It’s right around the corner…PPA’s International Photographic Competition (IPC) August 4 – 7, 2014
at Gwinnett Technical College 5150 Sugarloaf Pkwy Lawrenceville, GA 30043. This is just outside Atlanta and if you are in the area you can attend as a PPA member. It’s an incredible education on imaging.

PPA photographic competitionPPA Photographic Competition.

If you are not in Atlanta PPA will be Live Streaming the event… Here’s what will be happening.

Gotta tell ya I’m excited about the fact that the IPC is going to be web-casting this year’s Imaging Competition. And you should be too. This is a wonderful opportunity to see behind the scenes on how images get to Merit and Loan status.

I would like to share some information to help you understand some of the things you will see during the event.

First, I think that it’s important to know how the jurors came to be in front of your images. The process is very involved and those that have gotten to that level have worked extremely hard and put in lots of time and effort to be able to volunteer their time in service to the system. How do I know? I worked my way through the system and am an International PPA Juror.

First step is to be involved as a participant in the process by putting images in front of others for the feedback of imaging competition and showing some success. After earning at least ten merits potential jurors take time away from their business to attend the three day judging school to learn and practice. In addition, they have paid for airfare and lodging along with the fee to attend judging school.

After successful completion of judging school it’s time to put in more time judging at state competitions. Consider this the farm system where you go to get seasoned and experience. Potential judges work with International Judges during these competitions and are given feedback on how to better learn the skill. This feedback is also passed on to to IPC in the form of evaluations for review. A minimum number of states need to be judged and satisfactory evaluations received before a judge is approved as an International Juror. Again this involves more time away from the business and often added expense in travel.

Why do I share the information above? It’s because I would like you to understand the dedication jurors need to have. They truly care about imaging competition and are dedicated to doing a good job for you.

Let’s get to the process.

Six jurors and and a jury chair are assembled in place to view your image according to a certain lighting standard. The standards are set so you know how to view your image under the same conditions as the jurors before submission.

In the print room a curtain with a turntable is placed 6 feet in front of the jurors. Lighting is from prescribed angles and measures f16 100 ISO at one second in a room with subdued lighting.

In the digital judging room your image is shown on three monitors with two jurors in front of each monitor. Monitors are calibrated to 120 CDM2, D65 and color spaces recognized are SRGB and Adobe 1998.

The jurors have a scoring device in their hands and after seeing the image can make the choice of Merit or Non-Merit image. If there is a majority of four or more jurors who agree it is a Merit the image is considered a Merit for the moment. If four or more Non-Merits are indicated then the image is not considered a Merit for the moment. If there is a tie there is an automatic challenge called by the jury chair. One person will speak for the image and each juror will speak in turn giving their ideas on why they have made the decision they did. The the original person speaking for the image will be given the opportunity for rebuttal of all arguments given and the jurors will again put in their Merit or Non-Meirit to determine if the image will receive a merit.

If you remember I said a Merit was ‘for the moment’. After the result has been announced any juror or even the jury chair may challenge the result. That juror then speaks for or against the result and each juror in turn gives their feedback. The challenger is allowed a rebuttal and the scoring is recalculated. Although not often it is possible this could be challenged by another juror and the process is repeated.

Now here’s the part where you might feel things are moving fast… I remember seeing my first imaging competition and thought, “How can a decision be made so quickly???” Remember all that training? One decision has to be made using the twelve criteria. In the jurors mind is this image merit worthy or not? You have seven sets of eyes looking at the image including the jury chair. All votes are in.  A decision is announced. Here’s the important part – any one of those seven trained people may challenge the result and the challenge process outlined above is done. In addition, at any time before each session is closed out a juror may ask to have an image brought back for review to challenge a result. No juror wishes to be haunted by an image that they felt should be a Merit and they didn’t fight for it.

There are over 5000 images to be viewed with the additional view of any image that made it to a Merit that is then judged for the Loan Collection. The process is similar but now their are even more eyes making the decision. As you can see with that many images it would be impossible to talk over every single image presented which is why it’s a great idea to order up the print critiques to get feedback on your individual images.

There is quite a bit more to this but I wanted to give you an overview and show you that there are mechanisms in place for the best review of images to detemine your Merits.

Enjoy the competition with yourself and even if you don’t have images in this year look around the various rooms there’s a lot of imaging education to be found there.

Yours in Photography,     Bob Coates M.Photog.,CR.,CPP International Juror

PS – I’ll be watching too! I have a case in the Open category and the Master Artist Category. I will be judging images in Chattanooga, Tennessee on August 2nd but won’t be judging at National this year…