Kerrville Texas Judging - Page 3
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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Kerrville Texas Judging

    ...and this has been my point in the many "competition" threads we've had for the last 4 years:

    Why do we have to delineate "fine art" from "fine portraits"? My Loan images and General images actually do hang in our clients' homes. Even my "fantasy pieces" hang in their homes as actual client work.

    Master photographers are needed more than ever now to pave the way. Michael, you are absolutely correct in all your assertions. The thing that has been a constant in all the years I've been in practice is that photographers are like sheep, well, more like lemmings. They follow someone else's styles to the end of the earth, then have no where else to go when the style changes. This is why PPA Masters are a precious resource. If they can constantly lead, change and update the face of our industry, then it is my hope that photographers will learn more to be leaders, instead of followers. Although, come to think of it, if we are all leaders, who would come to each others workshops and lectures?

    I think what riles everyone up is that most people who make their assertions about anything in this world, like print competitions, they usually come across as insulting because of a narrow world view. What's even harder still is that when they do actually take that world view and attend national, etc., they already have it in their heads that their assertions are correct. Kelvyn, as a possible example, might attend Imaging USA, look at the exhibit, dig in, and say, "all those guys in the forum are wrong, I don't see anything different than I saw in Kerrville".

    And thus goes the way of the world. We have to let it go and hope we can reach the few on this forum who can embrace the spirit of what many of us on this forum love. And we have to let the others go. Just like in our studios, you can't book everyone who walks into our doors.
    Last edited by Michael_Gan; 07-24-2009 at 03:42 PM.
    Michael Gan,M.Photog.Cr. CPP,
    Meritage House of Photography

    If your business depends on you, you don't own a business-you have a job. And it's the worst job in the world because you're working for a lunatic... You can't close it when you want to, because if it's closed you don't get paid. You can't leave it when you want to, because if you leave there's nobody there to do the work. You can't sell it when you want to, because who wants to buy a job?
    —Michael Gerber
    http://www.meritageonmain.blogspot.com

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    229

    Default Re: Kerrville Texas Judging

    You can't be all things to all people. You can, however, be all people to all things as inanimate objects are fairly easy to please.

  3. #23
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    North Platte, NE
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    4,986

    Default Re: Kerrville Texas Judging

    Quote Originally Posted by mrbarton View Post
    You guys are all good. I was just kidding. I didn't mean anything negative by it.
    I believe you.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrbarton View Post
    There are, however, posts on here every once in awhile that are made to get people riled up.
    And that's what is sad. To state a contraversial opinion because you truly believe it is good - leads to great discussion. To make offensive comments just so the poster can sit at home, rub their hands together and snicker when people get upset - that 's just juvenile and a waste of everyone's time.

    Keith
    Keith A. Howe
    M.Photog.,M.Artist, Cr.,D.F.Ph.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Kerrville Texas Judging

    When a thread like this about print comp pops up, I usually sit back and watch... because I know there are folks on this thread (Keith, MichaelG, et al) who have decades more experience than I do and voice their opinions more eloquently than I do.

    But this time I decided to jump in. I've been thinking about what I would say that would be any different than what has already been said... and it got me thinking about WHY I love print competition. Why do I get giddy when I start looking through my prints? Why do I carry around a notebook in the event I get a creative or new idea that I have to jot down? What do I actually GET out of print competition?

    Well, quite a lot, actually. But, what I've really discovered, is that I enter print competition not with the COMPETITION in mind, but the LEARNING. I'm at the 'sponge' stage... I'm soaking up everything, I'm taking the time to STUDY what is good and what could be improved, and I'm turning that into very valuable information that has categorically changed the images I create on a day-to-day basis. It's changed how my brain works... I SEE things differently now that I've become a student of print competition.

    The amazing thing about it, though, is that I've probably learned more from the images that don't score well as I have from the images that have gone Loan. I had the amazing opportunity to be a spectator at nationals this year and it was amazing what I discovered about myself. As images would come around the turntable, I could hear this little voice inside my head saying things like "oh, that would be so much stronger if her head were tilted just a little to the right" or "that's a beautiful image, but what on earth did they mount it on!" or "wow... that's one of the most beautiful bridal portraits I've ever seen" or "oh-yep... that's out of key and it doesn't work with this image... it would be so much stronger if..."

    I did far better in print competition this year than I did last year, and looking at my images from last year, I can see why. They're BETTER this year. I spent a lot of time last year working on ME.... I spent a lot of time finding the right mentors to help me develop my skills, and improve my weak areas... I spent a lot of time studying old images of mine and figuring out what could be improved.

    I'm a student of my craft, and that's the attitude with which I approach print competition. Yes, of course, I want to do well, I want to kick some butt... but the attitude with which I do it makes getting there much easier. And, on that same note, it requires me to really evaluate my work when I DON'T do well.

    Bring on the 20lb necklace... I'll wear it with pride because I know what I did to get there and that's what's important. To me, anyway.

  5. #25
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    Jan 2006
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    Alton, IL
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    Default Re: Kerrville Texas Judging

    20lb necklace...

    Other than "Mr. T", nobody's necklace(s) weigh(s) 20lbs!

    I went and weighed in and mine weighs in under 3lbs.

    I guess I have some work to do...

    I wonder how much Flav-a-flave's was?
    Last edited by John_Metcalfe; 07-24-2009 at 05:14 PM.
    john

  6. #26
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    Oct 2008
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    Default Re: Kerrville Texas Judging

    That's a good point. I'll weigh mine.

  7. #27

    Default Re: Kerrville Texas Judging

    Quote Originally Posted by John_Metcalfe View Post
    20lb necklace...

    Other than "Mr. T", nobody's necklace(s) weigh(s) 20lbs!

    I went and weighed in and mine weighs in under 3lbs.

    I guess I have some work to do...
    Actually, you know you've arrived once you're pendants are converted to 22k gold! Trust me, there are masters out there that had them done! Now the gold ones are heavier!

    Quote Originally Posted by John_Metcalfe View Post
    I wonder how much Flav-a-flave's was?
    Ask a current PPA pres to see how much the (presidents medal) medal weights, I've seen it and darn it looks like a flavor-flave clock!


    Quote Originally Posted by mrbarton View Post
    That's a good point. I'll weigh mine.
    Sweat doesnt count.
    Last edited by Marc_Benjamin; 07-24-2009 at 06:50 PM.
    -Marc Benjamin, M. Photog. Cr. F-PPC
    marcbenjamin.com

  8. #28
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    Feb 2009
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    Magnolia TX (N. Houston area)
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    Default Re: Kerrville Texas Judging

    Wow, great discussion and thanks to everyone who commented. I will restate a few points I've already made that I believe were misunderstood or totally lost in the discussion. I don't have time to comment on every one of the points which have been have made, but I will attempt to address a few of them. If you have made a counter point to my statements prior to my starting the writing of this post this morning and I don't address it here, the chances are very good that I have already acquiesced and accept your insight. For those which popped up afterwards, hopefully this addresses most of your comments. And Heather, thank you for chiming in. I love your attitude and will adopt it as my own!

    First let me apologize to everyone who has achieved recognition for the combination of their service and outstanding talents, as demonstrated by whatever various certifications, degrees and/or other honors they've received. I have a dry and bombastic sense of humor, and did not intend to blanket-denigrate these outstanding accomplishments nor those who have achieved them. I have a number of highly prestigious professional honors outside of Photography and I make light of my own certifications in the same way (and don't get me started on Mensans). To those who hold honors bestowed by the PPA or it's subsidiaries and have taken offense, you have a right to be offended by what I said in my stream-of-consciousness writing style. I was wrong for both what I said and how I said it, and I sincerely apologize. The statement was intended as a comedic parody of my perception and translated poorly into forum posts; it was never an ad hominem attack. Further, I never intended to bait anyone and regret the start of the flame war (or at least skirmish) it instgated, but I am happy for the impassioned discussion that ensued. Part of an internal frustration of mine which led to those remarks was a palatable attitude on the part of a small and smug minority who wear their awards proudly while looking down at we lesser beings who have neither attained nor deserve such high recognition. It is one thing to have recognition for recorded service; it is a whole other thing to have the heart of a servant. Fortunately, the vast, vast majority of M.Photogs, Cr.s, CPPs, etc. have the latter in abundance. Unfortunately, those few that don't cast a long shadow on the many that do. I apologize for my own bias in lumping the two groups together in jest.

    Second, what I said was never intended to apply to all judging. I was careful to state up front that I am highly academically trained as a photographer but a reborn newbie in the trade. I stated my observations were from a single judging, and that my subjective negative perceptions as an outsider tainted my immediate trust in national level judging. I have heard clearly from many of you that state/regional competition judging quality is not indicative of national level judging, and I accept that at face value and trust your experience. There is yet one objective fact I pointed out which I have not heard anyone address: that many of the photographers I spoke to at the competition shared the same general perception of biased scoring that I had. Most of them have been in the photographic industry their whole adult lives, some with "danglies" themselves (lighten up, guys), some are leaders in their local guilds. Were it not for this confirmation from a large number of those you would certainly consider fellow professional photographers, I would have never started this post in the first place. You may dismiss my opinions based on your own assumptions regarding my level of knowledge and my years away from photography, but how do you address the similar opinions regarding judging bias and merit gaming by life long photographers?

    Which brings me to my next point. The path to my personal and financial success took me away from photography for a while. While that amounts to failure in some eyes, to my family and I it represents milestones in a life+business plan which extends past my lifetime and into my children's lives. I do not apologize for it and in fact I highlight it. OK, so we've established that I'm a lousy outsider. But I'm a lousy outsider that sincerely loves photography both as an art and a profession, a lousy outsider that might just possibly see systemic problems which some others may not because they've seen it for so long. I'm not surprised that it upsets people when I point and say "the king is naked." Perhaps I'm wrong and he's just in his skivvies, but his legs are still hairy. I'm really not trying to stir up an anthill of animosity. I *AM* pointing to a perceived problem to generate discussion and hopefully reduce a potential issue in the future. One thing I've learned in business and management is that perception is reality to the perceiver. If there is a recurring perception of a problem by a number of members of an organization, then a problem exists. Perhaps not the problem exactly as perceived, but a problem or situation which exacerbates the perception.

    Next point for re-clarification. I do not believe that photography is only SOC images. I stand by my previous statement that given current technology I don't believe there is, or can be, a clear delineation between where photography ends and where illustration begins. Perhaps the term photographer applies less to us today than it did 20 years ago, but we cling to it for lack of a better term and for love for our primary tool - a box with a hole in it. Perhaps the names of both our job title and the product we produce should change when our main tool is no longer a box with the hole in it but instead a box with a keyboard in front of it. I don't claim to know the answer. There has always been outsourcing of tasks to talent pools of printers, retouching artists, etc. The medium has changed - it's now Photoshop plugins instead of airbrush pigment - but the reality of the situation is constant. I agree with Tracye - the photographer gets all the credit for competition prints, somewhat unfairly depending on the situation. In competitions I was in 20+ years ago (did my own printing, retouching, mounting & finishing, Tracye) I reconciled that fact by convincing myself that it's the photograph that gets the merit, not the photographer. We all know that's not really the case, but the thought still eases my mind. It's just the way of things. But that's for another thread. Or another philosophy class.

    To conclude, thank you all for your comments. A number of you have issued me professional challenges, some indirectly, and some very directly; I thank you the most. Thank you for challenging me to improve professionally through the channel of print competition. I will take you up on that challenge. Thank you for desiring success instead of failure for me. While we all probably still have some misunderstandings, thank you for honestly trying to understand the meaning of my post, the source of my frustration, and the cause of my concern. If I have done nothing other than increase your sensitivity to at least the possibility of bias in local judging and the slower move of newbies into competition due to such perceptions, then perhaps in some small way judging will become better and competition entries will increase. I am fully willing to agree that there may be no real bias. Can you agree that there may be something beyond my own stupidity which might cause that perception?

    Photography is a challenging industry for entrepreneurs in the best of economic times. I wish you all well. Maintain a servants heart. Remember that your competition is not other photographers as much as it is wedding gown upgrades, furniture stores, Gucci handbags and bed and breakfast getaways.

    But hey, what do I know?
    Kevyn
    ;-{>
    Last edited by KevynSchneider; 07-24-2009 at 08:31 PM.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Kerrville Texas Judging

    As I press the reply button I'm feeling satisfied in the fact that you (Kevyn) have made yourself better understood. A bit wordy even by my standards, but better understood.

    Unfortunately for everyone, while we bang on the keys the viewer only gets about 20% of the true emotion, leaving a lot of us overachievers to fill in the blanks.

    From your words, I gather you want to make this a better place. CHEERS! Dig in, throw on some asbestos underwear and bring your best to the table! Because no matter where your competing, be it the local, your affiliate or at the international competitions, if your work is outstanding it will be noticed, no matter what the format.
    Last edited by John_Metcalfe; 07-25-2009 at 01:33 AM.
    john

  10. #30
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    Aug 2005
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    Fort Worth, Texas
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    165

    Default Re: Kerrville Texas Judging

    Very well said Kevyn! And I will admit that even though I would love to learn 'old school' print comp prep (heck I would love to learn to make tin types!) mine were probably those prints that you didn't like at Kerrville. My pregnant Madonna got Best Overall Portrait, a 95, and 3 ribbons(also went loan at Natls). It was a portrait I took of my pregnant sister and a pic I took from a wedding inside of a church. All collaged together in Photoshop and TOTALLy painted in Corel Painter. What can I say, I was studying Renaissance painters and composition at the time and the pregnant portrait inspired me! (I'll probably be struck by lightning because as soon as she gave birth I painted my neice into baby Jesus too )
    Tracye Gibson, M. Photog.
    www.Tracye.smugmug.com
    Talent is the ability to do hard work in a consistently constructive direction over a long period of time" - James Whistler

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