Kerrville Texas Judging
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Magnolia TX (N. Houston area)
    Posts
    8

    Thumbs down Kerrville Texas Judging

    As background, I got out of photography 20 years ago because, well, poverty sucks. I basically threw away 7 years of majoring in photography in my under-grad and graduate work plus a number of years of working in the photographic industry for other studios. IT pays much more. Senior Business Intelligence Architect. Just sounds lucrative, doesn't it? I now make enough in my full-time IT job to afford to open a small studio and bankroll all the initial investments without small business loans. So now I'm getting back into photography and again following my first love. At almost 50, I count it as my happy marriage-safe mid-life crisis.

    A number of weeks ago I went to a Texas PPA convention in Kerrville. I had no prints entered, so I had no horses in the race to bias my opinions. The judging was very, very disappointing. Outstanding, stellar, near-perfect portraits could not score higher than a 84. Amateur illustrations made with Photoshop and Painter enhancements all scored in the high 90s, with most of them getting 100s. Now, they're far better than I can produce. When I say amateur I mean as compared to quality professional illustrators (for one quality example, see digitalblasphemy.com). Almost every photographer I spoke with shared these observations and opinions but didn't want to rock the political boat.

    My take away is three-fold. First, judges are so accustomed to seeing outstanding portraits and bridals that they are incapable of scoring them highly based on their technical and artistic merits, but instead score them based on their "differentness". I think they would have scored fly-covered "cow patties" on a platter in the high 90s just because it would be different from the boring high-quality portraits they were used to seeing.

    Second, I learned how to add 5-10 points to print scores in Texas. Run your print through Corel Painter Essentials 4 auto-paint for 3 minutes.

    Third, TPPA judges no longer respect Photography - they want illustrators, not photographers, to enter their competitions. But here's the problem. Clients (remember those?) don't buy illustrations, and even if they did I couldn't make any money off of them because they take too long to produce. I'm a photographer, not an illustrator. I thought illustrators had their own professional organizations. And I thought PPA was ours.

    So why should I waste my time entering photographic competitions when the judges think it's an illustrative competition? Peer admiration? No offense intended, gentle reader, but I care far more about what my customers think about my work than about what you think about my work. I don't have the time, energy or desire to create stuff just to impress you. I create photographs to make money, and impressing peers who don't pay me doesn't make money. Aren't you the same? Do you really give a hoot about what I think of your work, as long as your clients keep buying your prints?

    I love photography, and I'm happy to be practicing our art again professionally. I will strive to improve my photography both artistically and technically with every image I create. It is my desire to create photographs worthy of receiving PPA merits for every one of my clients. I will continue to harvest the benefits I receive from TPPA education such as the outstanding Texas School. Unfortunately, TPPA Kerrville Competition has dramatically reduced the value I perceive in PPA print competitions.

    Kevyn
    Last edited by KevynSchneider; 07-23-2009 at 07:27 PM.

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