Personal Favourites The Judges Miss

September 12, 2021

Middlehurst Landscape DetailMiddlehurst Landscape Detail

Middlehurst Landscape Detail
Phase One XF 150MP, 240mm Schneider Kreuznach lens with 2x converter, f16 @ 0.6 seconds, ISO 50.

We all have them - photos that mean something to us, but never seem to get the reward we'd like when we enter them into a photo competition or post them onto social media.

Does it matter?

No! The reality is we have no control over what other people like, whether judges or friends. Sure, we can choose subjects or techniques that are more likely to receive a positive response, but I don't think this is a great way to use a camera. Surely we should be taking photos we love first and hoping others like them second?

The photo above is one of my (many) favourites - and the photo at the end of the article another. Both were taken within a few minutes of each other at Middlehurst on a quiet evening. The light was soft, there was hardly a breath of wind and both were shot with a 240mm Schneider and a 2x converter, about as telephoto as I can get with a medium format camera.

So, why do I love them?

The main reason is the texture and the detail - texture and detail you'll struggle to see on a screen, I'm afraid. But as a print, the texture is visually tactile. You can see every blade of grass, every shiny pebble. They are simple in composition, plain in subject matter and they make me happy. They take me back to last century when I would shoot with 4x5" and 8x10" film cameras and marvel at the superb quality they afforded. And I laugh to myself because the quality I am capturing today is just so superior to back then, I simply couldn't imagine how good photography was going to become.

So, my challenge for you?

Whether you're in lock down (unlucky) or out and about (fortunate), spend a few hours looking through your archives and pull out some photos that you really love. Re-process them and post them on social media or make a print. Tell people why you like them. Take people on a journey and, with understanding, they might become favourites for others as well.

The results of the Better Photography Magazine Photo of the Year 2021 will be announced on Wednesday and I know there will be some mixed feelings with the scores, but just because a judge doesn't respond to a photo the same way you do, doesn't necessarily mean it's not a great photo, that it's not a 'keeper'.

And here's my second photo.

Middlehurst LandscapeMiddlehurst Landscape