Photography News Issue 47

Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

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Competitions

Beacon Camera Club ran an international street photography competition, which received over 500 entries and was judged by Martin Parr. We caught up with press secretary Trevor Bell and the top three winners to find out more about the competition Beacon International Street Photography Competition

The Judge: MartinParr

How long have you been judging photography competitions for? Do you prefer to judge street images or are you happy to judge images regardless of the genre? On and off I’ve been doing it for over 20 years. I get invited to many more than I can actually do, I do maybe do one a year and that’s it. I don’t have a preference as to genre: I have views on everything, anything you put in front of me I’ll be able to tell you what I think is a better photograph, no problem. Why do you think photography competitions are important? What role do they play for not just photographers, but the world also? They highlight the opportunity to see good pictures and also it gives something back, because inevitably there’s going to be a prize. For me it’s not the be all and end all, but competitions like World Press Photo of the Year have a role to play. There’s a whole network of competitions around. How did Beacon Camera Club approach you about judging the competition and why did you decide on getting involved? It was all part of the package they put together for my lecture, so I did it on the back of that and I thought the quality was pretty good. I enjoyed looking through images and finding some good ones. What do you look for in a winning image? Just why it makes a good picture! Don’t ask me what that is; it’s taken me over 50 years to work that out and I can’t tell you what is, but I know it when I see it. What was it about Jennifer Downing’s Apocalypse image that made it the winning shot for you? That was a good picture on the street and it had real atmosphere, it was a great opportunity and she photographed it well and it just came together and told a story. When judging competitions do you ever find yourself learning something new? I’m always seeing what people have done and what possibilities are around so of course, you’re on a constant learning curve. What advice would you give to photographers entering photography competitions? Take better pictures, it’s that simple.

Words by Jemma Dodd

Panasonic is the sponsor: how did you get the company involved and how did it support the competition? We have an excellent relationship with Damien Demolder who runs street workshops and also some for Panasonic. We initially contacted him, knowing his relationship with the brand, and the team there was delighted to be involved. We knew already that its kit is very well suited to street photography. Panasonic has a similar view and is verykeen tohave its equipment associated with street photography; the involvement with our competition provided all with benefits. Panasonic provided us with cameras for the top three places (Lumix GH5M, Lumix GX8M, Lumix GX80K) as well as 20% discount

How did the idea for the international street photography competition come about? We previously ran the Worcestershire Young Photographer of the Year competition for over six years. In doing so we needed to develop an online entry software system that entries could be uploaded to, thus saving the young photographers from the costs of printing. We had previously considered operating a salon competition but had arrived at the opinion that the market was currently saturated. We knewwe wanted to develop our competition involvement, we had the infrastructure sorted, saw that street as a genre was not very well supported and decided, as we had Martin Parr this year, to trial such a competition.

Why did you decide to get Martin Parr as a judge and how did this come about? Martin Parr was actually invited to be our speaker at the 2017 Beacon Lecture. Given his photography background it was an obvious question to ask him: ‘would you please judge our competition?’. We were delighted when he agreed. Beacon has four accredited MCPF judges and initially we suggested that these judges could be used to select a shortlist from the entries, fromwhichMartinwould thenselect his top ten. Generously, Martin was willing to reviewthe entire set of images himself. Thus, the judging and those winners were selected totally by Martin, with no outside assistance being involved or needed.

An entry total of 500 may not be vast, but as the first attempt of a little camera club from Malvern, we did not think it was at all bad”

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