Friday, February 24, 2012

So the year begins...

Ahhh, time of joys, of the long late summer, and the commencement of the competition scene at club. That latter prospect has improved through the presence of a good mate who has decided to join the club this year (as a “beginner” naturally). The improvement will come from the occasional debate that we may have concerning things photographic.

F’rinstance, a question regarding the nature of “photographic images” was debated over the tea-cups one afternoon this last week. The question arose from Rules 2 and 3 -

2. An entry must originate from a negative, colour slide or digital file that was exposed by the contestant.

3. An entry may be manipulated in any way provided no areas are added that were not exposed by the contestant.

Seems straightforward enough, huh?

I looked long and hard at Rule 2 last year for the “White on white” set competition. I had a white feather – collected from one of my sister’s chooks I think – which I tried scanning with a white background, only problem was that the scan came out somewhat more yellow than I had imagined and the idea was dropped because of my inability to clean the image for consideration. But the question starts at that point – an “image” taken with a scanner? The output is a “digital file”, no?

Consider the use of a digital file taken from a scan of a film image. Is this in any way different to a print taken from a digital file for print competition? That is easy – the answer is “No!”. The premise here is that the image was originally captured using a camera. One can argue the same for an image captured using an iPad camera or phone camera. Equally as valid, equally a “photographic image”.

So, why the objection to an image from a scanner? There is no lens? I believe that the lensing and sensing functions in a scanner would be quite complex. In fact quite as complex as a digital camera in fact. That became a particularly unfruitful moot.

The application of “no areas added that were not exposed” in Rule 3 is comparatively straight-forward. There is a small matter of detection involved. Primary in my mind when I say this is an image that was presented in competition last year under the “photo-journalism” heading. It was of a crowd, either Japanese or Chinese, all looking in the same direction, all dressed in what I would think of as late 50’s or very early 60’s clothes; suits, hats. The overall feeling that I got from it was of immediate post-war Japan. There is no way that I could get any proof, but I had the uneasy feeling that I was looking at an image from the ‘Net rather than the person presenting it, and dating from some 50 years BP rather than being an image from current times.

I am not going to allow the year to get off to a bad start with the prospect of the "Abstract/Concept" as the set topic this month. The judge has been named and to give an indication of what she might expect. Sorry, mine is going to look like this -

I had a long struggle with which to offer as the Set topic. I chose this as the Open entry -

Both images were taken last month at the Auckland Botanical Gardens.

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