CBRE UPOTY Awards – Chairman’s views

imagesI’d like to share some questions and answers in relation to my participation as Chairman of Judges of the Worldwide CBRE Urban Photographer of the Year Awards or UPOTY for short….




  1. Do you have a favourite photographer?

Not really although who wouldn’t be impressed with artists like Seb Salgado et al. Looking backwards I’ve always admired the simplicity and honesty of Irving Penn.

  1. Why do you like their work?

Salgado as a documentary photographer applies his distinctive processing style adding continuity of presentation while Penn was a commensurate lighting technician who emphasised the mastery of natural, directional light.

  1. What is it you enjoy about the UPOTY competition?

It’s uniquely defined brief that focuses the mind with singularity. Cities at work can be interpreted in so many ways and asks the question – what is work and requires a fundamental difference from observation ‘travel’ photography.

  1. Do you have a favourite camera?

My favourite camera? The one between my ears that enables me to conceptualise, analyse, assess and create. As for the mechanics, give me any camera as it’s just a tool.

  1. Do you have a favourite city? What is it?

I have always loved the ancient cities of this world but M’dina on Malta would be right up there.

  1. Why do you like that city so much.

The history and culture within its high, fortified walls. To me it’s a bastion of culture and not simply an exquisite walled city with centuries of stories to tell.

  1. What have you noticed that has changed in cities in your lifetime?

Overcrowding! As our world continues to overpopulate, as an image maker I feel forced to watch people more than the environments we inhabit.

  1. What do you think has stayed the same in cities during your life?

This is a difficult one. I see so little that has stayed the same in a modern city. Take Dubai for instance. It’s a constant metamorphosis that even in its tender years continues to sweep away the old in favour of the new. That’s why I love our ancient cities where modern architecture has been forced to harmonise wherever possible with the new.


For further information and to enter UPOTY 2015


International Judging and Scoring Systems in Photography – Part 16 – “Photographic Technique”

PART 16 on the subject of Technical Excellence

9. Photographic Technique

“Is the approach used to create the image. Printing, lighting, posing, ‘digital negative’ exposure, film choice (If used), digital output to file, paper selection and more are part of the technique applied to an image.”

This at first view appears to be a duplication of the ‘Technical Excellence’ section but should be viewed as a more complete approach that just like ‘Creativity & Style’, distinguishes one image maker from another. Application of chosen techniques must be viewed as appropriate to the outcome or success of the image.

International Judging and Scoring Systems in Photography – Part 15 – “Technical Excellence”

PART 15 on the subject of Technical Excellence

8. Technical excellence

This element is all about ‘Camera Craft’ or those essential skills required to produce ‘Professional’ standard images. All of those things we took for granted in the days of film photography and before the advent of ‘Auto Everything’.

  • Is it sharp? (*where it needs to be)
  • Is there clear evidence that the artist has used the compositional advantages of the 3:2/4:3/ 1:1 proportion if presented full frame?
  • Is the ‘digital negative’ clearly properly exposed?

All things we took for granted as image makers in the days of film.

When it comes to a physical print, has the artist taken responsibility for the outcome by delivering a properly colour managed file, selecting the appropriate surface and mounts?

*This phrase I have heard many times and has been used as both a positive and negative ‘argument’ in respect of an image. I’ll discuss this issue in a separate article sometime soon!