The PAGB Inter-Club Championships for projections, together with its sister event for prints (October), are major indicators of standards and trends in club photography. Taking place at the theatre in the Arts Centre at Warwick University every July it is also a meeting place for the nation’s club photographers, with over 100 clubs represented.
Each of the 15 photographic Federations can elect two clubs to represent them and the top 8 clubs from the previous year can also compete. This year the L&CPU had 4 clubs in the field; North Cheshire and Poulton-le-Fylde (selected through their success in the L&CPU Club Annuals) and Chorley and Wigan 10 because they were in the top 8 last year.
Marking is done by three judges and this year they were Phil Charnock FRPS MFIAP, Graham Hodgkiss ARPS MPAGB APAGB AFIAP and Tony Patter ARPS DPAGB EFIAP.
The competition starts with two rounds where all 38 clubs show 8 images each. The totals for these two rounds serve one purpose only: to decide whether clubs go on to compete for the “second division” PLATE TROPHY or the “first division” CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY (between the top 8 preliminary round scorers).
At the end of the day unfortunately Wigan 10 could not quite pull off another win but took second. The winners, Smethwick, had a good lead and it was interesting to see that their entries featured a number of portraits of the same (“new”) model, a smattering of landscapes, some “re-enactment” pictures and, if I recall correctly, only one natural history picture (these are limited by the rules anyway). Chorley did well, securing another place in the Championship bouts next year. I felt really disappointed for North-Cheshire who did very well in the opening rounds but failed by 2 points to have a crack at the Championship Trophy. Poulton too acquitted themselves well. Congratulations to them all.
The technical quality of the images used was very good indeed, rarely could you have faulted one for being of the wrong brightness, or displaying any unpleasant artefacts. Hefty application of effects like tone-mapping was rarely seen. Peter Cheetham (our genial host) remarked that PDIs had now surpassed slides in quality – I didn’t hear anyone disagree with that. Incredible illusion isn’t it? These massive images impress us yet they are only 1400 x 1050 pixels!
Well, what’s trending then?
The out-and-out-altered-reality-multi-image montages seem to have dropped from assured top spot. “People-pictures” were an overwhelming majority (natural history is limited by the rules) but I was pleased with the number of landscapes that did very well, especially the more elemental ones. Sports pictures were fairly sparse but successful. There were some still life images that did well. Those who delight in the single-shot image would have been pleased with the number of them that gained 15. Marking though, was high, with few 9s, only one 8(?) and, at the other end, many more 15s than usual.
The Best Image of the Championships went to a landscape; Two Silhouettes, this was a Smethwick entry. The Judges Choices were; Victorious Mo Farah (Harish Chavda, Arden), Waiting for the Countryside (a mono photograph by Jeannine King, Zen, shown below) and Me and Mao (by P.Vine? Stafford).
A great day was had by all. Thanks to Peter Cheetham and his PAGB team for another very successful event.
Peter was careful to warn all attendees that seating for the PAGB Inter-Club Print Championships in October at Edge Hill (Ormskirk) is limited and he advised getting tickets NOW. As possessor of tickets numbers 1,2,3,4 and 5 I can hand on this advice with alacrity!