Photo News – Sony World Photography Awards 2012 announces Honorary Jury for 2012 international photo competition

“Judging artwork can be challenging experience, and one that may often appear arbitrary and subjective to an outside audience,” says Susan Bright, this year’s overall chair. “However, I can confirm it’s a rigorous and thoughtful process. I am looking forward to the spending time looking, thinking, arguing and ultimately selecting photographs for next year’s awards because of the esteemed group of veteran colleagues on my panel this year. Experiencing such a number of photographs is also an exciting opportunity to get a glimpse into the current concerns and strategies used by contemporary photographers and become fully immersed in work that we may not otherwise have a chance to see.”

The World Photo Organisation (WPO) announces the Honorary Jury of the Sony World Photography Awards, fast becoming one of the biggest international photo competitions. The Honorary Jury judges the Professional Competition which “invites entries from the world’s leading photographers and serious enthusiasts”.

Entry is free, however, all photographs must have been taken in 2011. Deadline is 4 January 2012, so there’s heaps of time to enter. Photographers may enter either the Professional or Open competition, it is not possible to enter both.

The competition will be chaired overall by writer and photo critic, Susan Bright. All jury members are selected from the World Photographic Academy, a group of international industry experts, collectively advising and supporting the WPO. The name in bold for each panel will act as chair.

Judging of the Commercial Categories
Rebecca Lewis (US) Vice-President and Senior Agent for Art+Commerce
James Reid (UK) Photography Director of Wallpaper*
Prabuddha Dasgupta (India) Photographer

Judging of the Photojournalism & Documentary Categories
Claudia Hinterseer (Netherlands) Managing Director and co-owner of NOOR – an international photo agency and foundation
Jodi Bieber (South Africa) Photographer
Jon Jones (UK) Director of Photography Sunday Times Magazine

Judging of the Fine Art Categories
Susan Bright (US) Curator & Writer
Michael Benson (UK) Director, Prix Pictet
Shizuka Yokomizo (Japan) Photographer

Following the category selection the judges select one overall winner, who will be named L’Iris d’Or/ Sony World Photography Awards Professional Photographer of the Year at a ceremony in London on 26 April 2012.

The Student Focus Jury is chosen from selected Academy members:
Carl de Keyser (Belgium) – Photographer and Co-Founder & Director of the XYZ Photography Gallery
Sarah Toplis (UK) – Commissioning Editor for Young Tate
Virginia Morrison (US) – Executive Director of the Society for Photographic Education.

The 3D Award and Youth Competition, which are both new for this year, will be judged by WPO and Sony’s digital imaging team.  The Moving Image Award will be judged by a specialised jury, knowledgeable in both photography and video, who will be announced online later this month.

The WPO website is “the online meeting place for new and established photographers, has been enhanced for the 2012 competition.  It now includes an improved online gallery with over 120,000 images, community’s area and countdown to events, as well as featuring a news section and comprehensive information about the Awards, its categories and key dates”.

Now that’s all the PR puff and stuff, later some thoughts on the nature of competitions, especially in terms of how possible conflicts of interest are addressed and dealt with. This is something I recently asked the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize PR people about – with no reply, so far. As understand it, there was a commissioning editor on the judging panel who had commissioned a portrait by one of the photographer’s who submitted work. I’ve also wondered about personal relationships and how that is dealt with, say you are a great friend, or the partner of someone who enters. I’ve yet to hear from anyone at the National Portrait Gallery as to exactly what people do in these circumstances, all I have is what I’ve heard in passing and that’s just hearsay.

The photo/visual arts world is not huge, there are small circles within circles, and wheels within wheels. I’m sure the judging process is, as Bright says, rigorous, but it would be good to know what the official line is in these cases. Any thoughts?

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