LANDSCAPE PDI…PARK STREET CCC…..with Michael Lurie…..15.4.2021

Date Published 
Thu 15 Apr 2021

It shouldn’t be astonishing when a visiting judge for a set subject night actually works to the specification we supply him. It shouldn’t be but it is and it was! Michael Lurie who came to us for our Landscape Night simply did as we had asked even down to the scoring range. Didn’t seem to strain him in the least, well within his scope. What has been the problem for so long? Thanks Michael. Rather suprisingly some leading club figures then found their images scored down heavily for not complying fully with our own rules including the Chairman himself. In the print section particularly Terry learned the hard way that it is probably not a good idea to draw attention to the fact that your images might be borderline Landscape by calling them either Drainage Ditch or Old Tree and Copse!

Michael talked coherently about our images. I don’t recall hearing anything which might have been ‘obvious’ like describing the picture we could all see. Indeed in many cases his observations were astute sometimes unusual and in many cases very detailed. This of course was in slight contradiction to his opening suggestion that he preferred the instant live judging that the CACC had been using up until the virus problem threw us all onto Zoom. Furthermore he had a personality which came over through the screen so worked well with Zoom. (All that work at Independent Telephony Solutions must have done that!) You know the movies you have enjoyed and never looked at your watch? Well so it was with Michael’s delivery.

Thirty three PDIs. Noteable18s included John Jennings ‘Portree Harbour Reflections’ which he thought needed a skim off the top and bottom, ‘Long and Winding Road’ from Sue Hipperson which was a tad over saturated and also her ‘Breeze over Padarn’ maybe slightly over worked. Chris Gilbert’s ‘Undredal, Norway’ received a 19 straight away. The remaining high placers were held back. Unlucky to not be amongst them was undoubtedly Jeremy’s ‘Swaledale Evening Light’ credited with a mere 17.

So the final round as it were, saw four images in the running. Dave Hipperson’s ‘Scottish Silver Sand’ got a 19. Michael was seeing things in this that even the author hadn’t! Sue Hipperson’s panorama of the Menai Straights entitled ‘Sun and Snow-donia’ received a 20 and 3rd doubtless encouraged by the fact that it was truly a landscape. The slightly more understated ‘Petworth Park’ from Chris Gilbert also a 20 and 2nd place. To make up for the unfortunate score for ‘Swaledale’ Jeremy topped the night with ‘Watch out for Bears” with it’s exquisite back drop of snow clad glaciers.

Of the prints or rather the larger resolution images (twice the size) six images were held back and the other high scores coming from two of David Butler’s moody “Approaching Winter Shower” and London Colney Lakes as well as Dave Hipperson’s Coombe Martin Estuary these all received 18. Chris Anderson being a bit unlucky with a pleasant enough ‘scape of St Ives receiving a slightly harsh 16. The top tier including a very imaginative angle on Durdle Dor from Chris Gilbert that got a 19 straight away and six others came up for a second look. Dave Butler scored well again with “View from Ayot Greenway” as did Sue Hipperson with “Hartland Quay” both 19s. Dean Tyler made a rare appearance with his enigmatic ‘Trebar with Pastels’ also 19. The top three finalists all scored full marks “A Moment For Calm Reflection” another of Jeremy’s Colne Valley Lakes collection - as always great use of the light, came in 3rd. Chris Gilbert was second with his ‘Roseberry Topping, Yorkshire’ An image clearly ‘good enough to eat’. Dean Tyler’s ‘Sands of Time, Holywell Bay, was the clear winner. A beautiful study of evening light over wet sand with all tastes catered for and boxes ticked.

At the start of the evening Michael and intimated these reservations about pre-viewing images explaining that he preferred the spontaneity of seeing them for the first time on the evening. However by the end it was quite obvious he had examined quite a few of ours meticulously and been able to comment more fully as a consequence. Here we had a judge that seemed to understand our definition of the genre or at least stick to what we had asked him to do. Despite that it was being suggested at the end (fortunately out of his earshot) that in future we might just drop any spec. and let the judge decide. No! Do that and even we wont know what we are supposed to be photographing. Michael Lurie judged this to our definition and spread the scores out. Seems some people are never happy.

We are not unique however. The other night I was asked to score down to 10. Happy to do so, although I queried this three times before I started. I then ensured only one person got a 10 and only one other got an 11 and even only two got 12s. End of the night everyone seemed happy but the Chairman cut in to say he thought I had been a bit harsh! Absolutely no pleasing some people. Please don’t let that be us.

Dave Hipperson