Portrait Competitions

Forums Crewe PS Business Portrait Competitions

This topic contains 19 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Ian McNab Ian McNab 1 year, 7 months ago.

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  • #11584
    Profile photo of John Royle
    ajroyle
    Keymaster

    As we get near to the end of the year and these two comps come up I honestly have to check myself whether we really do allow use of the images from our main comps. I know we have had newcomers who blink incredulously at the prospect.

    Of course we have had some really super portraits this year and it would be weird if one of them were to be denied the accolade of a win in one of our Portrait competitions.

    We could stop allowing things already used, that would allow entries to be used in league comps the following year. A subtle difference, I know, but it would provide a little more interest at the end of the season.

    What do you think?

     

    #11585
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    There’s some merit in the idea of the portrait comp being new work, not pictures already used for competitions earlier in the year. But would the fact that the portrait comp is late in the season cause a problem as member’s stock of work dwindles and has not yet been replenished over the summer?

    However, for me, the more important concern is that the pictures in portrait competitions are becoming indistinguishable from pictures in the general competitions whose main subject is people. One give-away is the fanciful and abstract titles – ‘Concentration’; ‘A windy day’; etc – of the sort that are usually assigned to ‘general’ pictures. In contrast, shouldn’t a portrait properly have the name of the person depicted: ‘King Henry VIII‘; ‘Antonio Martelli, Knight of Malta‘; ‘Igor Stravinsky‘; or ‘Boo and his rabbit‘?

    At the very least, a portrait of an anonymous person should depict that person as themselves, as we see in Brandon Stanton’s series ‘Humans of New York’ or Peter Zelewski’s series ‘People of Soho’.

    Indeed, to be a portrait, even a picture of an actor should surely depict the person as themselves, not in a role, as in Andy Gotts’s portrait of Al Pacino.

    Rather than reviewing whether the portrait competitions should comprise old or new work, we should perhaps more importantly be concerned about whether or not the entries should be portraits in any meaningful sense.

     

    #11586
    Profile photo of John Royle
    ajroyle
    Keymaster

    If we did make it straight portraits only I think we would have a small field.

     

    No, as it is we almost may as well just invent a scoring formula based on the success of the existing entries on our league and annual comps and donate the trophies accordingly. This would save an evening and about £30.

     

    Making it new images only but not changing the rules for the other comps would mean we can see some new work at the end if the year. Members would then be Be to use the pictures again next year if they wished to. I take the point about new images but I don’t see a shortage on Flickr.

    #11589
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    If we continue to have these competitions for what are essentially ‘General’ pictures, with the only proviso that the main subject is a person, and we make it a ‘new work only’ show, it looks to be drifting towards a revamped PDI KO!

    Why not go the whole hog? Scrap the increasingly unconvincing ‘portrait’ title, and have two end-of-year general competitions (on the same evening!) for new work – prints and PDIs. But get a judge in to give points or awards, rather than running it as a member-voted knock out. And at the end of the evening, award the current portrait cups to the highest-scoring picture of a person in each medium (though these pictures may not have won the overall competition.)

    If we wanted to constrain the content a bit more, make these general competitions in which the subjects of the pictures must be people – but don’t limit it any more than that: no talk of ‘portraits’. (You’ll recall that Arnold Newman disliked his work being described as ‘portraiture’, and preferred to describe it himself as ‘pictures of people’.)

     

    #11590
    Profile photo of John Royle
    ajroyle
    Keymaster

    What constitutes a portrait may provide interesting material for an intellectual discussion but we all have a reasonable working idea of what it means in club terms.

    We were concerned at one time that the MA would not get enough support if we used new material but running the HE alongside has solved that. If we keep the meaning of portrait pretty wide that will also keep entries up.

    I am simply trying to make the competition a bit more interesting for the end of the year.

    #11591
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    Of course, it is what it is: a pair of competitions (print and PDIs) for pictures of people. (Calling it that would help newcomers, who wouldn’t be mislead – as I was in my first year – by the ‘Portraits’ title. But since established club members know what the double competition is really about, without a change of title, perhaps newcomers aren’t so important.)

    And in that case, why not just ask the AGM whether the club should do a ‘trial & review’ next season to see if members find a ‘new work only’ version more interesting? The vote will tell us whether members are interested in a change; and if they are, the following year’s trial, with a ‘review’ vote at the subsequent AGM, will decide the matter.

    And doing this via the AGM will give a more accurate idea than a forum discussion between you and me that’s only read, if at all, by a handful of club members! 😉

     

    #11592
    Profile photo of John Royle
    ajroyle
    Keymaster

    HEP = 30 new, 18 this season, 4 from earlier times

    MA= 12 new, 10 from current season.  (You would expect this given the cost of printing).

    Some are re-works, but I reckon that is pretty good.

    Introducing a 50% new rule would clearly not affect many of us.

     

    #11593
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    Not sure I understand your statistics – are you saying that about 50% of entries in the comps (both for prints and PDIs) are already ‘new’ work that’s not been used in the current year’s other competitions?

    If that’s the case, is there much reason for raising the idea of changing the rules? (Suggestions for change seem automatically to stir up opposition where none previously existed! 😉 )

     

    #11594
    Profile photo of John Royle
    ajroyle
    Keymaster

    Most have submitted a good number of new images but we cannot rely on that. I think we should start with the rule that at least 50% of a members images submitted are new to CPS. They would still be able to use then subsequently in league comps.

    This should not present a problem for anyone and perhaps members would be prepared to go further.

    #11595
    Profile photo of wbaxter
    wbaxter
    Participant

    Having read the above discussion. I am of the opinion that both ‘Portrait’ (people) competitions should be new work, the entrant being able to use the entries in the following years League competitions. If you would like a proposal for the AGM  I am happy to do this. The fact that I personally have an ocean of new portrait work couldn’t possibly be effecting my view!

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Profile photo of wbaxter wbaxter.
    #11597
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    Wallace >>> Haha! If the rules change, you’ll have to go to Venice (and Tutbury?) every Spring to stock up! 😉

    #11598
    Profile photo of wbaxter
    wbaxter
    Participant

    Not a bad idea Ian

    #11599
    Profile photo of Martin McGing
    Martin McGing
    Participant

    I would have no objection if our Portrait competitions in 2017 were uniquely for new work.

    #11601
    Profile photo of Peter Robinson
    Peter Robinson
    Keymaster

    I agree that it would be a good idea to have new work in the Portrait competition with the provision that you can use it in the following season’s league’s competitions. I think the Portrait competition is a bit special being named after two highly regarded former members and should treated differently. Having new work will make it more interesting and should encourage member to create something a bit special for this unique competition.
    Regarding the other debate about what is a true portrait, I’m in the camp that a portrait is a picture of a person.

    #11604
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    Peter >>> Despite John’s preference against intellectual discussion here, I can’t let your last remark pass without a question. 😉

    Supposing (for a moment) that portraits are pictures of people (though Stubb’s, who painted some famous animal portraits, might object!), is it true that all pictures of people are portraits?

    And if it isn’t, what’s the difference? 😉

    (I ask, only because, when photographers take over categories from art history – landscape, still life, portrait, etc – it’s worth considering how they are using these terms which have an established connotation in painting.)

    And, just for a bit more entertainment, a portrait in painting no longer needs to be a visual depiction. For example, here’s Picasso’s portrait of the photographer Lee Miller:

    which shows her exterior – colourful, sociable (smiling), vibrant and exciting (if sometimes spikey – see the hands) – but also points to a deep and ominous stabbed-through darkness within; which is about as good a real depiction of Miller as you can get.

    Now, about portraits…

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