it was judged
For thirteen years the exhibition was the result of a competition which
attracted 1300 entries. People often asked me how I judged a competition that has so many entries -
and what was the secret of success.
might think that with so many entries other people did a pre-selection. This
was not the case; I said from the word go that if I was judging I wanted to
see every picture.
staff unpacked and recorded each entry, from an assortment of packages, some of
which were packed as if they contain the crown jewels and others which didn't
deserve to arrive in one piece!
judging did not start until the closing date when I viewed each piece
individually under gallery lighting conditions. The entries were divided
roughly into IN, OUT, and MAYBE. At this point the IN, and OUT piles were
very small and the MAYBE pile was huge. The judging continued 8 hours a day
for a week, until the IN and OUT piles had grown and the MAYBE pile had
reduced to nearly nothing. Then a very important thing happened; ALL the OUTs
were viewed again in a different order (the importance of this is that a good
piece of work viewed directly after a brilliant piece never looks as good
and might be rejected unfairly). Many of the OUTs got reprieved at this
did a picture make the grade? The answer is simple. Works did not have to be
technically accomplished, they just needed to have 'a certain something' that
caught my imagination. An original idea, charm, impact, atmosphere.
Although I work in certain media, with animals and in a particular style, my taste is wide
ranging, and no particular type of work has preference. The one thing that
become apparent to me over the years is that artists are the worst
judges of their own work! They appreciate all the finer points of everyone
else's work but seem to grossly over- or undervalue their own.
never read the name of the artist, so it could say Vincent in the corner and
it wouldn't have had any effect on me. It is only when I was trying to reduce the
numbers from say 300 to 100 that composition, technical skill, etc., started
to play a part, and it was very rare that a 'clever title' was ever taken into
account. By the time an artist became a finalist and the final list was drawn
up, their work would have been looked at dozens of times. Even then I slept on
my decisions before approving the list.
final judging of the prize winners was not done until all the pictures
had been photographed and web pages had been constructed. Then and only
then was the final judging done, but still primarily using the actual
pictures, rather than the web image. This final judging took a number of
days of many hours a day. The whole judging process took in excess of three
weeks, and it got more difficult every year.
With most competitions, judging is done by a committee, so you never know who to blame for the choices; Each judge hides behind the others. With PAWS this is not the case, I made the decisions from start to finish, I am extremely fair, and I am happy to stand behind what I decided.
To contact PAWS:-
:- PAWS, 10 Nascot Wood Road, Watford, Herts. WD17 4RS, UK
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