September 21: Meredith Cantor-Feller
As a visual artist critiquing images, I look for balance between execution and creativity. I want to see the content first. When craftsmanship is first observed, it is often due to a flaw drawing our attention away from the image. If content is observed first, execution in craftsmanship can help support the creativity of a piece. Images that resonate with me most often follow the rule of thirds, create balance, and allow beauty and intrigue without isolation.
October 19: Sarah Cross
Statement: Photography has long been my ideal form of personal expression. My process is meticulous, obsessive, and quiet. I work with a range of photographic media, including 4x5” color negatives, digital manipulation, and gum bichromate printing to create photographs, which although large in physical presence are meant to express small invitations to reverie. I find process cathartic and can spend a great deal of time constructing an image in front of the camera, in the computer or in the printing process. In addition to process, I am highly drawn to light. I am fascinated by the way in which it can transform a place or person, create a sense of atmosphere or emotion. I believe in having full control over my photographic technique, but also believe in allowing the feeling or idea behind the image to direct whether or not I follow traditional technical expectations.
November 16: Steven Brandt
Statement: When offering a critique, I always look for the positive qualities of a print. Every photograph has something to offer. Many times I simply enjoy the moment a photographer has captured; how long I enjoy that moment usually indicates how much impact a photograph has on me. I then try to analyze why an image is appealing and what might improve the image. In a competition print, among other things, I look for originality, design, and technical execution.
December 21: JW Johnston
Statement: A strong image connects with me on an emotional level. And for that to happen, the image is usually an eloquent reflection of a photographer’s vision, created by employing the technical in service to the aesthetic. ... Some images make great first impressions, only to fade upon closer scrutiny. Subtle, soft-spoken images might grow in impact after repeated viewings. That’s why I prefer multiple viewings whenever possible. ... So what do I look for when judging photographs? First, the Technical: proper exposure, highlight and shadow detail appropriate for the the scene, focus, control of camera movement (camera shake?), effective depth of field, and post-processing. Processing that draws attention to itself is a distraction that diminishes what might have been a great original image. Second, Aesthetics: Composition is crucial. How well has a photographer “designed” a scene within the frame? Is there a visual path? Are there leading lines? Does the image have a sense of motion? Is there a sense of balance within an image? If it’s called for, does the photographer make use of the rule of thirds? (I prefer the term ‘consideration of thirds.’) How well do the elements in a scene - including warm and cool colors - relate to one another? If the image is monochrome, how well has the photographer-controlled contrast and tonal range in terms of capturing or creating mood or atmosphere? ... I usually respond well to uniqueness of subject or unique treatment of a common subject. As a photographer with a growing appreciation of beauty within “the everyday,” I have a soft spot for images that make the ordinary look extraordinary or, as John Updike would put it, give “the mundane its beautiful due.”
January 17 (Tuesday): Neil Lawner
Statement: The success of a photograph depends on many factors, both esthetic and technical which I consider when evaluating it in a competition. (1) Does the subject matter conform to the theme of the competition? (2) Does it evoke in me an emotional, intellectual or aesthetic impact? (3) Does it tell a story or pose a question? (4) Is the composition/design strong and does it bring the viewer’s eye to the what the photographer intended? (5) Does the style of the image convey the personality of the photographer? (6) Does it entertain? (7) Does it display originality? (8) Are the colors and contrast appropriate for the subject? (9) Does it try to evoke humor or juxtaposition? (10) Are the technical elements, focus, exposure, depth of field, OK?
Theme: Street Photography
Street photography is a genre that records everyday life in a public place. It captures spontaneous moments of people in a candid state. These images bring up a specific feeling, story or idea. Street photography does not need to feature people within the frame. It can focus on traces left by humanity that say something about life.
February 15: Bruce Strong
March 15: Chris Morse
Statement: What is it that I am looking for in this abstract competition? I find it somewhat hard to explain, to put my finger on it; to explain abstract in concrete terms, which I think is the very essence of abstraction.......In this competition I am looking for abstract images; not surreal images with recognizable elements, collages of various recognizable subjects, or discordant still lifes with odd, mismatched objects. I am looking for outstanding compositions of form, texture, color, movement, and patterns that are not figurative that spark the imagination and start a conversation.
It is acceptable to create an image that includes recognizable portions, but in such a way as to predominately emphasize its abstract nature and obscure and overpower, at least at first glance, the recognizable source (s). Movement, double exposures, layering, filters etc. are all fair play. Let the fun begin! Let's see some images with impact that really stimulate. Show me some mystery, some innovation, some work that evokes some emotion, curiosity and wonder!
Abstract images are conceived or imagined outside of reality. When you view an abstract image you do not see anything immediately recognizable or discernible. Images in this genre are suggestive and mystifying. Visual satisfaction comes from the manipulation and composition of lines, curves, colors, textures, geometrical forms, light and their relationships to, and interaction with one another.
April 19: Kyle Keener
May 17: Mike Greenlar
Statement: What makes a quality image? It has to sing and dance. It has to have harmony. All the moons have to line up. No antlers coming out of heads please. It can be so simple or have all the layers working at the same time. It can make one laugh or cry or cry out in indignation. To quote a friend, “a quality image is the closest thing we have to a time machine.”
Theme: Macro Photography
Macro photography is all about showcasing a subject larger than it is in real life. Macro is different from close-up photography which means shooting the subject from a short distance. Macros can capture details not visible with the naked eye. Macro photography generally requires a 1:1 or higher ratio between the object image that you are photographing and the real object. What this means is that if you are photographing a bee that is 1 inch in size, this bee will appear as 1 inch or greater on your camera’s sensor. If the object image is smaller than the real object, this will then be categorized as close up photography.
June 7: Rick Boysen
Statement: I’m looking for photographs that make me feel… Maybe it's a good feeling, maybe it’s bad, but passion is what I want to feel when viewing a photograph. My favorite shots are usually the ones that reach inside me and do something… do anything… make me laugh, cry, get mad, or just appreciate the beauty of life… and if I stop and take notice of a shot, well, it’s usually because it made me feel. I think it’s a little ironic, considering all my technical skill and knowledge, that I tend to judge photos based on emotion, not just technical prowess… I’d rather view a poorly exposed and grainy, slightly blurry photo that conveys passion and feeling, than a technically perfect one that makes me feel… nothing.