21st May 2014 - 'Reportage' competition

Sometimes one of our photographic competition themes presents a challenge for both club members and the visiting judge – in this case Mac Bouchere FRPS from Bishopsteignton. Just such a difficulty was raised by the latest which called for images linked to the theme of ‘Reportage’. Some advice in the competition programme suggested that the kind of images required were those which captured an event in a documentary style or the kind of picture you could send to a newspaper.
With 54 entries submitted it might be thought that there wasn’t really anything too difficult about this challenge. But in fact reportage is not just any picture to which a pseudo- newspaper headline or title has been given. This is the kind of thing that somehow tries to alter reality, often for humorous effect and along the lines often seen on television programmes where pictures of rather odd things are linked by the headline to some unfortunate politician or celebrity.
In a detailed and amusing assessment of the entries, Mac explained that what he was looking for was that the picture itself ‘told the story’. The title was probably unnecessary – it was all about what the image was trying to say. And so we saw how many of the pictures were really able to tell the viewer what was happening without any words. Marathon runners suffering the anguish of the race, Tour de France cyclists hurtling forwards, a double-decker bus stuck under a tree, a raft collision and the Bristol balloon festival were pictures which took you to the heart of their story immediately.
That’s not to say that those which used a title to explain the image were criticised. Mac just pointed out that these images provided plenty of entertainment but could not fully meet the requirements of the competition.
Those which gained awards were an interesting mixture of images which you could easily imagine appearing in a newspaper and which stood on their own even if they also had appropriate titles. The Highly Commended were Derek Carpenter’s ‘Brooklyn Bridge Jumper’ with a cleverly inlaid close-up set against a distance shot of the event; Rachel Hutchings’ ‘Wiggo and Cav in Action’ – an action shot of UK’S famous cyclists. 3rd was Peter Elliston for ‘Creative Glass-blowing at Shakespeare Glass, Langport. 2nd was Viv Knighton for ‘Unexpected visitor at Kynance Cove’ – which showed the air ambulance in action and 1st was Derek Carpenter for ‘Out for a Duck’ which caught a solitary canoeist paddling across the flooded crick ground at Budleigh Salterton.