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Started by: William Raymond

AGS Photographic Competition Rules - should they be reviewed?

Go to latest contribution by Jon Evans, 09 November 2009, 13:11. Go to bottom of this page.

Contribution from William Raymond 04 October 2009, 11:40top / bottom of page

Would the judges and other interested members agree that the following suggestions would enhance the integrity of the photographic competition:

[a] Entry should be restricted to members who are amateur photographers who do not earn a living in this field of work

[b] If no suitable entries meeting the entry criteria in Class 4 are received then no awards should be made. The Bald Eagle wich won this class in 2008 and featured in last month's bulletin is neither wild, in a mountain landscape or with associated alpine plants. In fact we are humorously informed that the bird is tethered! .... presumably in an Alpine Zoo?

Contribution from Jon Evans 08 October 2009, 13:22top / bottom of page


I'm sorry to see you have had so little response to this, and I'm glad you raised the issues.

I am afraid I have to disagree with your first proposal. It would be very difficult to know where to draw the line between amateur photographers and professionals; many amateur photographers earn small amounts from the publication of occasional pictures.

In any case I feel strongly that such a competition should be open to all members of the society, whatever their profession, and that it would be restrictions to this which would damage the integrity of the competition. We do not exclude professional nurserymen from entering plants at AGS Shows.

Regarding the Bald Eagle in Class Four, I agree that it contravenes the wording of the class definition, since a tethered bird cannot really be said to be 'in the wild'. However, it does give the appearance of being in a wild landscape of rocks and snow, and there is no sign of the tether on the photo. Personally, I was suspicious of the image when I first saw it, before reading the article, because I found the situation of the bird seemed a bit artificial and unnatural, and it seemed implausible that a photographer could approach a wild bird so closely. Nevertheless, the picture does capture a strong impression of what the bird would be like in the wild.

If one wants to be scrupulous about the judging of the competition, then it would be necessary to check and validate the location details of each photograph claiming to be in the wild (in classes 1, 2 and 4) before judging. There have been arguments before about photographs of plants taken in alpine botanic gardens; are these in the wild or in cultivation ? Personally, I don't feel this check is necessary, and am happy to leave the judging to the discretion of those who organise the competition.

I would be very sorry to see Class Four abandoned because of a lack of suitable entries, and am happy to see a slight slackening of the rules rather than this eventuality. I feel that the presence of images of fauna enlivens the competition and the issue of the bulletin in which the results are published.

My own personal complaint about the competition is that I would like to see the return of the class for a Garden View or Scene, which was abandoned a while back for exactly this reason. There are now no classes for this type of image either in this competition, or in the artistic section of shows; there are classes in the online show, which are well supported, but in that case the judges are judging the quality of the garden rather than the photograph.

Contribution from Jon Evans 09 November 2009, 13:11top / bottom of page

Just one addition to this discussion; I am reliably informed that the eagle Harry photographed was in fact a wild bird, taken in the wild, although relatively tame in that it was used to scavenging around humans. The suggestion that it was tethered was intended as a joke.

Does anyone else have any views about the rules for this competition, or indeed those for the artistic section at shows ?

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