Photography News 15



BEFORE THE JUDGE BarbieLindsay, MPAGB Each issue, a respected judge or exhibition selector shares their thoughts and experiences. This month, Barbie Lindsay gives us her insight into the process

MEET THE JUDGE Barbie Lindsay MPAGB, FBPE, EFIAP/s: Barbie lives in Ipswich and has always loved photography, getting her first camera at the age of 11, but became a serious amateur photographer when she was in her late twenties. She has been a member of four camera clubs over a period of 30 years. member of the very successful Beyond Group. Years in photography: 30 Favourite camera: Nikon D800. But in reality I would love to own the Canon EOS-1D Home club: I am a founder X as I used to be a Canon user before digital. Favourite photo accessory: Macro ringflash Favourite be Marco Pozzi and Colin Summers plus past masters such as Robert Mapplethorpe and Bob Carlos Clarke. Favourite photographic subjects: It depends on the season. In the summer you’ll find me buried amongst the stinging nettles photographing insects, in the winter more time is spent creating fantasy images and at other times I love photographing people, the stranger the better. Awardswon: Hundreds over the years ranging from gold medals to painted cows and miners’ lamps. photographers: Too numerous to list, but at the top there has to

Words by Barbie Lindsay

been improved before once again finishing off with another positive if possible, so that the photographer concerned doesn’t go away feeling humiliated and disheartened. I’m not convinced that there is such a thing as a terrible picture, it could just be a love/hate type image. Just because I love it, it doesn’t mean to say that all judges will agree. Another judge may have hated it for the very same reasons that I loved it. Apart from the obvious technical failures, which have diminished greatly over the years with the advent of digital, judging is a personal opinion and therefore subjective, neither is right or wrong. Most of the time club judges are treated well. I know sometimes clubs fold or move premises but it would be nice to be informed of this. More than once we have turned up to an empty building or a Weight Watchers group who are now using the premises. On one occasion I received a reminder on headed notepaper with the address of the club’s venue, which had actually burnt down the year before. Apparently they didn’t want to waste money on buying new headed paper and forgot to mention it.

I became a judge almost by accident as I went along to a judges’ workshop with a couple of others to keep them company. I had no intentions of becoming a judge and thought it would be an interesting experience to see how a judge was trained. Because of that, I suppose I was more relaxed than most and spoke from the heart rather than what I thought they wanted to hear. I was stunned when I received a letter inviting me onto the C-list panel. That was over 22 years ago. After becoming a PAGB judge in 2005, I now judge internationally. I love looking at photographs and analysing why they work for me (or not, in some cases). I find the easiest way to judge is to look at the work presented and to try to find out what the photographer saw when they pressed that shutter – why they took the shot and even more importantly why they thought it was worthy of putting it up before a judge. It is a brave thing to do at club level, to have a judge critique your picture so publicly. So I will always try to start off positively, before mentioning the faults. I will then try to give advice on how the picture could have

So my biggest gripe is with those clubs who don’t treat judges with respect. Little things like not bothering to introduce you properly. I had one club who didn’t do any introduction at all, after reading their club notices they just sat down, didn’t even acknowledge that I was there or announce what the evening was about. I love judging exhibitions most of all, as I get to see some of the very best work and in large quantities. I don’t have to talk about why images do not make the grade but instead I can award work which I feel deserves special recognition. I know that judges can’t be expected to be a jack of all trades, but I do wish that some would know their limitations and turn down adjudications if they lack any knowledge of the subject they’re assessing. I am thinking of audiovisuals for example, creative and nature. If they don’t like all this ‘arty stuff’ or know the difference between a duck and a pigeon, then they shouldn’t be judging them. But I’m surprised at how many are willing to give it a go and then announce afterwards that they don’t understand that sort of stuff! Photography should be fun, and judges can add or take away that fun. So a judge has an important job and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

I find the easiest way to judge is to look at thework presented and try to find out what the photographer sawwhen they pressed that shutter

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Have you seen a photographic judge at work who you’d like to see profiled in Photography News ? If so please drop us a line to with the judge’s name and, if possible, their contact details. What do you think?

Issue 15 | Photography News

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