PARK STREET’S - FIRST ROSE BOWL….Judged….Martin Patten…..4th Nov 2021

Date Published 
Sat 6 Nov 2021

Victory by a huge margin! Actually the biggest I can ever recall in a Rose Bowl round. Helped by our esteemed judge spreading the scores intelligently - that is, ours high and everyone else’s low - but nevertheless an encouraging start.

Many judges talk of not nit picking or pixel peeping as it’s become known, then they clearly do so. If his comments were anything to go by, Martin is no different. Halos quite impossible to see with the naked eye without enormous magnification and all sorts of tiny details and specks. That’s not to detract from some of his excellent cropping suggestions in particular on Sundowner by Ric Gillams when he went from landscape to portrait and Wow! To further make up for this slight infatuation with tiny detail he was certainly able to recognise some big pictures later on and did so dramatically.

The Park Street selectors had done well picking our entries. In exactly the same way as Harpenden had won our Landscape comp a few weeks before with a solid performance throughout their range of authors then likewise we hardly scored below a 17. He didn’t like John Jenning’s Red Chair nor his Boys Will be Boys but the rest, the other thirteen of ours including some more of John’s were all 17s or above. No other club came close to that level of consistency and added to this, four of the final half a dozen held back images were from our club! Jeremy’s “Perch Rock Lighthouse’ and ‘Midday Sun’ teamed with Chris Gilbert’s ‘Three Plus Three’ white pots and Jacqui Taylor’s ‘Richmond Park’ frosty dear shot. We had it wrapped up right then really. Both the other two finalists should be mentioned however as neither were what you might have expected to be front runners. However it must be said Martin argued a strong case for them. I love having my opinions reversed and he did just that.

‘Wet Race Day’ a petrol head’s mono-chrome, the sort we might have expected from our Terry Day. Classic racing cars in the paddock and stair rods of rain. The enthusiasts in huddles chatting under umbrellas. Illustrating the complete crankiness of the English car enthusiast’s obsession. Lots of lovely story but possible not as much as ‘Oblivion’ by Joy Rawlins. Here we had to put aside our distaste of the grim subject matter and focus on the reportage and the sad story. A down and out shoeless man flat on the pavement next to his begging bowl. His exposed flesh, face, hands and feet accentuating the vulnerability of the situation. This exists in the World in which we live and it was brave of both the author and Martin to highlight its importance. Many of us as pedestrians or photo judges may have passed by on the other side both literally and metaphorically! Thanks to both of you for highlighting this. Back up performances that gave us at Park Street our eventual 17 point lead and clear victory included 18s from John Jennings ‘Dark Horse’, Chris Gilbert’s ‘ Carder Bee’ and ‘Two Gate Keepers For the Price of One’, Jacqui Taylor’s Tano Bora, and Jeremy’s ‘Fantasy in Ice.’

Advance notice of images should allow judges time to compare their final score grouping with quality groupings. There never really needs to be an occasion when something slips in grossly too high or drops down too low due to a hurried mistake, so easy to make when judging unseen ‘on the night. ‘We have them for days to compare one with another. Then although Martins scoring was level and if it appeared not to be, he gave a detailed and full explanation of why it might have deviated from the conventional practice, there were two stark exceptions. The trouble was that they came one after each so further exaggerated the miscarriage of justice in both directions.

Both thankfully from the same club, Banbury so they cancelled one another out. However ‘Cluster of Tulips’ was never a 16 - possibly the weakest image of the night and the one that followed it Towanroath Mine a tastefully lit Cornish costal tin mine, warm low sun the whole bit, was worth far more than 15. Most puzzling. Even Martin could not convince me on these!

‘Oblivion’ and Jacqui Taylor’s (I nearly didn’t put that in) Deer in ‘Richmond Park’ were the stared items Martin making no secret of his love of Jacqui’s picture which of course he had seen before. He further endorsed and encouraged pictures that really mean something even though they may be uncomfortable by starring ‘Oblivion.’ This was Martin Patten at his most imaginative, enthusiastic and experimental. This is where it should be going perhaps we have to forgive him the Purple Tulips just this once.

Rose Bowl scores are normalised - a lot like Richard Osman does on House of Games. A win gives us five points a 2nd four and a 3rd three and a 4th two. We started well but the next round will doubtless involve sterner opposition.

Dave Hipperson