Having left the UK on August 7th for Australia, I now find myself over half way through this workshop tour, thus far visiting the State Capitals – Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane and Perth. The theme, ‘Mind & Heart’ has focussed on the psychological and ethical facets of the evaluation of images and the language used by jurors in expressing their evaluative thoughts to a ‘live’ audience. All too often, what we may say as judges, can be harshly misinterpreted by our fellow jurors, let alone by the eager audience awaiting much needed guidance in the possible remedies to faults within images that if actioned, may result in more successful, and we hope, award winning entries.
Indeed Australia operates an ‘Award’ system whereby images are indeed rewarded for being outstandingly innovative and creative by awarding Gold and Gold Distinctions. At the same time it acknowledges excellence in professional practice with flashes of inspiration and creativity, reinforcing and substantiating the very highest consistent standards seen in the world, by granting Silver and Silver Distinctions to images of particular merit. The system is fair and offers sincere encouragement to those aspiring to higher degrees of achievement.
The issue faced universally is how to recognise images that are simply good professional practice and explain to an entire industry that what you may produce day in and day out, may not be ‘AWARD WINNING PHOTOGRAPHY’. I hope that by continuing to work in cooperation with so many professional bodies that the education of those who fit into this bracket continues and evolves to promote far higher standards. It is a laudable and daunting goal, as trainers and educators walk the thinnest of tightropes with so many who are inextricably emotionally attached to their images.