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"New Horizons" Winner DPI Monochrome Abstract January 2019

The more we looked, the more we saw!

Judge Geoff Wood gives an insight into the world of the abstract image.
What distinguished our Competition evening on Thursday from many others was the amount that members learned about the subject “Abstract” from the amiable judge Geoff Wood. He skilfully wove his judgements into constructive feedback, often reinforcing the messages given earlier in the year, when as guest speaker, he spoke about ”Abstraction- the art of seeing”. Careful to define the difference between abstraction and abstract, he emphasised the fact that abstract images challenge the popular view of photography, and needing to know what an abstract image actually is, or how it was constructed, is less important that whether it works for its audience. Whilst making it clear that this type of image is often influenced by very personal preferences and their appeal is lodged firmly in the eye of the beholder, Geoff ensured through his careful explanations we understood the specific reasons for his final choices.

Abstract images do not often feature in our members’ repertoires, so this was unfamiliar territory for many! This was a fact appreciated by Geoff, who commented warmly on the efforts made and the quality of the images. He had crystal clear success criteria for the genre, and was looking for shape, form and pattern, often linking some of the successful images to the work of artists Mondrian and Man Ray, an American fashion photographer working in the 1890s, who gave his name to early camera-less endeavours, called Rayogrammes. Geoff was appreciative of the many interesting images submitted by members, but explained clearly why, whilst some could not strictly defined as abstract, in other contexts they might be more successful. His comments were very well received and helped us make sense of the work on display. Under his expert guidance, the more we looked, the more we saw! We certainly understood more fully the John Berger quote he used previously in his talk ; “Seeing comes before words”, and it was a much more visually aware audience that was looking beyond the obvious surface features of the images on display, when they enthusiastically celebrated the successes of members, at the end of what had been a very enjoyable evening.

First place in the Colour section went to Suzanne Ladd for her “Shapley Paintwork”, with Graham Nicholls’ “Oil on Water” in second place, and Jenny Short’s “In Glass Houses” in third.

Jenny Short won the monochrome section with “New Horizons” . Jill Toman took 2nd and 3rd places respectively with “Taj Mahal Waves” and “Blind Shadows”.

These images, together with those that were Highly Commended and Commended can be viewed in the Gallery section of our website.

Next week sees another competitive evening when distinguished photographer, Beryl Heaton will be judging our April Competition featuring prints whose titles depict “The Letter M”.

Jenny Short 12.04.19