YPU Prints Reassessed – with surprising results

The prints from the Yorkshire Photographic Union (YPU) are on tour and on Monday 28th January arrived at Wakefield from Scarborough. The normal practice is just to display them for all to see but this year we adopted a different approach. The idea came from David Kershaw and he acted as MC for the evening.

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He introduced the event by explaining the differences between the judging methods of the Royal Photographic Society and the PAGB of which the YPU is a part. The RPS have a team of six and may take twenty minutes to assess a panel (or group) of prints. The YPU uses just 3 judges who take a few seconds to look at a single print and then give it a score. It has to be so rapid as they have hundreds to get through. As David pointed out, the scores can vary quite dramatically between judging at different events and, as usual, not everyone agrees with the judges, His idea was to select 3 members of the club who would sit at the front and score each print between 1 and 5 and then this would be compared wit the score given by the YPU judges.

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The judging started and it was a light-hearted affair with many, including David, chipping in to providing comments/observations. It was illuminating to see the differences between the YPU score and the one from our own members and to hear some of the reasons given for the score. There was added piquancy when the print belonged to a member of the audience which occurred more than once. After the score was given in “Strictly” style by holding up a number, the print was put up on the stands for later perusal. When the stands were full everyone had a break and could go up close to the prints and check whether they thought the score was appropriate in their eyes. After the break it was on again with the second batch of prints.

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It all made for a light but informative evening. The scores generated lots of conversations and debates about what made a good image. Truly it was found that “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”. Thank you for coming up with the idea David and to the “judges” who attempted the daunting task of assessing a print in less than 10 seconds! Try it yourself sometime and see how hard it can be.

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