The PAGB run APM assessments twice a year giving club photographers the opportunity to gain accreditations. At last weekends adjudications Sue Champion was successful in gaining her CPAGB. Two of her successful images are included along with a description of the journey by Sue herself.
It was back in November 2013 that I attended a mentoring day for the PAGB awards, which had been organised by the L&CPU. We were asked to take along 10 prints or DPI’s for a mock adjudication by six judges, so I obviously chose my most successful club and L&CPU entries from the previous two seasons.
The day began with an explanation of the awards, scoring system and example entries from successful submissions. Credit Level images typically do well in club competitions and are used in inter-clubs. Every image is scored individually out of 5 by six judges, and they are displayed randomly as at our club. A total score of 200 from 10 images is required. Seeing the high standard of work was when reality struck, and the self doubt kicked in.
The judging process then began, and the speed of marking made it very obvious that high scoring entries needed immediate impact and appeal. A technically competent “good shot” was just not enough. Surprisingly, only one of my prints scored below the 20 marks required and my total was 210.
Spurred on by this, I decided to contact Christine Widdall (L&CPU) to take up the offer of a mentor. This is where the hard work started. In December 2013, I was contacted by Gwen and Phil Charnock (formerly Wigan 10 ) and asked to send about 40-50 images on a CD so they could look at my work. Oh boy, what had I done!I separated out my “Mock” images from the others, and naively thought they would just advise on the best ones to pick, and then maybe I would have to swap one or two for better ones. In reality, I ended up abandoning most of the high scorers from the mock, reworking others, and continually submitting new work. I was totally confused, so set up a folder with thumbnails of images next to e-mail print outs containing feedback. I re-worked as instructed, and eventually rejected the weaker images.
Twelve months had flown before I knew it, and another mock loomed. I took 10 different prints and again achieved the required score. Discussions on the day, however, resulted in further eliminations and more reworks. We were advised that the next adjudication being held at Ormskirk in August 2015 was filling up fast, so I applied and was entered. The digital versions of prints have to be submitted several weeks in advance, so it was imperative that my mentors appraised the actual prints before I made my final choice. I can’t stress this enough to anyone thinking of putting in prints. I met with my mentors in June and opinions changed again on seeing the actual prints. Several reworks were abandoned (all that ink and paper !!), and I was advised to change some mono prints to colour. Would this ever end I thought! My mentors were rightly advising me to reject any potential near misses. If all six judges think an image below the standard they score 2 marks, and this can result in a shortfall of 8 points to be made up. It only takes a couple of these to result in overall failure. I am also convinced that the bar has been significantly raised since my journey began 2 yrs previously.
The final decision was mine alone and agonising. The most difficult thing is to detach yourself from those prints. The judges take no account of how difficult it was to get that shot, how long you stood there, how many hours you spent on the computer or how much you like it!
In the end, only one print “Lil” survived from the first mock - one of my most consistently successful (and of course my favourite), I could not have gone on this journey without her! Five prints from the second mock were used, and the remaining four images were from the last season at our club.
At the beginning of July my DPI’s and entry form were sent, followed by the prints the following week. I chose to send them in advance rather than take them on the day just in case of last minute problems. I am glad I did this, as at least I could forget about them for a few weeks.
So the big day arrived, and there I am recording the scores. At the half way point I’m feeling uncertain, being only one point up. Sport is neither my forte or interest, and I was uneasy about 4 entries being from this genre. My first attempts at Polo, however, came up trumps after the break, when “The Second Chukka” galloped in to save the day with 25 points. “Lil” and the remaining prints didn’t let me down either as they all scored 23 points. Success!
The adjudication day was extremely well organised, and the venue Ormskirk High School was excellent. The team from the PAGB, L&CPU and the SRGB Group are to be congratulated on how smoothly things ran.
I would like to thank everyone that gave me encouragement and support along the way, and hope that some more members will take their own journey.
Well done Sue from your fellow members of Chester P.S.
Anybody else brave enough?