ADVICE TO OUR JUDGES
(adopted from PPA guidelines)
The greatest problem in judging any exhibition is the jurors themselves. It is not easy to gather together jurors who are artistically talented, open minded, fair, capable and efficient. You were selected because you have these qualities.
Consider the execution, interpretation of subject matter and style of each entry without relying on personal bias. Try to view each entry as the camera sees it. Examine each entry objectively. Do you have a liberal perception of what the maker has accomplished? When a new style is evident, its worth should be carefully weighed. Remember that creativity is one of the rarest of talents.
As judges you must first judge the grade level and then select an appropriate numerical score. Your meter reads from 100 to 0 and you must have the courage to utilize the entire range. Ask, “how far is this entry from being a EXCEPTIONAL photograph?” and grade it on that basis. Assume that each maker has the potential to create a great photograph and score from 100 down. Consider the total concept of each photograph. If it is well done, give it full credit. Let us not have our assessment reflect our over concern for minor flaws. Every photograph can be improved upon.
A contrived print misses its storytelling message. Don’t hesitate to give it a comparatively low score. An entry should be conceived and executed with such originality as to produce a meaningful, believable result. When the end product lacks reality and is an obviously contrived print, the juror should consider the entry for what it is.
Each entry should demonstrate the maker’s competence in combining the elements of composition, lighting, exposure, print quality, selection of background, center of interest, storytelling, balance, and tonal quality. Entries should be penalized for substandard print quality, presentation, retouching, or sloppy workmanship of any kind. These components are rather easy to judge and to agree upon. The more difficult areas are impact, creativity and originality, style, presentation, and handling of subject matter.
A photograph should be able to stand alone on its virtue and you must be able to see it for its intrinsic and not comparative worth. Consider the purpose of the photograph (such as catalog work). If the photograph is well done it should be so rated. Each juror should be flexible enough to listen to a fellow juror’s expression of opinion. Each juror’s opinion is important to the whole and to the members involved.
Please try to be brief and concise. But, do not hesitate to spend time where it is needed to effect a fair evaluation. To hurry on and not spend the moments necessary is without justification.
We expect ample room for a difference of opinion and it is inherently wrong to dominate the judging, voting either higher or lower than you feel just to nullify another juror’s vote.
We do encourage the makers to ask questions and solicit your comments after all the judging is completed but please do not discuss the photographs being judged until after the final awards have been selected. In addition, please do not reveal who or what images have won awards. We keep this information secret until the banquet so that the winners can be suitably surprised as they receive these accolades from their fellow members.