Canteen Magazine publisher, Stephen Pierson, contacted me recently about a ground breaking idea for a photography contest, NAKED JUDGING: The 2012 Canteen Awards in Photography. Canteen is a highly respected magazine and Stephen has given this idea a lot of thought–the idea is to have a completely transparent contest, where judging is live, so that participants can experience the behind the scenes drama of how things are selected. All submissions will have some kinds of critique, and there will be a clear presentation of how all submission monies are spent. I will be partnering with Canteen to provide the on-line exposure for the winners. This indeed, is a contest unlike any other…
Naked Judging: The 2012
Canteen Awards in Photography
Canteen magazine is holding our second photography contest
because of our general disdain for photography contests. They tend to be opaque
affairs that stifle dialogue—the winners are chosen, no one quite knows why,
and 99% of the participants are left without their entrance fee or an
explanation. The real winners are the organizations1
that run and profit exorbitantly from them.
We are trying to do
something different. Namely, treat our participants as partners. We aim to be
fully transparent about the entire selection process, placing the judges’
criteria, biases, and disagreements on full, naked display. The result, we
hope, will be an honest and provocative conversation about photography.
To these ends, Naked
Judging: The 2012 Canteen Awards in Photography offers several novel features:
A live finale: The final
round of judging, featuring the top 25 submissions, will occur in front of a
live audience, and will be simultaneously streamed online. Prior to the winners
being selected, audience members (both in-person and online) can probe the
judges with questions.
Every submission openly
critiqued: Similar to our first photo contest, brief notes/critiques
from all judging rounds will be available on our website for every submission.
The winning submission and other select submissions will be the subject of
longer-form discussions and essays in the next print issue of Canteen magazine,
and through this contest’s official partner, Lenscratch.
In addition, select participants will be given the opportunity to publicly
respond to the judges’ comments.
Nonprofit model: We are
not only providing a low entry fee ($20 for 5 to 8 images, and $15 for
students), but we will document on our website how every dollar is spent. At
the contest’s conclusion, any profits will be refunded back to the entrants.
We hope not only that our
contest will produce a provocative dialogue about photography, but also that it
will nudge other organizations into adopting practices that are friendlier to
the community of photographers that they purport to represent.
I’m still a little overwhelmed by the reaction to Friday’s post, written at the end of an intense month, when I was dealing with an out flow of monies and energies that was unusually large. I was thinking out loud as an educator, sharing my thoughts of my own leaning curve, not realizing how viral the post would become. heating contractors . Obviously it has touched a nerve. And obviously, what happens whenever you put something out into the virtual world, there are things you wish you could have held back or thought through more thoroughly.I think what we are experiencing is the confluence of the downturned economy and creating work at a time where traditions and methodologies are rapidly changing. No other art form has had to readjust so quickly to change. That combined with an expanding population where every man, woman, and child owns a camera, we are questioning our journeys more than ever.No matter how hard it might be to navigate the fine art waters these days, I have to say that I am so very proud to be a part of this amazing community. This was made crystal clear by my involvement with Life Support Japan. Time Warner Internet . I was blown away by how incredibly caring, giving, and supportive this community is. Not only did photographers submit work to the sale, but so did gallerists and gallery directors. We supported each other in the purchase of images, we cheered each other on, and in the process, got to know each other better. A shout out in particular to Crista Dix who has worked tirelessly on this project since it’s inception. This sale is just one example of the power of our community (there are still many wonderful images available)– and there are so many others.The good news is that we are making photographs during a time when a banquet of opportunities allow us to get our work out into the world. There are many dedicated organizations and galleries working hard to help emerging photographers get recognition, probably more than in any other art form. E-zines and blogs and other forms of social media have also given photographers tremendous exposure. And we have the ability to pick and choose from this banquet. We shouldn’t take that for granted.I also believe in Portfolio Reviews. This process is totally unique to photography. I think of a portfolio review as part of my education and they ultimately cost the same amount (or less) than a week long workshop. We are lucky to have the opportunity to meet with so many significant people in the photography world face to face and develop relationships and dialogues with them. I have had incredible experiences at portfolio reviews, and certainly will continue to attend when I have new work to present.I thank you for all your comments, and I hope we can continue to share constructive ideas and feedback about our photographic lives. I learn something new everyday, and much of it comes from making mistakes, by talking and sharing, and critically thinking about my photographic path–so I appreciate all your observations and ideas. For those of you who have figured it out, bravo…I want to learn from you. I’m feeling more positive and more educated already.