Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday: How I See; What I See – Judging Photographs

Good Morning Everyone,

Fleming JenkinsWe had a wonderful time yesterday cruising the Los Gatos area and the Santa Cruz Mountains.  The views were beautiful and the wines delicious.  One of our favorite stops was the Fleming Jenkins Winery [link] who tasting room was in downtown Los Gatos.  The “Fleming” in the name comes from one of the owners – Peggy Fleming, the Olympic gold ice skater.

She and her husband Brad Jenkins began selling wines in 2003.  Brad was a well renowned dermatologist in a former life but gave up his practice to become the the winery’s full time winemaker.  It is quite the story [link].

Anyway, the rest of the day was spent just as enjoyable and relaxing.  Only one day left to visit the area so let’s get on with today’s post.

Wednesday: How I See; What I See – Judging Photographs

Google21Prior to my presentation at Google on Monday, I was asked to be the judge of a very informal photo contest for Google employees.  Many of the images were quite interesting and exciting.

When I am asked to judge photo contests, I feel both honored and excited.  Honored - because it truly is an honor to judge another photographers work. And excited, because I can't wait to view images and see through the eyes of another photographer.

Google3Here is how I approach the process of reviewing the images.  I first review each of the images without drawing any conclusions. I just want to see how the images present themselves to me. I'm sensitive to the first impression and impact each image gives to me.

Google6I want to be sensitive to the my emotions I feel and experience as I view each image.  I want to see how the image pulls me in and invites me to explore the composition before me.  I look for the colors, contrasts, lines, and textures of the image and see how they work with the subject matter. Then, I review the images again to see how each image verifies it's first impression. I look for a story within each image. What is the photographer trying to communicate thru this image?

The three images above were my favorites from all those submitted.  I loved the sensitive image of the three children; the  memorizing character of the old man; and the mysterious black and white silhouette image.  Each image had a certain compelling appeal to me.  Want to see how I judged them for the context? 

Hit the “Read More…” link below for the rest of the story.

The image of the three children made me feel the level of their poverty.  Yet the smile on the little girl on the middle perhaps indicated a ever so slight feeling of optimism for their future, that they are kids and no matter their circumstances they are going to find some fun and happiness. Those opposite emotions both captured in the same image made for me a compelling photograph. I want to learn more about their story.

The image of the old man continued to draw me in.  The grizzled, hard lines in his face show a life of work in harsh and dry conditions. Those lines are like road maps of a long life of very hard work. Yet the soft smile on his face also seems to imply a satisfying life nevertheless. I liked too, the gentle look in his eyes as he peers back into the camera.  He appears that he has so many stories to tell - I just want to sit with him and hear those stories. I'm compelled to learn more about this subject.

The silhouette of the person on the skateboard spoke to the analytical side of my photographic nature.  I love the strong contrast. I like the textures in the back-lit pavement surrounding the silhouette.  I like the contrasts of the small pavement square playing against the larger squares.  I like the diagonal lines running through the overall composition.  All these elements come together for me creating what I see as a very pleasant viewing experience.

My favorite image - drum roll please.......

The image of the gentle, let grizzled old man.  I still want to stick around and here a few of his life-long stories.

Google6There is no right or wrong way to view images. In the end, it's always how the image presents itself to the viewer.  I've attempted to give a brief insight into my thought processes as I view images, how they affect me, and how I ascertain my favorite.

There were many exciting images submitted and I'm certain as each maker pressed the shutter button, they felt a certain thrill or at least a certain amount of joy as they capture a moment in time.  That joy was felt again as the maker choose it for submission into this contest.  Those feelings alone make the image a winner in the eyes of the maker.  Images that excite you should be savored and enjoyed.  Continue to savor the moments of your photographic endeavors.


Hey gang, that’s it for today. This is our last day in the San Jose area.  I’m not quite sure what’s on our itinerary but LaDawn tells me we have to hit the road.

Plan to stop back tomorrow for anther episode of Business Day Thursday: Do You Wait For The Sale Or Ask For the Sale – Your Answer Determines Your Business Success.

Have a great one and I’ll see ya’ tomorrow,  -David

1 comment:

  1. I judged a local nature photo contest last winter, and my approach was quite similar. I agree totally that you have to let the images speak to you, tell you whatever they want to tell you, without adding your own story. Then you can go back and look at each again to see if the image still communicates an emotion, a story, an idea, or just falls silent.