The Maurice Ashwin Trophy for portraits is a print competition which has been with us for many years now but declining entries threatened its continuation a little while back and a PDI (Projected Digital Image) portrait competition was proposed. The projection competition became the Howard Edwards Trophy when Tom and Mary Seaton donated a trophy in memory of Howard, a highly regarded senior club member who was a well-known studio portraitist.
With both prints and PDIs as media and more members interested in photographing people the competitions have blossomed and this year we had over 80 entries.
Debate has smoldered on our Forum about what exactly a portrait is and, for 2016-17, we will introduce a simple definition, that it is a study of a person. Some may interpret this as meaning studio photography but there is no desire to limit treatment in that way – which was the reason for avoiding a definition before. In fact some will not realise that Howard spent a good deal of time photographing street scenes and people outdoors as well as in his studio work.
To turn to this year’s competition we had Bill Preston from Ellesmere Port PS over to do the judging and he gave our varied field a very careful look over. His comments often revealed how very small changes might change our perception of the photograph for the better. Bill will be judging the competition again next year.
In the end Robert Brown won the Maurice Ashwin Trophy with his portrait of a “Tough Mudder”, Sebastian, surely the pleasing colours and proud stance of the subject were in the judge’s mind, and Peter Hrebien, a club newcomer but experienced club photographer took the Howard Edwards Trophy with his “Thy Last Drop”. The mystery of Peter’s title and the well lit faces of the group members was revealed; they were a band of that name and they each hold an LED in their cupped hands!