Last Night – the Nan Borthwick and Peter Rourke Salvers competitions

Last night we had the honour of hosting local photographer Chas Sievewright as our external judge for the ‘two print competitions in one evening’ night of the season.

Chas started out by noting that critique is an important part of developing as a photographer – you’ll never learn from friends and family, because they’ll just look at your pictures and say ‘yes, that’s nice’, and that’s not enough to really help you grow.

Another important aspect to growth is learning your craft in your chosen genres with people who have experience to share. As a veteran of courses in Street, Long Exposure, and other genres, Chas knows that a good teacher can save you a lot of time identifying your mistakes and pointing out how to learn from them.

The Peter Rourke Salver had 29 entries, so we looked at these in the first part of the evening. This is for prints ‘showing photographic artistic styles, … moving away from merely representational / documentary styles’.

In his commentary, Chas talked us through how he read each image, pointing out aspects of style, composition, exposure, technique, and choice of paper too – all the while generous and encouraging in his observations.

As each print left the judging easel it was set for display around the room, to let members take a closer look during the break. Now is a chance to notice the finer details that can be missed when seen from a distance.

The Nan Borthwick Salver is for ‘a set of three prints which should show a clear intention of a connecting theme of style, content or both’. With a smaller field, of 10 entries, we looked at this after the break, and finished in time to take a closer look at the Sets, around the room, which of course hadn’t been put out for display at half time.

Our thanks go to Chas for the time he spent with all the prints in the two weeks between hand-in and judging, revisiting each and refining his opinions. His familiarity with every image shone through in his relaxed and knowledgable delivery, which, combined with the pleasure of viewing such a selection of entries, made for a wonderful evening.

As always, the top five entries in each competition are featured on our Gallery pages.

Thanks too to everyone who came early and stayed late to help set up and dismantle our bamboo print stands.