed print. Many of the images that are submitted to the National judging are full bleed images without step-mounting being applied.

Most of the PPA merit prints that are hanging on my walls do not have step mounts. And a lot of images that have never been in competition that are hanging on my walls DO have step mounting. The step mount or as we refer to it, the "digital mat" on the print actually helps us to sell larger prints, since we can now offer our clients an image that is finished with the matting having the exact color that we wish for the mat - the color that actually matches the part of the image that we want to accent with the matting, not like regular cut board matting where you are limited to the few colors that Crescent has in there mat board options. So we deliver many prints either framed with an electronic mat already in place or unframed with the electronic mat in place so that the print is ready to go into the frame without the additional expense of having it matted for framing. I like the step mount idea as it helps me to sell larger prints. So for me, it works just the opposite of what you say is a problem for you...

Keith_A_Howe
02-28-2009, 10:53 PM
I have been holding off on this thread, waiting to see what everyone else said before I commented. Having judged digital albums and also having dozens of people send me full size, full res files to look at for possible comp, and then latter seeing those files as actual prints, I can say emphatically, it's not the same on a moniter as seeing an actual print or album.

Some points I would like to make -

As Jeff said, If you can't afford to print up 4 16x20's once a year for competition, then you shouldn't be entering. You should first be getting your business in shape so that you can afford it. Competition helps your business, but if the small cost of 4 prints is a hardship then you need to start by fixing your business plan to allow for educational expense.

Judging lights are standardized so each maker can print for the exact conditions their print will be judged under. The brighter lights also make it so judges can see any potential issues within the print. PEC does not require the images to be printed darker. That's just something that has evolved over the years as makers realized that a darker gutsier image looks better under the lights. I have seen very pale images also do well in comp. Rick nailed this point in his response.

I hope it never evolves to like someone suggested of not flying judges into a central location. For one thing, how are you going to make sure every judge is viewing every file under the same conditions with identically calibrated moniters. The crediability of the judging will be compromised when the panel of jurors is not directly under the control of the JC. How do you know one of the jurors is not sitting at their computer with a beer in hand and their kids screaming in the background. ( I wanted to add that I know my fellow jurors and I can't believe any of them would ever approach their responsibility with anything less then the utmost integrity. BUT!! It's often the perception of the membership that causes issues. When they can't observe the judges in action, they might make all kinds of erroneous assumptions.)

Next, you take out so many creative options if you go to strictly electronic. For the last three years I have had an image in loan each year that I choose to print on watercolor paper. I feel that the paper choice made a big difference in the final look and feel of the image. Metallic paper is another option that would be eliminated. The choice of a digital mat or a traditional overlay mat is no longer an option. Whether to present the image as high gloss or matte is no longer a choice. Those are just a few examples. Thru the years PEC has strived to eliminate restrictions and rules because the feed back from the membership has been they want more creative freedom. So to me it seems like a step backwards to make a change that takes away some of that freedom and options.

How can we judge color balance? Right now with digital albums it has been an issue. When we see actual prints, the maker decided what the color, saturation and density would be. When we look at a moniter much of those variables are taken out of the maker's hands. I for one want to decide. I don't want it left up to the variables of whatever moniter it is viewed on. Subtle color differences can greatly effect the overall mood of an image. The maker should gte to detirmine that.

It's physically uncomfortable. Because a moniter shifts when viewed at an angle, the 5 or 6 judges cannot sit in a row. We are crammed in a double row as close together as middle aged spread allows. The back row stands and leans over the front. I don't think I could physically handle that for a 8 hour day. Plus any audience view whatsoever is completely blocked. They can still hear the comments but they can't see the images, so that educational opportunity is lost.

Cost - On the national and regional level it is specified that a 30" Apple Cinema moniter, a Macbook Pro and a LaCie hard drive be used. The total cost for this equipment is over $3500. At national judging there are almost always 4 judging rooms going at once, if not 5 rooms. At many regionals they run two panels at once. So multiply the equipment cost by the number of panels seated. Whatever each maker saved in print cost would be quickly eaten up in higher entry fees needed to pay for this equipment. This cost is why many regionals were reluctant at first to accept digital albums.

Print quality, like I said at the beginning, there are many many issues that I never see when looking at an image on a moniter but then when I see the actual print it pops right up. I am concerned that the overall standard will be lowered in an all electronic competition.

Another consideration is eye strain - imagine sitting staring intently at a moniter for 8 hours. That's how long a typical judging day is. It's a lot harder on the eyes to look at a backlit moniter then it is to look at prints.

Head to head competitions - in many places a lot of the awards are selected by head to head comparison of images. Often there are 10-20 images or more in contention. Sure we could flip back and forth through files to see different images, but that's just not the same as looking at prints on a rack side by side to definitively say "this is the best".

The print show - almost every time I judge I spend most of my free time in the print show after judging is done, talking to people about specific prints they have questions on. Sometimes it's their prints but at least half of the time we are talking about other images and why they scored where they did - high or low. That's a huge part of the educational process of competition. How is that going to happen when an image flashes up for 4 seconds in a slide show? You won't be able to just walk down to the end of the rack to look at a particular print. You can't just scan quickly to find an image that illustrates a point you are trying to make. Prints are what we do. It's our end product. What kind of message does it give, to say that PPA as the greatest professional photographer's association in the world does not feel that actual photographic prints are important any more? When my business evolves to where I am just selling files and not actual prints then that's when I want to be evaluated based on my files. As long as what I am selling is prints, then that's how I want to be judged by my peers.

Having judged both ways, I don't think electronic judging of albums is as good. But because albums can cost upwards of $1000 or more to produce and because they are sent into national and not returned for many months, I feel that it is a compromise PEC had to make. They benefit to the membership outweighed the drawbacks of judging that way. I don't feel that is the case with prints. What we lose by judging prints electronically is not outweighed by what little there is to gain.

These are all my personal opinions. I am an affilate juror and was recently asked to serve on a subcommitte for PEC. However these opinions are strictly my own. I do not speak for or represent PEC or PPA.

Keith

Fuzzy_Duenkel
03-01-2009, 12:18 AM
My wife and I are print chair at our local regional, and we started it last year with GREAT success. On a state level, the issue of public display needs to be resolved.

No problem with the projector! We all judge color and density on our monitors and a projector is no different, as long as it's set up right and the ambient room light is low enough.

Basically, on a PC you have to make the laptop screen look bad (blue) so the screen is the right color. Not sure if that's true on a Mac.

Michael_Gan
03-01-2009, 04:26 AM
I've been holding off too. Here's how I'm starting to see all of this.

Since the automation of the camera (yes, even in the film days), we're seeing a higher infusion of "professional photographers" without even a basic photography course in the community college level. The education level of today's practicing photographers are at an all time low (thank heavens for certification). Despite the ease of the digital technology which gives the photographer creative control, the bottom line is, photographers still have to have creative control of the print. Even though you have all the wiz bang stuff to control all the colors and exposures, the bottom line is, our eyeballs are still needed to do evaluations of the final print. And this is where many fall down: Print quality, whether its in print competition, or delivery to your clients. Many cannot do either/or and many times neither.

One thing I hear a lot in this day and age that I rarely heard even 10 years ago, are the words' "that's good enough". The tide of mediocrity has really taken a firm hold in this era. Not doing prints "because you can't afford it" is just not good enough of an excuse. This is our medium, and this medium has never been one of economy - ask the old timers how much money they sunk for film, chemicals, darkroom equipment and paper (oddly enough, the camera used to be the inexpensive part of all this).

The print is still our performance of our creative composition. A potential nightmare is giving an electronic image a "Seal of Approval" on the regional level, and forcing the judges to accept a poor print of it at National. How would that reflect on all of us when those prints go up for exhibition at Imaging? It could be mighty embarrassing.

Let's not dumb down print competition any more than needed. The future of our profession is depending on it. It's the primary reason it is called "Print Competition".

Nothing like a rant on the eve of my ascension ;)

Ron_Jackson
03-01-2009, 06:27 AM
I completely accept all that has been said about sticking with prints for competition. Makes a lot of sense. Let me ask this question. What if there were a separate volunteer committee within the PPA that would be a mentor program. The mentors would have to be at least at master level. There job would be to accept CDs of PPA members seeking help. The photographer would send the CD of images to the mentor who would evaluate the images, critique them in a very tough but honest way and return the critique to the sender. Maybe you have two levels, entry for those just coming into the business but have a tax certificate for proof and then maybe an advanced level for those who have an established studio but need help taking it up a notch or two. Of course the mentors would also help evaluate images for preparation for competition. This would be a much more in-depth and personal program than just posting on the forum. Just thinking here.

andiegoodman
03-01-2009, 06:39 AM
Delaware uses electronic competition for the print competitions during the year. The judges look at the images on a great monitor and the image is also projected on a screen for the audience to see. The quality of the projected image is not as great as the monitor image but it is working. Since Connecticut has many print competitions throughout the year, this would be great for them. The annual convention print competition could then be an actual print, which answers Cassandra's concern about no prints to see displayed on racks.

For those guilds and states that have multiple competitions, this is a great idea. Prints can then be made for state, regional and national competition.

Rick_Massarini
03-01-2009, 07:16 AM
... What if there were a separate volunteer committee within the PPA that would be a mentor program. The mentors would have to be at least at master level. There job would be to accept CDs of PPA members seeking help. The photographer would send the CD of images to the mentor who would evaluate the images, critique them in a very tough but honest way and return the critique to the sender. Maybe you have two levels, entry for those just coming into the business but have a tax certificate for proof and then maybe an advanced level for those who have an established studio but need help taking it up a notch or two. Of course the mentors would also help evaluate images for preparation for competition. This would be a much more in-depth and personal program than just posting on the forum. Just thinking here.

The PPA-PEC already has this kind of program in place - not via CD's, but this program is already available at the national convention. The PEC has mentor booths set up in the print exhibition area where you can bring in your images and get one of the PEC jurors to critique the work. They will evaluate the images and tell the maker what to do to improve it. The mentoring process is already in place. I'm sure that it could be expanded, but you have to remember, the Master Photographers who are jurors (and Mentors) have to find time to run their businesses too. They are all working photographers, so the donation of their time to sit in the mentor booth while at the convention is a significant gift. PEC jurors spent a lot of hours at the convention this year sitting in the mentor booths helping photographers to improve. I don't understand why more members don't take advantage of it. Ask Keith about the program - he promoted it a lot in a thread before the convention - and I know that he spent A LOT of time in the Mentor booth at Imaging this year, and all he got back for it was the personal satisfaction of living up to his Masters degree promise to pass on his knowledge to others. If you desire a mentoring program, all you have to do to take advantage of it is to attend the national convention, and sign up for it - it's already available there...

If we want to carry this subject discussion further, let's get a moderator to take this into it's own thread...

Now back to the "about electronic competition" discussion ...

My personal take on the electronic judging option is that I prefer actual prints to electronic media. You can't study a file in a slide show, no prints means no print exhibition, which loses a lot of the inspirational characteristics of a convention - no images to look at... You lose the members walking around the print exhibit discussing the qualities of the images on display, which would be a terrible loss, IMO. Electronically, you will always have some slight variation of a what a monitor or projector presents, which introduces a variable that is not there with a print. With a print, the final product is right there in front of you, as submitted by the photographer - not stored in some digital media to be interpreted by a computer with the image that is presented to the jurors depending upon the whim of a bunch of electrical circuits and the temperature of the monitor. I do support the efforts of the PEC to allow the electronic judging of albums because of the cost issue involved with an album; but when it comes to individual images, I feel that we deliver a physical product so we should compete with the product that we deliver, which is a print. Just my opinion, of course...

Keith_A_Howe
03-01-2009, 04:09 PM
What if there were a separate volunteer committee within the PPA that would be a mentor program.

Ron, This is a great idea. Could you give it a little more thought, write it up as a more formal proposal ASAP and send it to me and I will make sure it gets read by the right people. As I mentioned in my first post I was recently asked to serve on a subcommittee to PEC and my main purpose is to spread info through forums etc and also to bring these kind of ideas back to PEC. I also have a personal mission to help people achieve their goals in photography, so your idea is a perfect fit. We do have the print mentoring booths at IUSA and the critiques available from national judging, but this would reach the people who can't attend IUSA or are timid to even start entering.

Keith

Keith_A_Howe
03-01-2009, 04:17 PM
For those guilds and states that have multiple competitions, this is a great idea. Prints can then be made for state, regional and national competition.

This makes sense. I assume the multiple comps are intended to be trial runs for the actual annual competition? So if you are entering 3 or 4 times a year with 4-6 prints each time, I can see how the cost would add up. In Nebraska we have one chance a year to enter four prints at our regional affiliate comp. There are no "test runs".

Keith

Ron_Jackson
03-01-2009, 06:08 PM
Thanks Keith. I will work on that idea this afternoon when I finish processing these two jobs I have to get out. I will get back to you soon.

JulieHughes
03-02-2009, 05:36 PM
Wow, I hope it doesn't come to no prints. Ever. Do we go to a photographic exihibition and look at projections of images? Projections of sculptures and clay and monet's? Are museums just going to project art or will it be there in reality to capture the senses? Heaven forbid. My prayer is that as long as we are delivering albums and images to our clients, we will be allowed to walk through galleries of incredible work both at Florida and PPA, and open our eyes and see.

JulieHughes
03-02-2009, 10:17 PM
Hey Kevin my amigo,

I just thought of another reason why print salon is so important. It's our craft, our heritage, our future. Fine studio portraiture is making a great come back, and how are the puppy photographers coming up the ranks going to learn classic if they cannot study prints. This is who we are. It is an vital piece of what we are, and what we do. We must fight to keep salon a part of the educational process for our next generation. I have spoke to over thirty photographers today, and no one is for this that i spoke to. I am going to collect signatures to preserve our artistic future for now and generations to come. Until my clients stop buying wall art for their homes (Heaven Forbid ! ) and want to project images for their walls, I will beg to keep our print display going. My son is becoming a fine photographer, my daughter-in law has just started winning awards, and they are so upset that the education I had may no longer be available, that our beautiful prints will no longer be available to study and learn from. Please do not let this happen.

Julie Hughes www.abbeyoflondon.com:eek:

JohnHeckler
03-03-2009, 12:13 PM
I know this will not be a popular view with the traditionalist here, but in my mind, it is not a question of "if PPA (and affiliate states) should go digital for print competition", but rather "when".

Technology makes it "possible" now, maybe not feasible just yet. But some states have already proven it can be done. There are some issues that still need to be sorted out, but that is only a matter of time.

I believe there will always be a place for traditional prints, but I am also in the camp that our customers will increasingly be demanding a digital medium from us. You can like it or not, but if you want to stay in business in the future, you will have to sort this out for yourself <duck> ;-)

Technology has always played a part in art and always will. You don't see anyone left on the planet insisting all illustrative art should be etched on the side of a cave do you? LOL (just having a little fun, please don't take me too seriously)

In fact, go on record here in this thread and state when you think PPA (National level) will move to an all digital submission and judging:

a) never

b) within 5 yrs

c) between 5-10 yrs

d) > 10 yrs

e) _____ [fill in your own timeframe]


For me, I bet we see it within 5 yrs :-)

Mark_Levesque
03-03-2009, 12:29 PM
I'll take that bet, John. There is and will continue to be considerable resistance to such a change, and it will be a long time before national makes that leap. That our clients may increasingly demand digital offerings of us is immaterial. So long as they continue to purchase prints, we will continue to have print competition and not image competition.

D._Craig_Flory
03-03-2009, 12:56 PM
Hi John;

Here it is with what I think. My answer has only to do with Imaging and not with any lower associations.

a) never

b) within 5 yrs

c) between 5-10 yrs

d) 10 yrs

e) 35 years By then I will be dead and won't care or at age 96 won't have an opinion.

JulieHughes
03-03-2009, 04:00 PM
Dear Craig,
I like the sound of 96 years too. those that believe in this have to be vocal and active. I volunteer every year at print salon on a local, state,, and national level, and will continue to do so. Those of us that want 'real" prints for our future generations need to rally together....appreciate all the comments though.

Julie

samgardnermcr
03-11-2009, 05:28 AM
As a professional photographer, my end product is a physical print. I think
that it is IMPERATIVE that the print competition remain a PRINT competition
and not become a digital file competition. Many important things can "slide by" with digital files that can never slide by when the image is printed. I think that converting to a digital competition would be lowering PPA standards to the point that I would no longer care to enter. Please stay true to the essence of our craft. Also, I earned my Masters with the submission of a combination of portraits, wedding images, and landscapes. I think the addition of new "masters of" categories would be very degrading to those who have earned their Masters using imagery from all areas of their work. Photography is photography...lighting and posing is lighting and posing. yes, different styles are used for different clients but it all boils down to a mastery of lighting and posing, the proper knowledge of your equipment and a creative mind. This does not change from one area of photography to another.
Therefore, awarding separate Master's degrees, in my mind, degrades the
position.
Please do not offer digital entry submissions for photographs. I think a real professional can afford to make and enter four prints a year... perhaps otherwise they are not a true professional!

samgardnermcr
10-04-2009, 09:36 PM
One big issue I have with digital submissions allowed at our PPA Regional Judging events is that there would not be time to print any of the digital submissions quickly enough to create a print salon or display, thus denying the attendees of seeing the images in their final form. Spending time perusing the hanging prints in the salon is a valuable part of attendance. At the recent SW Region, for example, the jurors all spent about two hours in the salon discussing individual prints with convention attendees after the judging was complete. The feedback the jurors got was that it was extremely valuable time and much appreciated by those who took full advantage of yet another learning experience with actual prints hanging in a display.
I understand that at the Annual International Judging there is plenty of time to make the accepted prints and submit them for the salon which happens months later at IUSA, yet at Regionals, there simply is not time to make the prints for a display.