If you don’t know me, let me say by introduction that I’ve been named President of the Garden Photographic Society starting June 1, 2020. Yes, we began online DPI competitions in September 2020 (with a new virtual platform), but that is not what this blog post is about.
Noticing how many members have left local photo Clubs, I had a conversation a few months ago with a former photo club president, who led a local CACCA club for eight years. He has noticed a decline in local club membership also, and not just due to an older membership. His analysis rang a bell with me: HURT FEELINGS.
Yes, the tendency of our competitions to be overly Nature-oriented, jokingly referred to as the “3 Fs”: Fur, Feathers and Flowers, has left many members disappointed and hurt when they brought a terrific Architecture, Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Street, Still Life, or Abstract photo to the competition, only to be snubbed and beaten by anything with a feather. Yes, the Garden Photographic Society is a General Photography club, but many of the judges we hire still suffer from the “3 Fs” unconscious bias, many of them are from nature photo clubs. Some may just not understand how to judge a good abstract photo! A pretty bird shot is a lovely photo, but often requires more technical skill (and plane tickets) than actual ARTISTIC RISK. We support ARTISTIC RISK as a way to further the ART!
It’s time for a Revolution! After meeting with the Garden Club Board, we have decided to change our competition categories to separate the Nature category from the others, so that judges’ bias is also separated. Are you willing to join me in the next Photography Club Revolution? Let’s take our club back to the artistic risk takers, the bold experimenters, going where no photographer has gone before (and leaving behind the boring predictability of most competitions)!
Get out your Street, Architecture, Portrait, Sports, Still Life, Landscape, Astro, Abstract, Film, Abstract, and yes, your Nature shots and join us in being UNPREDICTABLE! Please join us and spread the PHOTO CLUB REVOLUTION!
Here are the competition categories that we’ve decided on:
1) MONOCHROME. Images can be any subject, but must be Monochrome (Black & White or One Color).
2) OPEN COLOR-NON NATURE. All subjects, but no Nature images! Image types may include Landscape, Travel, Architecture, Street, Portrait, Sports, Abstract, Photojournalism, Non-Nature Macros, Still Life, Astro, Creative, or any other subject types. No nature or monochrome images allowed.
3) PICTORIAL NATURE. Color images may be any non-Human living thing, wild or captive animal, plant, wild flower or hybrid garden flower. Images may be edited, there are no restrictions on post-processing. This category is referred to as Pictorial Nature, to differentiate it from the “no-edits, pure ‘Nature’ category” (so “Hand of Man” is allowed).
4) SPECIAL SUBJECT. Each monthly competition will include a special assigned subject challenge. Only images that “fit” the assigned subject will be allowed. For example, if the assignment is “A Touch of Red”, you may submit a red apple, a red feather, anything as long as there’s some Red in it. The themes follow the CACCA Special Themes, and are published below, so you have plenty of time to shoot.
5) ABSTRACT/CREATIVE. A “non-judged” experimental DPI-only category to encourage creativity and experimentation among members. Images will be displayed after the other categories, and all attending (including judges) may then provide constructive criticism.
The “Special” category will change monthly, with the type of shot to be announced far in advance. Some examples for this are: Still Life, Human Portrait, Part Mono/Part Color, Abstract, Food, and Unusual Angles in Architecture.
After the judging we enter into a discussion with the Judges as to why they voted the way they did for each shot, with feedback from the creator and other club members, as a teaching moment for all of us (including the Judges!) This is a terrific learning opportunity for everyone! New members: join us in The Photo Club Revolution! Other Clubs: join us in The Photo Club Revolution!
To Join Our Club: Dues are $30 single member/$45 family/year. Please go to https://gardenphoto.org and then Downloads to download the New Member Form and send it, with a check, made out to “Garden Photographic Society”, via your bank, favorite online payment service, or US Mail, to Howard Frank (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 8338 Monticello, Skokie, IL 60076.