This year Crewe PS hosted the competition, which pays homage to the quality monochrome prints which have always been the mainstay of photographic. Monochrome was regarded by all as the only medium for serious photography until probably the 70s when improved chemistry and the work of photographers like William Eggleston gave colour prints more credence. Although colour was difficult to process some club workers feared it taking the place of their beloved monochrome. One such person was Alan Challinor, who created this competition to help to keep mono alive.
Although we are grateful to Alan (who died in 1991) for giving us the chance to show off our printing skills he need not have feared the demise of mono, which is alive and well, thriving even, in every sphere of photography.
Five local clubs compete (Alsager CC, Crewe PS, Mid-Cheshire CC, Nantwich CC and Sandbach PS) and the competition is referred to as the Five Towns Monochrome Print Competition.
On Thursday night (30 Nov 2017) the highly respected judge Jane Lines MPAGB LRPS BPE5 presided over the competition and kept to the spirit of it in paying particular attention to print quality. A quality print is, of course, of little interest if what it shows us is doesn’t capture the heart and mind and Jane seemed to find the right balance as she commented on the pictures.
In the end Alsager CC and Nantwich PS tied for first place and that had me scurrying for the rule book to check that Nantwich could be declared the winners because they had also won the Best Print Award.
Above you can see Jane making the presentation of the Best Print trophy to David Luker and the print itself; Underneath the Arches.
The full results can be seen HERE
As a festive treat for all of our members I’m asking you all to enjoy sharing your favourite photos with fellow members and say why you like them. There’s no time limit so feel free to go through your archives and dig out those special memories. Hopefully it’ll start off an interesting discussion.
If you wanted to know how your pictures would perform in a national or international club competition who better to ask than our judge tonight Rob Millin? He has more top distinctions than anyone I know; MFIAP, FBPE, MPSA – the number of acceptances needed to achieve these awards is just staggering.
His choice of winners in each category appears above; authors Ian Whiston, Ralph Browes and John Royle, for Nature, General and Mono respectively. Unusually, the mono section was not so well supported.
With a relatively small field of 60+ images we never felt under pressure over timing, and so we could sit back and enjoy the photographs.
The results can be found here.
As we enter a brand new month we have a brand new theme to challenge our members. The theme for November is ‘Leading Lines’ which nicely follows on from October’s compositional theme of balance. So show our members how you can use different techniques to lead the viewer a long an invigorating path to you main subject. Don’t have too many obstacles on the route and make it flow naturally. Show us what you can do and we can discuss your image.
Our prints got off to a fine start on Thursday 26 Oct with many excellent prints on show. The judge was Diana Magor MPSA FIAP/b CPAGB LRPS BPE3 who, together with husband Brian is a great fan of the Photographic Society of America competitions. These are worldwide, as are the FIAP supported ones, but offer an interesting alternative, attracting, through their categories, perhaps a wider range of work. Diana and Brian had just returned from the USA where they had attended a PSA conference.
The three category winners are seen above; Martin McGing’s Rhythmic Gymnast captures a beautiful moment of poise, whilst Paul Hill’s monochrome Cwmorthin Quarry positively chills you to the bone and Bob Brown’s Emperor Dragonfly egg laying give us three for one, with a couple of damselflies in attendance.
Ian is well known to us at Crewe; having judged and lectured numerous times over the years. He helped us to apply for our first Lottery Grant in 2003(?) which enabled us to get ahead of the crowd with a projector, laptop and a copy of Photoshop.
This week (19/10/17) he visited us with a small box of his prints and entertained us with reminiscences and tips – just what was promised! Although many of the prints were produced in the days of film the comments about taking them were still just as relevant in the digital realm of today. It made an interesting evening. In contrast to a talk centred on older work Ian is presently working on one about the use of drones in photography, which will be available in 2018. I hope our syllabus secretary is taking note.
It was clear as soon as you walked into the room – the Novice Cup had been successful in drawing in new visitors. The Novice Cup had been intended to get the interest of people who do not usually get involved in entering competitions. The term Novice is problematic – it meant novices to Federation competitions rather than photography.
In addition to the Novice Cup competition there were four people lined up to speak to us and the general theme was the APMs – the awards given by the PAGB for photographic achievement. The talks were very enjoyable, Noel Patterson, Conor Molloy, Rob Hockney and Phil Barber told of their experiences in applying for these awards. While we heard the speakers, Gwen and Phil Charnock and Rob Millin were judging the prints.
Things got exciting for Crewe PS when we were able to view the prints (just mono first) and we discovered that our Bob Brown had gained a commendation. Later, after the colour prints had been scored we found, to our delight, that Bob had repeated his success.
At the end of a heady day we heard the club scores and Crewe had 3rd place in colour and 6th overall. We must have been below 10th place in the mono, but hopefully only just!
The individual print marks were…click here..
Our pitch at the Artsfest was looking pretty good; plenty of excellent work on display, including a montage of work from everyone who entered competitions in 2017. John and Meg are seen discussing the much admired “Preacher” by our secretary Peter Robinson. All the prints drew compliments from visitors.
Martin helped us out on Friday and I share his concern that showing such super work may intimidate beginners. It is always a possibility but I hope our constant reference to our open-minded approach, and our respect for everyone’s work will allay any concerns. A member of only a couple of week’s standing was helping us with the stall.
Thanks to Jo, Paul, Meg, Martin and Dolores for helping over the two days. We met some interesting people and it was a pleasure to be part of the art and music which enriched this event..
To make a special occasion of something is always fun and it was exciting to be staging this event at the Crewe Vagrants rather than our Lifestyle Centre home.
The entries were really superbly presented and almost all very strong, competitive images – a pleasure to view. In the end Macclesfield CC took the Trophy (a particularly handsome one) and the small spread of marks underlined the quality of the entries.
Macclesfield’s new Chairman/President Kevin Blake was there to receive the award from judge Bob Dennis APAGB CPAGB AFIAP BPE4.
Kevin has written “Just wanted to drop you a note and say a big thank you on behalf of
Macclesfield Camera Club for last night’s competition . Regardless of
the fact we won we had a great evening and it was nice to be welcomed so
warmly. Thanks also to Ian and the rest of the team for running the evening.”
We called in at the exhibition at the Middleport Pottery in Burslem yesterday to have a look at Janey Devine’s exhibition “Our Heritage, Your Future”.
Janey comes from Southampton and is a member of the Focus Group. There are a small number of beautifully presented photos capturing the remnants of the Potteries’ past and a short video also features her pictures and has an optimistic tone about the City of Culture bid. There are a few of Janey’s more abstract works for sale.
It finishes on 22 October and, whilst admission to the Museum is £3 or £4 the exhibition is in a separate building and is free.
Janey is running an excursion on 14 October – see front page.
There was a book on display showing the work of the Focus Group – one member told of his work with old printing processes in the darkroom and how he had worked hard to reproduce them now digitally. He had a number of interesting projects too including travels though Italy.