subject matter. The more you get to know plants and gardens, the more you see that there are different angles and areas within them. A plant portrait or an abstract detail of a plant may require a very different type of photographer than one who can give a feeling of a garden with a wide-angle lens. They’re technically different and even professional garden photographers who are brilliant at macro shots can actually find a garden shot really quite challenging. That’s why we try and be as broad as possible for all those different interests within gardening; it’s about encompassing all of those different things people do when they’re outside. What kind of images do you like to see themost? I’ve got two kinds of favourites, one is the Young Photographer, the 11 to 18-year-old category, because the quality, especially this year, has just been immense. The graphic ability of some of these young photographers who not only have a brilliant eye for what makes a great shot but can also technically make it work is really, really impressive. The other one is the Celebrating Gardens category because no matter how hard you try to capture an atmosphere in a garden it is quite a challenge. I think people underestimate how hard it is to really capture a garden and there are few very good garden photographers out there who can get the composition, the lighting and the content right so that you feel you’re in that garden just from the photograph. But 80% of the time, people just don’t get it right. Do you see any trends across the images? In terms of gardening there are trends. A few years ago it was very much about big plants and a tropical jungle feel but you don’t see many of those in the Plants and Abstracts section because people aren’t growing them as much. In the last few years there seems to have been a lot more garden visiting so there are quite a lot more entries in the Celebrating Gardens category where people are just going to
Themore you get to knowplants and gardens, themore you see that there are different angles and areaswithin them
TOP LEFT RHS Young Photographer of the Year: Crow in flight by Catherine Sim. ABOVE RIGHT RHS Photographer of the Year: Matin d’hiver embrumé au Parc Botanique de Haute Bretagne by Alain Jouno. BELOW Seasons category winner: Winter at Wisley by Sarah Longes. BELOWRIGHT Under 11 first place: Leaf Canopy by Lara Cresswell.
Will there be an exhibition of the winning images? It varies each year; we are hoping to have an exhibition at one of the RHS gardens but the images are all up on the website. Are there any plans to develop the competition further? I’m just very happy that we keep on doing it whilst there is a demand from RHS members to do it. If we get to the stage when no one enters then maybe it’s time we should stop, but there’s absolutely no sign of that. The other thing we are always looking to develop is whether we can do a touring exhibition.
visit the garden for a day out in the summer. That’s been more popular in the last few years and we’ve had a better summer this year so we’ve had more entries in that area. The submissions reflect the gardening season and we respond to that. Is it a print or digital competition? In the last three years it went over to digital. When it was print, we used to get hundreds of boxes of images and spread them out in a room which was great, but the good thing with digital applications is that it equalises them. No matter how hard you try, if you get a small 7x5in print compared with a great big A3 print it does have an effect and you can’t work out sometimes if it’s the quality of the photo or the quality of the paper. Obviously having digital submissions equalises that as you can view them on a consistent medium.
π To find out more, go to www.rhs.org.uk/ Promotions/rhs-photo-competition.
Issue 15 | Photography News
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