The Best Prints of 2017 – The Annual Print Competition Is Judged

(Thanks to Nigel Hazell for this report)
On Monday evening of 4th December the club had the judging for the Annual Print Competition. Although there are many competitions, each with their own rules, throughout the year, there are two competitions reserved for the end of the year where members can enter what they consider is their best work of the year, even if it has been entered for the other competitions. These are the Annual Digital Projected Image and the Annual Print Competitions. On that basis these can be seen as the “best of the best”. For some of us printers, this is the big one…  … it’s the culmination of a year’s work; processing, printing and perusing – then going back and repeating the whole business. Or that’s how it seems to be with me. 

And if the creation of a masterpiece in print is a challenge, then I guess, so is the judging, especially when the quality is high. Facing the task this evening was Stephen Dean LRPS and President of Pontefract Camera Club as well as a judge and lecturer for the Yorkshire Photographic Union. He had the weighty responsibility of commenting on every print submitted and sorting out the winners. He had had the prints for some time to pore over and sort out his comments. In this competition there are two categories – Applied and Open. Unlike the Digital Projected Image competition, this one places an extra demand on the photographer – that of printing to a high quality. Many a good image has been let down by poor printing so the pressure really is on. Producing a great print is not a straight forward business but I guess that’s why so many of us are addicted to it.

What a good evening this was with 16 images in the Applied section and 34 in the Open section. Stephen’s approach to the matter in hand was clear and straightforward; he was looking for the positives in each and every print as well as offering constructive criticism too. He felt that the overall standard was very high indeed.

In the Applied section very little, if any, post image capture processing is allowed and there are strict rules covering the subjects and even the naming of the image. The standard in the Applied was high and a full range of subjects was on show. Stephen found much to admire and was generous in his awards. In the end there had to be winners and receiving Commended were Michelle Howell for “Argentinian Ornate Horned Frog”, Peter Wells for “Shiek Zayed Mosque” and David Kershaw for “Thai Cruiser Butterfly (Vindula erota erota)”. One step up with Highly Commended was Sally Sallett for “Harvest Mouse on Poppy Seeds”. Now on to the top 3. In third place was was Nigel Hazell for “The Yellow Sitting Room, Holme Pierrepont Hall”, in second was Paul Watt for “Orytolagus Cuniculus” but the overall winner of the Applied section was David Kershaw with “Shield Bug”. Congratulations to all of them.

There were far more entries in the Open section where basically anything goes. There is no restriction on subject, treatment, processing or title so free reign is given to the creative talents of the entrants. Stephen was very conscientious in giving every single image a good and apposite critique. It was not easy to judge as the subjects covered just about everything – you name it, it was there. A much higher number of prints were on display in the Open section, so it was perhaps no surprise that there were plenty more certificates to be presented. Commended were Paul Wagstaff with “Ayla Rose”, Steve Wright with “Dahlia Delight”, Sally Sallett with “Karl & Teacup”, Paul Smith with “Lost in the Mist”, David Kershaw with “Lost Soul” and Jane Lazenby with “War of the Worlds”. Going one better Steve Wright also achieved a Highly Commended with “Ranthambore Lady” and Peter Wells with “Deja Vu”. Taking the top places in the Open Section this year were Bernard Todd in third place with “Hand That Work the Hammer”, Jane Lazenby  in second with “Chariot Rainstorm” and Sara Cremer claimed top spot with “Choppy Waters”. Well done everyone and thanks to Stephen Dean for what was a long and difficult task well done. You can see a gallery of the winners or with the rest of the annual competitions winners here.

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