Black-And-White Photo Competition 2
It is our pleasure to announce the winner and a large number of images that we found deserved a Mark of Excellence.
As judges in I SHOT IT and occasionally other competitions, it is very often the same images judges are circling around in the judges heads as the winners. And in a way, when the results are announced, it is also often images most people will recognize as the winning photos. There is often a sort of recognition in the winning images. You think "Of course!" when you see which photo won.
For those who doesn't know, the I SHOT IT competition is judged by the judges individually in the first rounds. First we as judges make a shortlist, and then we shorten it down. So when we discuss the images the first time, we meet with each of our shortlist of images for winners and images that deserve a Mark of Excellence. Often we have more or less the same images on our lists. Though not in this case! And I shall return to how this was in a moment.
The I SHOT IT competition, unlike many other competitions, doesn't have a caption to the pictures. Each picture has to stand by it self: We have no data about who shot it, which camera was used, what the story behind the picture might be, how long ago the photo was taken, where it was, who are in the pictures, or any other leads that might explain the image or strengthen the story.
This on one hand demands that the picture works as a single picture on a screen, and if you view the images in the I SHOT IT competition from that viewpoint you will understand how many photos don't make it simply because there are elements missing or things that can be misunderstood. The image does not stand by itself; we do not know what the photographer thought or tried to capture, unless it is clear from the actual image.
The positive thing about it is that your background, equipment, portfolio, education, skill level et cetera does not matter. If you can take one photo by chance that is so good it can win, it can win. It is that single photo alone that determines if it is a winning photo or not. Even if it is the only photo you ever took.
Because we only see that one photo. And we don't give points for composition or other elements, as some competitions do, that may add up to enough points to determine a winner.
An image may explain everything in it self and in that way live up to this criteria, but then on top it has to show something that impress us the moment we see it. First impression has a lot to do with it, but actually also often how many layer a photo contains when studied again and again.
A category of photos are "Wow, I got it!" photos that the photographer may be proud of that he got at the right moment or feel proud that he managed to get, but if a photo does not contain more, it does not make it further. Many other elements need to be in place as well for that image to climb up the ladder to be amongst the Mark of Excellence and ultimately, the winner. This way there is a natural selection of images till we look at a final winner.
Mostly we agree without much discussion and the competition result is published. I the case of this quarterly B&W I SHOT IT competition, we spent more than five days discussing the winner because several pictures had some qualities that could make them the winner.
In this case we hope you may be as much in doubt as we were. We spent five days going back and forth about the winner. We slept on it, we argued for what was good and what was missing to clarify for our self which photo would be the winner.
And finally today we made a decision.
We made the decision that we wanted to give an award to two of the pictures that made us sleepless for some days. One is the award as the clear winner, the other for being an outstanding photo that probably would have won the competition, had there not been a better picture in the same quarter (a risk you actually aways run when you participate).
We wanted to share this story with you, and hopefully give you all some useful insight to participate and ultimately win in future I SHOT IT competitions. But also we are a little proud that we could change our mind and award more than one of the photos, thanks to Leica Camera AG who contributed the very special Leica X2 Limited edition by Paul Smith for us to make more people happy.
Thorsten Overgaard and Birgit Krippner