Lock down for some brought about new ideas and activities, with opportunities to shoot that winning image for the Gunmaker Photographic Competition 2021. Entries have now been judged by the Master and Wardens, with expert advice from resident professional, Liveryman Paul Fievez.
Entries were invited in the following categories:
1. Your lock down lift; something that has countered the Covid Blues
2. Your daily exercise; for example a town or countryside walk
3. Your best shooting shot; something from your archive perhaps
As ‘Technical Assistant’ to the judges, Paul mused about the competition:
“I do so look forward to our Clerk, Adrian Mundin’s annual email. ‘Would I’ – he politely wonders – ‘have some time spare to look at some photos, and prepare a few notes, in case the judges need a little technical assistance or information, when judging the annual Gunmaker’s Company Photographic Competition.’
“Would I have some spare time? Try keeping me away! It has become an annual pleasure for me to ‘assist’ the judges, on the technical aspects of the numerous pictures which are entered for our competition, and I am pleased to note that the standards become higher every year.
“A few days after the initial email, a file of images arrive in my in-box. And I have the pleasure of looking at so many interesting pictures. Some are essentially snapshots. Happy memories of a family event, a shoot, or a day out to a new and interesting part of the countryside, not previously visited. Others, clearly have had much technical knowledge, and creative thinking added to the simple act of ‘clicking the button.’
“All are fascinating to look at, it is always a wonderful experience actually a privilege, to see how other people view the world around us. I do not envy the judges, in their task of selecting the winners in each category!
“Do I have any complaints? Any moans, or groans? Well yes! As a former professional photographer, to me, looking at a situation, visualising the final image, asking myself ‘Would this look good in this, or that magazine, and how would an editor use the picture?’ is second nature.
“My pet gripe, is simply that people stand too far back! Sometimes entrants to our competition want to include everything. The background, the subject, the view, the dog, and so much more. Yes, it all looks wonderful at the moment you press the shutter button, but sometimes the result is disappointing. What looked wonderful at the time, suddenly is full of unwanted clutter…. all of which can detract from the final picture.
“So what advice can I give? Essentially the same advice I would give myself. Be selective. Move closer, choose a different angle, look for items cluttering up the background, or (in the background), the classic telegraph pole, emerging at a slight angle from someone’s head. Cut out the clutter!
“Although now retired, as a former professional photographer, our Clerk, and successive Masters have (quite rightly) barred me from entering the competition! They tell me that I am just not up to standard…….
“This year, whilst sitting in on the judges Zoom conference, I made a comment, the reply to which was….. ‘So next year you will produce a portfolio of three images to show us all how it should be done!’
“Well, sitting on my ‘collectables shelf’ is a 1920’s classic press camera. A Speed Graphic. Possibly many of you have seen such cameras used in films, and on television. So my challenge to myself, is to clean it up, check that it is working, and take some pictures with it!
“Next year, if the judges and our Clerk deem them worthy of being included in a report or round-up of the competition, you can all have the fun of telling me what I am doing wrong! Meanwhile, enjoy every moment that you can, and don’t forget to carry a camera with you.