Art is subjective. Place these images in front of a panel of five different judges on any other day, and they could have very well scored any other number. Even though they didn’t merit, I am elated that I am consistently scoring in the 75-79 range. This means that the judges do see my work as professional. Even if my work is only viewed as “professional standard,” there are many images that don’t even make it to this range and even more that don’t even see this competition.
None of my images were challenged and none received more than 30 seconds of live critique. However, I sat through the entirety of both days of the live judging and saw plenty instances of challenges and rebuttals. In all, I probably was witness to about 18 hours of live image competition. I always arrive at WPPI well ahead of the class schedule specifically to watch the image competition. No matter how numb my butt becomes from sitting in the uncomfortable chairs, I force myself to sit and observe and learn from the masters. This is the most educational part of the conference for me, without doubt.
Most images—I’d guess 97%—that do merit score in the 80-84 range. Attaining a silver distinction award is a little more unusual. Gold awards and gold distinction awards are pretty rare, though I personally witnessed one of each this year. Receiving a platinum award is nearly unheard of.
This year, 2,518 prints were entered and 811 merited, scoring an 80 or better. A total of 904 entries (including prints, albums and films) scored 80 or better out of a total of 2,664 entries. “There were unfortunately an elevated amount of disqualifications. Almost all of them were handled before the competition thanks to Melissa’s thorough review of all entries. I am only aware of a single DQ needed during the live judging,” Bradford Kuhns, WPPI staffer.
WPPI Image Competition Scoring Key
|100||Supreme||Platinum award. A benchmark that exhibits the best possible use of all skills, creativity and uniqueness.|
|95-99||Exceptional||Gold Distinction. Approaching the highest level of imagination, creativity and technique.|
|90-94||Outstanding||Gold Award. Exhibiting outstanding skills in all areas and originality.|
|85-89||Excellent||Silver Distinction. Excellent use of imagination, skill and technique.|
|80-84||Above Average||Silver Award. Above average skill and technique in most areas.|
|75-79||Standard Practice||No award. Good salable work consistent with standard professional practice.|
|70-74||Below Standard||No award. Requires improvement in technique.|
|60-69||Below Professional||No award. Not up to professional standards.|
This image scored a 77.
I was not successful at making an audio recording of the judge, but off the top of my head, I remember that the judge who offered their critique of the image had this to say: They did not like the posing, specifically the placement of the arm closest to the camera. (This image scored a 78 during the 2016 Second Half Digital Competition.)
WPPI Image Competition Results
This image scored a 77.
They loved the composition, the symmetry, and the color harmony. However, they believed the mid-tones were muddy and that the image lacked specular highlights. I would agree with the judge in that the pose seemed a little static, meaning it wasn’t dynamic. Karley needed a little more bend in the leg and in the arms. It’s amazing that the judges know what’s going on beneath that dress—that’s why they’re masters, and that she wasn’t quite in profile pose. Karley needed to be turned a little more towards my camera to be in true profile form. (This image scored a 79 during the 2016 Second Half Digital Competition. So close to meriting.)
This image scored a 75.
The judge who offered their critique of the image had this to say: They believed the image was cropped too tight and lacked direction. The image did not have impact.
The 2017 First Half Digital Competition is only weeks away, and I’ve already began planning for that. I will not let this slow progress to merit distract or discourage me. It is merely a tool for which I need to grow and learn, and better serve my clients.
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