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Recent Blogs from Better Photography


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Wild Light By Grant Dixon

I've recently pre-ordered a copy of Grant Dixon's new book, WILD LIGHT. It's partly a case of book publishers buying each other's work, partly because I love Grant's photos. I also bought his previous photo book, Winter Light, published in 2020 and now out of print. Good on him for selling out!

WILD LIGHT contains 95 sublime images of the wild Tasmanian landscape, including its rocky basement, cloak of vegetation and rugged mountains, and also features Tasmania’s sub-Antarctic outpost, Macquarie Island. And it will be a top quality book in the Tasmanian tradition of fine art productions and of using photography to activate awareness of the environment. Naturally, the hard cover, 30cm x 23.5cm, 128 page book is printed on environmentally-friendly FSC-certified paper.

You can still pre-order the book at the pre-publication price of AUS $85 (RRP will be $95), and the book will be available in November 2022.

Visit Grant's website, check out his photos and if you like them, buy his book - https://www.grantdixonphotography.com.au/

Better Credits For Photographers

Painted Hills, taken during my trip to Arkaroola earlier this year.
Phase One XF 150MP, 80mm Schneider lens, 1/500 second @ f3.5, ISO 320.

Why is it so hard to know who took a photo in a magazine or on a website, yet the author of the story (or words) that the photographs accompany is always attributed?

In Australia, moral rights requires a publisher to credit the photographer and it's not something they can generally weasel out of. However, there are lots of grey areas, such as advertising pages which the magazine publisher doesn't produce or when a photograph is purchased from a stock library, because sometimes the stock library doesn't tell you who the photographer is!

However, often when a publisher does attribute a photographer, why is the photo credit tiny and tucked away where it can hardly be seen (e.g. in the gutter of a magazine), while the author of the words is up big, bold and at the beginning of the story?

Read More

How Can You Judge A Photograph?

Down from the bridge, Middlehurst Station
Phase One XF 150MP, 240mm Schneider, f8 @ 1/80 second, ISO 50

The Australian Photographic Prize (held the weekend before last) was being spearheaded by Robyn Campbell and Karen Alsop, following the demise of the AIPP and the Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPA). While some aspects of the new awards are based on APPA, others have been modernised and adapted, such as the role of the panel chair.

Under the old APPA system, there were five judges. A panel chair administered the judging process, but was not allowed to influence the judges. Sometimes, this was a pity because often the panel chair was also a very experienced judge.

Overseas, there are a number of awards which give the panel chair a voice, but not a vote. The panel chair is selected from the most experienced judges and then, during any discussion, is allowed to point out aspects of an entry that might otherwise have been missed by the judging panel.

For example, judges could score an entry very highly based on what they believe is an original idea. The panel chair may know that the work is actually quite derivative (meaning the entrant has been highly influenced by the work of another photographer or artist, who the judges appear to be unaware of), and so a very high score might not be appropriate.

Under the old APPA system, the panel chair couldn't say anything. Under the new APP system, the chair will be expected to share his or her knowledge about the other photographer or artist. At the end of the discussion process, the five judges are asked to re-score the entry.

It's not up to the panel chair to lower or raise the score, only to provide additional insight. The score is still up to the judges, but now they have the advantage of extra knowledge and experience.

It's a good system, especially if you have knowledgeable panel chairs, but no one knows everything about photography. For instance, there are so many photographers and artists accessible online that it's simply not possible to know if an idea is new or original. However, if it is new to a judge, then you must expect them to reward it. By having five judges, we extend the knowledge base - and by adding in the panel chair, we extend it further.

While no system can really 'judge' a photograph, if you enjoy the competition process as I do, then I think this is a great innovation for an awards system like this.

And congratulations to APP - it was a great weekend!

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Better Photography Online Edition

Better Photography is available four times a year (at www.betterphotographyeducation.com) as an online read or you can download it to your device for offline reading.

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