Photo competitions - true or false

adamzadamz Posts: 842Moderator
edited February 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
I was browsing though the World Press Photo 2013 winners and my conclusion is only one: are pictures any more important to the judges or they give the prizes on a put a hand in a ball and draw one winner. Take a look at the winning photo in the nature category and You will understand my point of view. http://www.worldpressphoto.org/awards/2013/nature/christian-ziegler?gallery=6096
If you are still not convinced about my theory take a look at the 2nd prize winner in nature.
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Comments

  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Well, some folks have all their taste in their mouth. I think the judge's name might have been Franz Ziegler.....not certain though :))
    Msmoto, mod
  • adamzadamz Posts: 842Moderator
    msmoto - I understand that the taste may be different among some ppl but c'm there's a point between art and everything else. moreover, that's not the first world renowned competition that is, delicately speaking, so questionable when it comes to judge choices.
    I guess that's way I'm so consistent of not posting my pictures to photo competitions.
  • jjdarlingjjdarling Posts: 59Member
    I've also never submitted my photos to a competition, because they're so inherently subjective. When I used to brew beer I submitted some to local competitions and never won a thing. I'm not saying I deserved to win anything, but it was so obvious that in the absence of metrics it's all politics, so why compete?

    I put my photos online, some people like them, some people don't. I get my personal validation elsewhere.
    www.jjdarling.com
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    If you look at the Jury, they are all photographers
    who IMHO make hopeless judges
    ;)
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    I agree with the thoughs above regarding the purely subjective nature of photo contest judging. I recently decided not to enter a contest here in South Florida but decided I'd keep in touch with the contest to see the finalists and winner. The themes were supposed to include lifestyle, landmarks, nature, and weather. Well the photos that were submitted included all of those subjects but of the 5 finalists 1 was of a child pulling a boogie-board out of the surf, 1 of a child walking along the beach with a surfboard, 1 of a child blowing bubbles, and 2 more that were not as good as many that were not chosen (IMO). So I happily decided the judges were on a vibe that wouldn't have been in line with my subnissions anyway. Very interesting.
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Wow....Let me say that again, Wow. Interesting on the choices for winners nature for sure. Caged monkeys was good. I clicked back through the other 300 some winners and there were some great images, but many seemed below average to me. They all are "news" photos and few are ever "set-up" are are just for the coverage that seem to get it. I kind of wonder if getty, corbis, and the other outlets do not allow their images to be used, thus the choice pool become small.

    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    LMFAO. What a joke...I'm with your Adamz. I think they are all smoking some of that medical marijuana and trowing darts at the wall. What a waste of my bandwidth going to that site.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Adam...the name of the judge...Ziegler..same as the winner. I have seen so many contest winners that remind me of what Gerhard Bakker said in the 1960's...."they tried so hard to be different they forgot to be good."

    My impression of these contests is like on 500px....you "friend" all the people you can so they look at your photos, then vote....a popularity contest, not a real competition..

    Msmoto, mod
  • adamzadamz Posts: 842Moderator
    THANK YOU, that I'm not the only one who thinks this way. Apart from this, have You seen the current trend in photo competitions (nature as I'm not familiar with other ones). More and more images are taken either in captivity (zoo) or in some private game resort. like the NGM 2012 tiger image. sure it's an outstanding photo w/o a doubt, but it's a captive tiger who lives in zoo. same over here in 2nd prize stories (nature) - zoo.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Yes, I agree...to have animals photographed in the wild compared to those in captivity...makes little sense to me. Like hunters who go to fields where they release game so the hunter can shoot it....

    This summer I hope to capture some Pronghorns in Colorado. This may be a several day venture in itself. But, they will be wild, I will capture them on their terms, and the effort will be about twenty times that of a zoo venue.

    Oh well....
    Msmoto, mod
  • rschnaiblerschnaible Posts: 308Member
    Wow....Let me say that again, Wow. Interesting on the choices for winners nature for sure. Caged monkeys was good. I clicked back through the other 300 some winners and there were some great images, but many seemed below average to me. They all are "news" photos and few are ever "set-up" are are just for the coverage that seem to get it. I kind of wonder if getty, corbis, and the other outlets do not allow their images to be used, thus the choice pool become small.

    Well said TTJ...... It was interesting to view the collection...
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    OK, just a note...the photo contest at the NAIAS...was a popularity contest on how many times a photo was viewed. And, the first photos entered, were the ones folks viewed the most....Mine were entered on page four in each category, where only about 20 folks got to.

    So, who is upset....not me...I figured it would be just like Adam described.....maybe I am a little upset as some of the garbage that was chosen....yikes.
    Msmoto, mod
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,098Member
    THANK YOU, that I'm not the only one who thinks this way. Apart from this, have You seen the current trend in photo competitions (nature as I'm not familiar with other ones). More and more images are taken either in captivity (zoo) or in some private game resort. like the NGM 2012 tiger image. sure it's an outstanding photo w/o a doubt, but it's a captive tiger who lives in zoo. same over here in 2nd prize stories (nature) - zoo.
    It is a disturbing trend no doubt. I take most of my bird shots at a bird sanctuary, but none of them are captive, it is purely natural habitat set aside to keep development from completely destroying all the coastal areas where bird stop along their migration routes.

    The only place I pit my images against others for judgement is at the local camera club, and even that drives me batty sometimes.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    OK, just a note...the photo contest at the NAIAS...was a popularity contest on how many times a photo was viewed. And, the first photos entered, were the ones folks viewed the most....Mine were entered on page four in each category, where only about 20 folks got to.

    So, who is upset....not me...I figured it would be just like Adam described.....maybe I am a little upset as some of the garbage that was chosen....yikes.
    That's how it is judged? I'm going to take a picture of a blue naked midget transvestite with a red beard standing at the end of a bar drinking out of a horn and post that. I'll win for sure then!

    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • adamzadamz Posts: 842Moderator
    @tao - would love to see that picture :) LOL
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited February 2013
    We discuss our photo's, which are printed and set in a 50 x 40 pass-partoute, two or three times a month.Our club has a portret-, an architecture-, a landscape- and a night photography group. The only thing I always see is how subjective the comments are. For example the portret group members make portrets for a very looooong time, so they are a little (understatement) rusty, didn't keep, but they (think) know everything about portret photography, So I always see the same portrets, very boring. The younger members always disagree and try to come throught, not a chance (till now) because there is always an old member in the selection commission. OK we have more younger members now, but the change is slow.

    We had a nationwide amateur contest and 3 Judge had to find the best 3 photo's out of 1700 (Holland isn't big) in 2 days. I thought about it how I should do that. When you see the winners, you cry, when you read the comments why these are chosen, you cry a lot harder.

    I became a member of the photoclub only to hear what somebody else, who knows a lot of photography, see my photo's and I learned the last years. There are things I don't see on my photo's.

    The only thing for me to send photo's to a main contest is that you are a professional to get a high rating and want to spread your name around the globe to earn more money.

    This is not my case, I'am from '42 and just have a lot of fun with my photography and still want to make the best photo ever :) and the only Judge is me, never a contest, money isn't involved.

    I see unbeleivable, super and average photo's here on the PAD. I saw photo's from you, who comment on this topic and you all know how to make photo's, which are interesting and people stop to look, there is a lot of knowledge behind.

    Send your photo's to a contest and you give the judgement to .........., who knows.

    When the Judge hate red beards and don't drink, you are last.

    Post edited by [Deleted User] on
    Those who say it can't be done, should not interrupt those doing it!
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,327Member
    edited February 2013
    I too have been disappointed in the images I see winning photo contests in the last 10 years (it seemed much better 15 years ago). We all think we are (or wish to be) artists to some extent) and we are (to some extent). Yet, there are lots and lots of artists whose work is about one tenth as good as they think it is (some friends come readily to mind and I have spend hundreds of dollars buying some of their work to be supportive but I really don't want to even hang it in my house). I also see much false/incorrect/inaccurate (IMH0) praise on PAD. If fact, I think sometimes PAD praise is a gimmick (I will say your images are great if you say mine are great). So I think PAD is as "corrupt" as any photo contest. Don't be offended. It is helpful to realize that great images can go without praise, even on PAD, and some images praised on PAD are worse than the ones you posted on PAD which were not praised. PAD is no more accurate than those inaccurate photo contests.

    Yes, we all have a vision and all want recognition for our skill but very few of use will ever receive it. Most of us have to be satisfied if we can develop the technical skill to produce the photo we saw in our mind before we ever tripped the shutter or if we can effectuate a request from a client to produce what they want. The photo below is an example. Personally, I think it is stupid to dress up dogs but some people think it is cute. Recently the owners of these dogs wanted them photographed dressed up in red for Valentine's Day so I complied. Now the owners think this photo is so great it should win contests. They are completely wrong. It is a stupid, foolish photo. But they are very happen to see their vision achieved. So I was successful and I have to validate myself that way. You can successfully produce a stupid photo, if that is what the client wants! But it is not "art."

    DSC_0775
    Post edited by donaldejose on
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    @ donaldejose

    Ah, ha...you have posted the photo of the judges themselves...great undercover work... Do they vote by barks, tail wags? Or, maybe the winner is the one who slips them a few treats....yes...
    Msmoto, mod
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,327Member
    :)) Agreed! Might as well be the judges of many competitions!
  • YetibuddhaYetibuddha Posts: 388Member
    Well, I like PAD, and if some of the positive comments are a bit overdone that is ok, as it encourages people o go out an photograph more. Other sites feature incredibly negative, and sometimes nasty, comments. I don't find that useful, helpful or encouraging. What I like here, more than on a competition site, is a sense of community and shared desire to do better. And no competitions for me, for the reasons stated above. And Donald thank you for the expose on the judges!
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,117Member


    This is not my case, I'am from '42 and just have a lot of fun with my photography and still want to make the best photo ever :) and the only Judge is me, never a contest, money isn't involved.

    I see unbeleivable, super and average photo's here on the PAD. I saw photo's from you, who comment on this topic and you all know how to make photo's, which are interesting and people stop to look, there is a lot of knowledge behind.

    Send your photo's to a contest and you give the judgement to .........., who knows.

    When the Judge hate red beards and don't drink, you are last.

    I completely agree!

    I take photos for my own enjoyment and to document my family. I don't do it for commercial purposes and have no intention to do so. If I enjoy my photos, great! If I don't, well, that's my problem too!

    With art it's always subjective. I remember how quickly I went through the MOMA- there were things I just seriously was not interested in. I think I remember something with bar stools in that museum. I liked the few vehicles that were there and the electronics.

    The same thing goes for photography.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • SquamishPhotoSquamishPhoto Posts: 608Member
    I too have been disappointed in the images I see winning photo contests in the last 10 years (it seemed much better 15 years ago). We all think we are (or wish to be) artists to some extent) and we are (to some extent). Yet, there are lots and lots of artists whose work is about one tenth as good as they think it is (some friends come readily to mind and I have spend hundreds of dollars buying some of their work to be supportive but I really don't want to even hang it in my house). I also see much false/incorrect/inaccurate (IMH0) praise on PAD. If fact, I think sometimes PAD praise is a gimmick (I will say your images are great if you say mine are great). So I think PAD is as "corrupt" as any photo contest. Don't be offended. It is helpful to realize that great images can go without praise, even on PAD, and some images praised on PAD are worse than the ones you posted on PAD which were not praised. PAD is no more accurate than those inaccurate photo contests.
    I think you're placing far too much significance onto the PAD thread, and I think you might be the only one who is taking it as seriously as you are. Ignoring all that, its also worth pointing out that you're merely exercising your own judgment of the photos and the associated criticisms and therefor you're hardly in any different standing than the judges in these photo contests that you're criticizing.

    PAD is not measured in terms like "accurate" nor does it suffer from corruption. Its a friendly thread for a group of like minded Nikon shooters to display their works for others to enjoy. That one could find its premise, use and user comments frustrating I find confounding.
    Mike
    D3 • D750 • 14-24mm f2.8 • 35mm f1.4A • PC-E 45mm f2.8 • 50mm f1.8G • AF-D 85mm f1.4 • ZF.2 100mm f2 • 200mm f2 VR2
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited February 2013
    PAD...where I post my snapshots...some good, some .....uh, well.... Occasionally, on PAD we will see some really nice shots. Sometimes I will say something, sometimes not. Most of us do not know exactly how others might take our view on any specific photo...and tastes vary. A photo may be liked by one and not by another. We may get bored by someone who posts so many shots of an auto show others are getting sick....mmmm...

    Well, the idea is to be tolerant. Some of us have a fair amount of experience, others are more in the beginning phase... Some will put up more artistic others more everyday....

    The plan is to enjoy all the photos, understand the different practices, and have fun.....oh, maybe learn something as well.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,327Member
    edited February 2013
    I agree with the absence of negative comments on PAD. The internet all to often is taken by some as an opportunity to slam someone anonymously. When I see a forum full of too much slamming of others I stop going there.

    I am just saying many of the positive comments on PAD are no more valid then the judgments of photo contest judges. Our opinions are no more accurate than those of photo contest judges. Does anyone disagree with that? So if you receive positive comments or no comments on your PAD postings don't either take it as a 100% valid judgment on your skill or as a 100% valid judgment on your lack of skill.

    I am sure many great photographers had a lot of trouble getting books of their work published and I have seen many photos in published books which I am amazed ever got there in the first place. I imagine the photographer and editor would say I am just too stupid to understand and appreciate those photos I don't like. But then, so would the photo contest judges, wouldn't they? Some things, like proper exposure, can be quantified but other things, like what constitutes good art, are much harder to define and agree upon.
    Post edited by donaldejose on
  • Benji2505Benji2505 Posts: 517Member
    From what I understand the contest is a press photo award. Content and message might be more important than technical aspects like light, composition, background, subject.
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