Photography News Issue 47

Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

21

Competitions

Why did you decide to enter this competition? Partly because it was to be judged by Martin Parr whose photography I greatly admire. I like his approach to street photography which shows a sense of humour as well as a keen sense of social history. I also like the fact that Martin works in colour. Many street photographers prefer to work in monochrome. My ownurban photography is generally very colourful, though perversely this winning shot is largelymonochromatic. How did you capture your winning shot? The shot was taken outside Tate Modern duringtheimmersivefogsculptureperceived by the Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya earlier this year. I had no idea that this was taking place and only had my compact camera with me when I stumbled upon it. Members of the public were moving in and out of the fog quite rapidly as the fog swirled around them, and having no viewfinder added a sense of serendipity to the images I captured. The pigeonwas a real bonus. How did it feel to be announced as the winner? I was delighted. The excitement was mounting as one after the other shortlisted names were read out and prizes presented. Winning hasn’t changed the way I feel about my work but any acknowledgement acts as an incentive to do more photography and to look at different subject matter, to take more risks in the hope that something exciting will result from it. Do you have any advice for other photographers? I would encourage any photographer to put their work out there. Enter competitions regularly. It won’t always lead to the big prizes but it could lead to being shortlisted, to being acknowledged, and sometimes to being exhibited as a by-product. Winning is the icing on the cake. 1stplaceJenniferDowning vouchers for places four to ten.We promoted the company’s involvement with and support of our competitionwherever possible. Why did you decide to make this an international competition? It was an easy decision. We had the software available for online entry and itwas almostmore difficulttopreventinternationalentrythanitwas toallowit.Also,internationalentryincreasedthe base from which we could encourage entries. A larger entry meant more cash for the club. It also, however, meant more judging for Martin. We realised that street is a wonderfully international genre – giving the ability to a photographer to get to the very essence of a country and to illustrate its soul. It would have been foolish to exclude international entries. Indeed, following the success of this year’s event weplantomakeitaregular,annualcontestandto make theBeaconStreet competitionTHEannual international street competition and, with the correct packaging, promotion, and sponsorship support, to have it as well known a competition as the SonyWorldPhotographyAwards. What happened at the awards event? Aswell aswinningacameraordiscount voucher each of the top ten images was given a detailed Thewinner

critique byMartin. The awards night beganwith Martin giving his lecture. This was followed by Martin announcing his selections in reverse order. He then gave his critique. The winners were then called to the stage and awarded their prizes by Martin Parr, Ian Thompson (Beacon chairman), DamienDemolder andKevinWalker of Panasonic. What are your personal thoughts on the winning images? The winning images were great examples of the genre. Each quite different from the others and all with just a hint ofMartin about them. What did you learn through the process? We are really fortunate in the make-up of our committee and with the skills of the members who were involved. Following our Young Photographer competitions and the experience gained there, we knew we had the technical ability to host such a competition. We also knew we had the organisational skills to operate such a competition successfully. What we learned was that by combining this with Panasonic and its generous sponsorship alongwith the association of streetthatthisbrandbrought,wehadcreateda competition forwhich therewas an international hunger. 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. We will certainly be running the competition again next year, and our plans are to keep running it for some years to come. Howdidtheclubbenefitfromthecompetition? The Club benefited from such an activity in a number of ways. Firstly, financially. We charged for entry and therefore the club generated revenues. These monies go directly to the benefit of our members. Whether this is by our ability to purchase high-quality projection and computer facilities, studio lighting equipment, post-processing software for demonstration or in an ability to attract better, and quite oftenmore expensive, speakers to our Club nights. Secondly, by attracting more members. We have long had the notion that by increasing membership numberswe are able to keep individualmembers fee levels relatively low, yet still generate good revenues. Thus, again, we are in a position to spend on things which benefit our members. Furthermore, a steady stream of new members keeps fresh ideas coming into the club, alongwith new skills, attitudes and interests. If sufficient members would like to become involved in a new thing (and sufficient is quite a small number) Beacon will always try to provide 

A couple of the runner-up shots selected by photographer and judge Martin Parr. Opposite page: Diwali by Charles Ashton. Above: Sun’s Out by Tony Cook.

Above: Apocalypse by Jennifer Downing.

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