On Sunday 20th November I was one of the volunteers for the Southern Counties Photographic Federation (SCPF) Exhibition judging day. This was held at the Sparsholt Memorial Hall in Hampshire. In the last couple of years judging had been of only digital images and had been online.
Preparing the hall
The hall had to be set up ready for the judging of the prints. Luckily other volunteers had participated in the previous “in-person” and guided the rest of us on how to prepare the room. I was particularly fascinated as to how it was organised to prepare the prints for the judge, Eddy Lane ARPS DPAGB EFIAP APAGB. The tables were set out in a big horseshoe arrangement, on the tables were laid out all the club’s print boxes initially in alphabetical order with an A4 sheet placeholder.
The SCPF allocates clubs a number in order of joining the federation (or so I believe). This was the order in which the club print boxes were not moved to. All the boxes were then opened, and we sorted the prints in ascending order, taking care that all the prints were face down except for the last one to minimise any handling damages. At the opposite end of the hall to the tables with the print boxes the lightbox was ready along with other tables images and the volunteers after the images had been scored.
In pairs, we picked up all the #1s, #2s etc from the boxes, in the reverse order of the clubs and the six piles of prints were placed next to the lightbox.
Judging the prints
Now everything was prepared, Eddie took his seat ready for the judging of the prints to begin.
Once judging started we all had roles to play. One of us read out the image number (a combination of club and the image no), another put the image into the lightbox in front of Eddie and then after the scoring I took the image out of the lightbox. The image was given to another volunteer who write the score on the label at the back of the print. The prints were then sorted according to their scores, the 8s to 10s were retained on a table in piles. The prints with scores less than 8 were returned to their respective boxes by “runners” . Eddie’s scores were recorded on a laptop by another volunteer. These scores were used to score the results for the club competition that ran in parallel with the individual member competition. As noted above, I had the best spot in the house as I stood at the side of Eddie. This meant I was able to clearly see every print. After the first four stacks of images, we took a short break before restarting again. Then Eddie was asked to rank the individual images. and this gave him the opportunity to view these prints again. The 10s and 9.5s were brought back to the lightbox and he awarded 1st, 2nd , 3rd and highly commended to the prints. Very helpfully he gave a short commentary as to why the awards were given to each print.
Now we had to put all the retained prints back into their respective boxes. Before closing each box we had to do a check that there were indeed the correct six prints in each box!
The Digital Images
After lunch, the small meeting room, where we had eaten lunch, was set up to review all the 296 submitted digital images. I was surprised when one of my images from Farnborough Camera Club flashed up on the screen! This was a mono image of a cook taking a smoking break in Soho and it scored 8.
Eddie kept up a steady pace as he went through all the images. At the end the 10s and the 9.5s were viewed again and he awarded 1st, 2nd, 3rd and highly commended. Plus all the scores for the individual images were also used to rank the clubs just as for the morning’s print competition.
The day had started at 9 am and the hall was returned to its original state at 3.40 pm. All the prints will be arranged into a layout as specified by the clubs on the walls of the Young’s Gallery in Salisbury. This will be open on Saturday 7th June for everyone to see. This was my first time as a volunteer and I had not known what to expect. I did have a great time helping to make the event run smoothly and best of all I was able to see over 500 pictures judged.