Stop registering
2023, May 10

Yesterday at the photo club NAFVA we had a presentation by Louis Visseren, jury member for the 2023 Dutch national competition.
He discussed the assessment of the photos submitted by the 9 highest-ranked photo clubs. And the three clubs NAFVA, FVGVB and Fotoclub Almere from department Afdeling 10.

When looking at the submitted photos, I personally find the dividing line between photoshopped images and "just" registered images difficult at photo competitions. Although I make minimal adjustments to the photos I've shot, I also do editing. Although I will not take anything out of a photo. But when I crop or play more with the light or dark tones to hide something, I secretly photoshop in that matter as well right?
Don't get me wrong, for me it is also about the final image itself. Whether it is made directly by the software of the camera, or edited or manipulated afterwards in photo software. After all, it's about the feeling you get.

In general he mentioned that a lot of photos are just registrations. There is nearly any work from the photographer / artist in it. A very good point which I sometimes forget too. 
A beautiful scene or subject is simply beautiful. You should not portray the beautiful scene or subject. You have to be able to make something beautiful out of each scene.

Photos from forms, shapes and architecture, those are beautiful however already done so many times. Too perfect portraits that suck all the life out of a model. Same for all the staged and directed images.

Of the 90 photos of these 9 top placed photo clubs I only count 6 street photos (well ... what I define as street photography).
And none of those 6 has a score higher than 20 points.

For me indeed the logical explanation that most of the submitted photos are just reflection of those photographers and clubs. Traditionally, just to make a perfect picture. And for me quite often the understanding why I don't like that type of work and therefore also the other way around why people don't understand my photos neither.

It's not a bad thing at all that street photography might not be highly rated (or submitted). It's maybe difficult to get a good image. And as Louis Visseren remarked so well earlier, it has to go a bit further than just a registration.

When it comes to entering competitions. you don't have to participate in everything. Choose where you want to submit your work.  Maybe this league competition isn't the game for you. Although with the league competetion it does not depend on the individual members of the club. The club competition committee determines which photos are submitted. 

Well ... then you come back to the point where photo clubs probably look more at safely perfect photos to get the highest scores :-)
Another thing that I really appreciated is that at the end of the presentation Louis Visseren came to me and said, "hey there was nothing from you". He remembered seeing something good from me once when he judged a local competition with us. 
That was really nice to hear, it was my very first time participating in a competition and also showing something for the first time to other members. I remember to be thankful for the recognition and that I should continue in making the photos how I feel it. 
Now a little over a year and a half later I had a rollercoaster of what I wanted to make. My mistake of trying to make things that others might like. Fortunately, at the end of 2022 I came to my senses again and started to describe myself honestly to continue in the right direction. Also my advice for anyone who takes pictures and images, start writing! 
But anyway, certainly good to hear from Louis Visseren, it was another reminder just to follow yourself!
Back to Top