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what would you like to do at a camera club "without" competitions?
To sustain interest over the years, you'd have to think of so many different "things" to do - and repeat them a lot too.
Is "competition" the only way they can survive really? It gives them purpose, something to fill the schedule
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I once managed a "No photographer in their right mind would take this shot"
The only possible reply is "No person in their right mind would be a photographer!"
Quote: I have noticed in both Club and Interclub competitions that I can identify the photographer on many occasions by the look of their image alone. If I can do it the judges can to a greater extent which explains why the same people keep winning to the expense of other quality images ( not necessarily my own ). I am not saying it happens all the time but it devalues the taking part in competitions.
Having been in a Camera Club for decades I recognise what you say. In fact some photographers will enter several national Exhibitions so eventually a successful photograph may be recognised by later judges. The question is whether the judges are unconsciously influenced (i.e. this is a successful image or photographer so it must be the winner). In practice I do not think that this is generally true as most the top list judges are opinionated and confident (not a criticism as it goes with the job) and are thus less likely to be influenced even when they recognise photographs. Probably the most conclusive evidence is that the most successful photographers at a Club are almost certainly the most successful internationally where the judges will definitely not have heard of them. If you look at one individual competition, you can get some odd results but when you look at the performance of a photographer over a couple of years the best do stand out.
About 40% of my Club's entertainment is competitions so it is not all competitions. There are plenty of opportunities for learning new skills and techniques from workshops, sub groups, courses and photo shoots. When I first joined a Club in the 1980's members were very secretive about the techniques they used but this has disappeared since the digital age and anyone will tell you anything now.
Quote: Why so Competitive?
Cos the majority of them love the thought of being top man
We've just set up a new group in our town as we were all members of a club and were getting fed up with the monotony and lack of want to change. We are working on going out with the cameras or having an info/processing tip evening every other week and then going to the pub the following week with either prints or digital files and looking at and honestly critiquing each others work and passing on tips. Some members are still members of the original club and enjoy the competitions, but we enjoy going out more. Plus at the old club no one really wants to share any tips, it seems to be the thing to be secretive.
We also find a beer nicer than a cup of tea in a polystyrene cup.
Quote: ......We also find a beer nicer than a cup of tea in a polystyrene cup.
Around 28 years ago some of us done that as well. Mainly during the Winter, it was a local pub with a log fire and a basket meal ( scampi or chicken & chips ) .
Quote: Is it just photography or do artists' clubs feel the same need for competition, and if so, how do they judge a Rembrandt style picture against a Picasso?
Yes they do, but in a slightly different way.
The Paisley Artists group have an annual exhibition of members work where visitors vote on their favourite picture. The winner receives a £25 voucher and their work is featured on the front of the following years catalogue.
The Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts have an annual open exhibition with works submitted from artists throughout Scotland. These works are judged for a number of different prizes & awards which can range from cash awards up to £5000 through personal exhibitions at prestigious galleries to foreign travel bursaries for study abroad.
And in a way all art exhibitions like these are competitive since the pictures are for sale and the artists are competing with each other to extract hard earned money from the discerning buyers.
Interesting thread which goes to show that the one constant factor between people's views of camera clubs, competitions and judges is that they fall into a number of camps.
I've been a member of 2 clubs over the past 7 years (changing through a house move). When I started I thought I was a reasonably able photographer until I entered a few of the club's digital image competitions, which are easy for a beginner to enter, and generally got some very useful feedback which I noted and which helped me improve my general level of photography. Over the years I've entered some of the club, and inter-club comps and had varying degrees of success. I joined my current club this year and entered a few of the competitions more to post my credentials in the club (I tend to be a mouthy sod, so I thought it was only fair to put my money where my mouth was!) and happily won a few of the annual trophies but from now on I'll probably only enter the odd comp when the fancy takes me. Yes I'll be honest its nice to win a comp but its also nice to see your mates and newcomers doing well and especially when a previous judge's comments have been taken on board and a better version of a previously entered image does well. It can also do a lot to boost a photographer's self esteem. I know one member very well who tends to be a shy and retiring type, who many members dismissed or overlooked, but after they wiped the board in club comps on a few occasions, were both taken a damn site more seriously and were more prepared to voice their opinions! A good club judge will provide constructive criticism which I'd suggest is worth taking on board but if you don't like hearing any negative comments about your images then I'd suggest club comps aren't for you. However judges are only human and their skills, experience and prejudices vary accordingly.
On the negative side, I do agree that clubs can be too fixated on competitions and because of the way they tend to link to annual comps and federation comps and exhibitions can be quite front end loaded in a club's season. Personally, although I now have a pretty good idea of whether a club judge will like or dislike an image, I'd never take or create an image to win a club comp. I create images I want and then enter them and if the judge likes them great and if they don't "am I bovered?". Some camera club judges can be somewhat staid in their judging and this does create a tendency for similar types of images repeatedly tp do well. For example over the past few years there's been a vogue for edgy characters (Goths, Steampunks, etc.) composited onto a suitably atmospheric background (e.g. a church yard or graffiti covered wall), another current favourite are shots of greyhounds rushing headon towards the viewer. These were great when they first hit the scene but they are getting quite monotonous now.
At the end of the day though I believe club photography should be follow the old BBC dictum to "Inform, Educate and Entertain".
I have judged camera club competitions with my husband (who has different views on what makes a good shot from me - interesting) and am a member of a photo club where I enter pictures with mixed results. I also enter internationals - a rather dear way of giving oneself a pat on the back, but when it comes off, if you get into a respected international, a great feeling!!!! Overall, I think I am looking for other people to validate the views of the world I present in my pictures (if you look at my p/f you will see why I don't just say photos). If I were a photographer or artist by profession, people would 'vote' with hard cash, but as I am only a 'hobby' photographer, I have to seek approbation in other ways. If anyone shows me they rate me in any way, in a competition or otherwise, then I feel I have connected....
BTW when we don't have competitions we take pictures, look at pictures, talk about how to take pictures and about pictures we have seen and each others pictures ..... no problem finding other things to do, Ade.
I have never been a member of a club, and I don't know if there are any around here. However, if I'm a member of such a small minority, I must be wrong...right?
Quote: I have never been a member of a club, and I don't know if there are any around here.
Don't know if this might be near you, Denny?
Thanks CB. However, the guest speaker probably speaks with an annoying accent, and there's absolutely no mention of a dress code.
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