Category Archives: Photography Awards & Competitions

Keep Photofusion Moving: support the crowdfunding campaign now

Anthony Carr, Big Bar Lake Ranch Revisited, 2014

Anthony Carr, Big Bar Lake Ranch Revisited, 2014

Today I want to point readers to a crowdfunding campaign for Photofusion photography centre in Brixton London that is very dear to my heart. To date, the campaign is currently at £28,185 of a target of £40,000 with 29 days but we still need to push for more as it’s an all-or-nothing-campaign and ends on 2 June at 16.25.

There have been 212 backers so far including renowned photographer Wolfgang Tillmans who pledged an amazing £1,500 last week. If the momentum keeps up at this rate Photofusion’s campaign should meet its target but we need to keep letting people know. So please share this post and the campaign link: Keep Photofusion Moving.

Today I’m going to Photofusion to be filmed on camera regarding why I think Photofusion is important. That’s easy to answer, particularly as I have been involved with the organisation in a variety of capacities over the last decade.

I judge the annual Hotshoe Photofusion award—now in its seventh year— and via this have supported a number of emerging photographers who are also members of Photofusion. The winners from 2010-2015 are:

Anthony Carr (2015)
Lucia Pizanni (2014)
Katerina Mudronova (2013)
Liane Lang (2012)
Chloe Sells (2011)
Odette England (2010)

Photofusion is a hub, a place to meet, to take risks, to experiment, to discuss and to create. It has a mentoring and professional programme, SELECT and has hosted numerous exhibitions by many, now well-known, photographers in the early days of their career. I have also delivered and chaired talks, have been writing for its website and use the darkroom and digital scanning facilities to create personal work.

Please spread the word, share this campaign and Keep Photofusion Moving.

LuciaPizanni

Impronta series, 2103 by Lucia Pizanni, Collodion wet plates on aluminium

 

 

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Photo Show: theprintspace Photovoice Awards London winner announced tomorrow

Grow Heathrow Jonathan Goldberg

Grow Heathrow © Jonathan Goldberg

As promised, a quick post to wish Jonathan Goldberg, a former Tri-Pod workshop participant, and Zoe Childerley the best of luck at theprintspace Photovoice Awards tomorrow.

JONATHAN GOLDBERG
Jonathan will be showing work at theprintspace Photovoice Awards exhibition of shortlisted photographers running from 21 August until 1 September at theprintspace gallery in London. The overall winner will be announced tomorrow (Thursday 20 August).

Of his series, Jonathan says: “There is a unique place close to Britain’s busiest airport called Grow Heathrow. What started as a site for activists protesting against runway expansion has evolved into a complex eco-village that is home to 20 or so people. They live off sustainable energy utilizing wind and solar power, and eat food that they have grown or skipped.”

Grow Heathrow

Grow Heathrow. © Jonathan Goldberg

“As I stepped through the gates at Grow Heathrow for the first time, I saw a utopian society in which money is of secondary importance, and the needs of the community are emphasized over individual requirements. Revisiting the site on many occasions since, however, I have become aware of the hardships of living in a place not blessed with central heating in winter, and lacking the comforts of a conventional modern lifestyle. Through my visits I have got to know some of the occupants and tried to document the lives of people that are determined to live in a way which challenges the norm.”

All print sales will raise funds for Photovoice.

Grow Heathrow

Grow Heathrow. © Jonathan Goldberg

Grow Heathrow

Grow Heathrow. © Jonathan Goldberg

Grow Heathrow

Grow Heathrow. © Jonathan Goldberg

Grow HeathrowGrow Heathrow

Grow Heathrow. © Jonathan Goldberg

Photo Show: theprintspace PhotoVoice Awards shortlisted series on show in London

Brother Paul, member of the Archulettaville Commune. Zoe Childerley.

Brother Paul, member of the Archulettaville Commune. Zoe Childerley.

It’s been a long time since I posted here. There are many reasons for this, both personal and professional, but I am still here and have some exciting news re: work coming up that I will share in the next couple of weeks. For now, I want to share some good news regarding a photographer who I have worked with through Tri-Pod, Zoe Chiderley. Also, good luck to Jonathan Goldberg, who also attended a Tri-Pod workshop, and has a series currently showing at Brighton station commissioned for the One Planet City organised in partnership with Fotodocument and the Brighton Photo Biennial 2014.

Hippy Days Festival. © Zoe Childerley

Hippy Days Festival. © Zoe Childerley

commune--10

Leon in his greenhouse, Libre Commune. © Zoe Childerley.

ZOE CHILDERLEY
Zoe will be showing work at theprintspace Photovoice Awards exhibition of shortlisted photographers running from 21 August until 1 September at theprintspace gallery in London. The overall winner will be announced next week on Thursday 20 August. The Commune series was produced during an artist residency in America. All print sales will raise funds for Photovoice.

commune--6

Betsy at home, Libre Commune. © Photo Zoe Childerley.

commune--8

Goats at the Shii Koeii Community. © Zoe Childerley.

The shortlist for theprintspace PhotoVoice Awards... |.pdf

Photo Competition: Visual artist Lucia Pizzani and filmmaker David Jackson win Hotshoe Photofusion Award 2014

Now in its fifth year, I was delighted to announce the winners of the Hotshoe Photofusion Award 2014 at the gallery last week (11 December) with a short comment on the work, which I have reproduced below. The winners are:

LuciaPizanni
Lucia Pizzani for her Impronta series 2013 of ink-jet prints derived from the wet-plate collodion process. The work is a hybrid of sculpture, performance and photography and engages with the idea of the chrysalis on a number of levels, including its physical form through the use of specially-made chrysalis costumes. This series of delicate and slightly bizarre black-and-white images recalls the style of 19th-century Victorian ethnographic portraiture and suggest women on the verge of emerging, as well as ideas of metamorphosis and transformation. (photo above © Lucia Pizzani)

Film Still_04 Film Still_03 Film Still_02
David Jackson, This Is Not My House is a short film of 14 minutes shot in Malta and centred on the filmmaker’s widowed father. Gentle and beautifully crafted, the film avoids the usual clichés and instead offers a series of tenderly stitched vignettes that give a sense of the now increasingly solitary life of his ageing father. At one point in the film there is a short exchange between father and son, who also share the same first name, that conveys so much about their relationship and a growing similarity in mannerism, posture and even dress. (film stills above © David Jackson)

The winner/s receive a feature (in this case I have interviewed the winners for a post next week) on http://www.hotshoeinternational.com, and a free annual magazine subscription. Previous winners received a feature in the magazine but since it has changed to a quarterly frequency, this is no longer the case.

Since I started judging the selection in 2010, there have also been changes in the way the award is organised. For the first two years, I judged the winner from a shortlisted selection of six photographers and visual artists on show at the gallery. Since 2012, Photofusion has organised a salon-style hang showing single images from its members and this year for Photofusion SALON/14 there were over 1200 images from 140 artists.

People often ask me about judging photo competitions and in an early post, Discovering Your Competitive Side, I talked about how I select work. This year, as in previous years, I asked Photofusion to send me a folder with all the entries stripped of the photographer’s name so that I only have a number for each entry, plus an artist statement and CV with the names removed. In my line of work, there is, inevitably, work that I may recognize, but that is the nature of photo competitions so I try to maintain as much parity in judging the work as I can.

I like to look at the work first, reflect on it, return to it, and see which images stay in my mind over a couple of days. I also read the artist statement once I have looked at the images, not before, as they can help anchor the work, point to conceptual aspects that may not be gleaned solely by looking at the work, and suggest points of investigation by the photographer. Lastly I look at the CV, although in most cases I do not refer to this at all. I am only interested in the work submitted and supporting statements or captions, it makes no difference to me whether someone studied at the Royal College of Art, or a lesser-known institution or whether the entrant is self-taught. For me, it is about the work, not the perceived pedigree.

I then whittled 100 folders of single images down to a longlist of around 20, for which I requested any further images by the photographer who was, at this stage, named. For those of you who are interested here is the longlist:

Wendy Aldiss; Valerie Bennett; Tom Broadbent; James Clark; Scarlett Crawford; CJ Everard;  Gabriella Fabrowska; Keith Greenouth; Robert Hackman; Grace Hardy; Esme Horne; Aron Klein-Barge; Lucy Levene; Emilia Moisio; Vincenzo Sassu; Heather Shuker; Emma Evelyn Speight; Nai Wen Hsu; Remy Whitling

Photo competitions report from Miranda Gavin’s talk at Photofusion Brixton

David_Titlow

David Titlow’s winning portrait, Konrad Lars Hastings Titlow, for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014

Today’s post focuses on entering photography competitions and is a report by photography graduate Jess Morris from my recent talk, Discovering Your Competitive Side, which took place at Photofusion in Brixton.

In keeping with the theme of the talk, this post opens with David Titlow’s winning portrait (Konrad Lars Hastings Titlow) from the prestigious Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014 which was announced last week. His portrait Konrad Lars Hastings Titlow was captured the morning after a large midsummer party in Rataryd, Sweden. It shows his baby son being introduced to a dog. He says: ‘Everyone was a bit hazy from the previous day′s excess – my girlfriend passed our son to the subdued revellers on the sofa – the composition and back light was so perfect that I had to capture the moment’.

This year the competition attracted over 4,000 submissions in the form of editorial, advertising and fine art prints; an exhibition of sixty shortlisted photographs including the four prize winners as well as the work of the winner of the John Kobal New Work Award, Hana Knizova (Portrait of Olivia Colman) can be seen until 22 February 2015.

David Titlow (b. 1963) is a London-based photographer working in fashion and advertising. He has exhibited widely and has been commissioned by numerous magazines and newspapers, including The Guardian, The Sunday Telegraph, Vice and Vanity Fair. Originally a musician from Halesworth in Suffolk, Titlow switched to photography in the early nineties and has since worked in the industry.

NPG x139974; Olivia Colman by Hana Knizova

Hana Knizova, Portrait of Olivia Colman. C-type colour print, 16 October 2014. 16 1/2 in. x 23 1/4 in. (418 mm x 592 mm) image size Commissioned, 2014

Miranda Gavin – Discovering your Competitive Side
Tuesday 16 September, Photofusion – Brixton

Jess Morris reports from the event and from her perspective as one of the audience.

As well as being a well-respected name in the photography world, Miranda Gavin, who is editor-at-large for Hotshoe, editor of Frame & Reference and The Roaming Eye, also has personal experience of being on the judging panel of photographic competitions.

This makes her an invaluable asset to the circle of freelance up-and-coming photographers trying their hand at entering the unknown, and often unfair, world of competitions. Brixton’s Photofusion invited her along to share her knowledge and advice with its members.

Miranda opened the talk with a quiz to spark audience participation, not to mention wake everyone up after a long day in the rat race. We split into small groups and chose one person to take note of our answers. Listed here are the questions she asked us, along with a selection of answers from around the room:

Why bother entering competitions?
E x p o s u r e
To raise your profile/Publicity/Elevation/cutting corners
Gives you a project/Target/Challenge/Makes you finish it
Contacts/Gain experience/Feedback
Tutoring
M o n e y £££££!

How do you find out about them?
Online/Mailing Lists/Repeat notifications from previous competitions
Word of mouth/Networking/University Alumni
Advertisements/Posters/Flyers/TV

Name the ones you have heard of/entered (in order of popularity):
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize
British Journal of Photography photo prizes
Photofusion’s AMPS annual photo prize
Terry O’Neill Photographic prize
Prix Pictet
Portrait Salon
Nikon competitions
World Press Photo
Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Sony World Photography Award
Landscape Photographer of the Year
Association of Photographers prizes
TRIBE

As well as listing some of the reasons for entering photography competitions, Miranda also urged us to note down the negative aspects and the flaws. The general consensus was as follows:

Work goes into the ether – with no explanation of where it has gone or who has seen it.

Costs – some competitions are charging an extortionate rate per photo for entering without any guarantee of the photograph being returned or properly looked after.

Lack of feedback – If you don’t get through to the final rounds or win, you at least want feedback from the judging panel on whether they liked certain aspects of your work, or what you could have improved on. If no reasons are given the disappointment is far greater.

No communication after payment is taken – This truly leaves a bitter taste and gets you thinking that they were only after your money in the first place, plus WHERE does the money in entry fees go?

Lack of clarity in criteria – You can’t be judged harshly for not ticking invisible boxes! It is not always clear.

Unfair judging – Often the judges have no artistic background whatsoever and are merely there because of sponsoring or circumstance; for example, the Taylor Wessing prize includes a member on the judging panel from the law firm sponsoring the prize.

Celebrity/already established winners – Seeing the same names, or same circles of winners, is neither promising or inspiring for prospective entrants.

The second half of the talk focused on an interesting topic, that of crowd funding, a platform many photographers are now using to get their work out there, as well as to fund work. Crowdfunding is the funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people via the Internet. One woman in the audience made the point that she tried raising £2,000 through crowdfunding to make a video. However, she found it problematic because she ended up having to put her own money in to reach the full amount which was misleading and defeated the object entirely. Some platforms only give you the money if you reach your full target.

The same woman also noted a positive aspect that it’s not just about the money, it’s also about raising awareness and appreciation of work or projects with followers and contributors, of whom she had gained plenty. Miranda brought up an example of a project that was crowdfunded successfully and managed to raise awareness of autism and in turn allowed the photographer to self publish a book. There were certainly pros and cons involved in equal measures, however, generally the feeling was that crowdfunding was an alternative method to entering competitions in terms of offering elevation, money, experience and networking, however, it required a lot more effort and time to achieve it.

Crowdfunding requires full time dedication during the campaign period (often of 90 days). However, as Miranda pointed out, TIME is a huge factor. It may be a more tangible way of achieving a goal with a clear objective, but photographers have to commit to it. For those who cannot dedicate themselves and the necessary time to crowdfunding, competitions are still an option.

It was time for the audience to turn the questions on Miranda, eager to find out about her personal judging experience of being on a panel and what information she could divulge about the dialogue that goes on behind the scenes. Miranda said that when judging work herself she prefers it if the names of entrants are stripped off the work, as well as from CVs and personal statements. This is so that she cannot be influenced by someone’s history, education or presence in the art world already. Anonymity is crucial.

In terms of information, Miranda explained how she likes to read any statements or  descriptions after looking at the image, and to test herself on how well she can read its meaning without one, however, in some cases the statement may be vital and a necessary component of the work. In terms of writing statements to accompany entries, Miranda said that a concise statement, or around 200 words, is enough and to bear in mind the audience reading the statement, so nothing too theoretically heavy or filled with jargon. If a theory is being referred to, or a quote is used, she likes to see the photographer demonstrate how it relates to the work, otherwise it is decoration.

LESS IS MORE: This is crucial to remember when choosing your final selection. Only submit your best shots.

BELIEVE IN YOUR WORK: The work you submit should also be work that you feel strongly about, perhaps a recent body of work that you are still passionate about and connected to as this will come across to the judging panel.

FIT THE CRITERIA: Make sure your work meets the criteria.

CHECK TERMS & CONDITIONS: Read the small print and beware of rights grabs.

LABELLING IS VITAL: The order of your series is important and how it is viewed by judges.

VARIETY OF SCREENS: Check your images on a range of screens if you are sending in an online file, find a balance that will work on most screens.

RESEARCH competitions and previous finalists and winners to see a range of styles and formats that are being accepted. This is not to copy them but to merely get an idea of whether your work could stand alongside some of them.

MOVING IMAGE WORK
Miranda also talked about the complications of submitting different mediums of work. Moving image artists need to be aware of lazy curation or lack of appropriate funds/space to show it. The whole piece can be mistranslated if it’s not shown appropriately and with the necessary settings. You have to be in control of how your work is shown otherwise it is almost pointless. How can you take control? The only way really is to always include guidelines on how you want it to be viewed and hope that they are suitably followed.

By the end of the talk and after giving a summary of the key areas covered, the audience seemed more enlightened on the subject and, possibly, more realistic about what they’re really getting when entering a photography competition. That’s not to say people were put off from doing so, but instead they were a little wiser about the process and better informed about the negative aspects. For the people who may enter their work after attending this talk, it’s fair to say that they would be doing so with somewhat of a better chance of succeeding than before, or at least better informed.