New Season Programme

Date Published 
Wed 26 Jul 2017

I am writing to make you aware that the Programme for our New Season has been posted on the website, there are just a few things to confirm, and Judges to add, as they confirm dates, but its almost there.  When complete we will provide a PDF, for you to print off, for those who like a paper copy. We will not open the entry to the Competitions just yet, so just keep your possible entries in a folder in readiness.

Andy and Tom have, over the last couple of years,  created a great learning medium within Club, the practical evenings, improver sessions, follow on photo walks, one to one sessions and much more. These evenings do have a 'following' but it is made up of a small core of the club that get involved regularly and consistently, and I guess can be called a Special Interest Development Group.  The conversations this group have, over coffee and sometimes beer, always gravitate back to photography and invariably what we all want from the Club we belong to.  Much that is gleaned from these informal chats tells us that we are perhaps not offering what more and more are desiring and that's more teaching.  Some  visitors to a camera club find it very strange that we sit in a darkened room listening to someone being less than constructive about an image of ours, with no chance to discuss what is said and little time to talk to each other. 

Good critique from a well trained judge with good, knowledge of many aspects of processing and techniques, can be beneficial, and many will say is the best way to learn.  But, and here comes my BIG BUT, can this process stem creativity?  Are we all too worried about what the judge will say? Are we actually taking an image for a judge rather than for ourselves.?  Is, having the shadowy figure of a judge sitting on our shoulder as we press the shutter, good for our health?  Do not worry, we are not abandoning externally judged Competitions totally this season, but we will be trailing some different critique sessions as well, to get more education included in the process. We are rolling back the first entry date for our first competition, giving time at the start of the season to promote skills that will assist us all in creating better images to compete with.  Let's hope the more advanced workers will be integral in this process by sharing their knowledge?  We will be aiming to look in detail at Mono Conversion, Improving your Projected images with calibration, see how it looks on the screen before you enter it, preparing  prints for printing, and other similar things. 
There are also great plans for the Wednesday nights and Tom is happy to receive ideas on what you would like covered.

There are many who really enjoy the competitive side and we will be promoting, encouraging and possibly selecting images to be entered in external exhibitions, there is a huge selection of outlets for those seeking accolades.  This will be in addition to our internal competitions.  It has also been suggested that we have a "Photographer of the Year' selection process, and to that end you may remember voting for themes at the AGM.  The brief is to take an image fulfilling the following five themes, entered as PDI. Images must be taken in 2017/ 2018 and must not have been used in any other regular competition.

  • Sport
  • Transportation
  • Scapes
  • Flowers
  • Abstract

Think carefully, think outside the box, think creatively both in the taking and presentation. These will be judged and scored and the best images across the board, all scoring highly will make someone the winner. To have a chance of winning you need to pull out all the stops and be challenged to take really good images in perhaps unfamiliar genres. But the winner of this accolade will be our Photographer of The Year, and this new idea will be trialled this season and may become a firm favourite.

Our club exists for all sorts of reasons and it's members inevitably just take from it what they will, what they need and what they are comfortable with.  This may mean in the case of FCC, that they just enjoy the social aspect, others enjoy just the competitive nights, and only attend those nights.  Some really enjoy the speakers but others leave at half time, and there is the very loyal member who turns up to everything, sits through the good the bad and the indifferent and are content.  Many moan about the Judges, the lectures, the in house evenings and much else but we will never please everyone all the time.  We need, financially, to attract more members to our club for survival into the future.  We are not a rich club, our fees have always been reasonable but the venue costs and lecturers remuneration continue to rise, so serious thought needs to go into our programme.   It is always our aim to offer a varied, educational programme with a few light hearted evenings thrown into the mix and this coming season, as explained above, we hope you will find this fresh thinking and the new ideas reflected in the choices we have made, when planning the Programme, an exciting prospect and I look forward to welcoming you back on September 11th at our opening evening. 

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I think compressing the monthly competitions into the latter half or 2/3 of the season is a bold move but it does make them more regular.

Things I like about the programme:

  • The London Salon!
  • The late start to the competitions.
  • Practical Monday evenings.
  • Member focused Monday evenings.

Things I don't like:


The revelation of the final version of the PDI rules will be both interesting and a challenge; how far can they be pushed without breaking?

Overall, this looks like a carefully crafted programme.

I am slightly confused by your Don't like comment, are you meaning the rules connected to the Photographer of the Year? Do you mean the rules of recent work ?

Sorry, that was meant to be a joke. The bullet point is empty, meaning there's nothing I don't like. Oh dear, that fell a bit flat…

Dooohhh! That was too obscure for me!  That's good that you are happy.  We do need to encourage new work all too easy to sit at home and trawl through the archive but to continue to grow as a photographer we need to be getting out and finding new images.  So this new comp. will hopefully do that.

An idea that I had was that each active member submits a selection of five images that they feel are their best for the selection committee to pick from when selections are being made for club battles etc, this would enable selection from what members considered their finest images, not just images that had done well in comps, especially as these judged scores are opinions of only one person rather than a more objective group selection, and we would then have a higher quality pool to select from not just images that fitted a specific competition topic. This would involve a change in the way we select, but I wondered what others might think as I know that from my own entries, only a couple would have been in my selection of best five due to the fact that others often did not fit the required comps available to enter. This is a personal thought and I wanted to see what people made of it.

Submitted by andy-smith on Thu 27 Jul 2017 10:14am

Andy that is not a bad idea. Also the Selection committee should not just limit themselves to PDIs. For example, if  a member has submitted a great print that fits the bill re an external PDI competition they should be asked to supply the said 'print' as a PDI if possible. I know other clubs look at all their shots before entering competitions.