PDI of the Year……PSCC….judged by Peter Prosser………..3.6.2021

Date Published 
Sat 5 Jun 2021

One might expect from a man as experienced at judging as Peter Prosser that he would have started occasionally to sound just a bit jaded or even bored when faced with yet another huge mountain of images to sort through. However no matter how many we throw at him he seems to be able to shrug of the pressure and blend an enthusiasm for the images with some friendly and useful critiques. Despite his wealth of experience he never lords it over us authors but sounds to be enjoying the images and genuinely interested in exploring the thinking behind them. Could be he’s made of the right stuff.

A “Best of Night” is never easy of course. Firstly it often involves rather a lot of images. In our case this year possibly slightly too many. (Might be an idea to put a cap on this.) However more difficult still is that there are unlikely to be many poor images. With obvious technical mistakes less numerous, finding ways to differentiate quality gets more difficult. I would resist the temptation to suggest that decision making becomes more subjective but it has to lean slightly in that direction. Fortunately we were lucky again. I have listened to Peter judge countless times I can still not deduce any particular preference in him for any one genre of photograph. Indeed it is constantly suprising how he can embrace and be positively amused, and even excited by, the ‘unusual’ stuff.

Throughout, Peter had followed to the letter what we required of him but still brought to the table his own depth and style of judging. Of course no scores as such were necessary so there could be no ‘misunderstandings’ as we have had recently. There were slightly over 70 images. Peter had been asked to give a top three and try to include something like 20% for further consideration and possible commendation. This he did perfectly. Politely putting a few more aside and then giving the remaining sixteen his full attention.

Jacqui Taylor received two Commendations for her ‘You Are Too Close’ and ‘Malalchite Kingfisher’ plus a Highly Commended for her ‘Cheetah’ shot taken in Kenya. Jeremy F-M only a Commended for his ‘Perch Rock Lighthouse’. Strewth !What do you have to do? However the ‘Escher’s Gloves’ creation was Highly Commended despite it running out at the top a tiny bit. His monochrome ‘A Rather Wet Day on Karlovy Most’ was a damp squib for me but Peter (and the last judge too) loved it and awarded it an HC. It must be me, but at least I received an HC for ‘Smile’. and two of Mrs Hipperson’s received Commended’s they being ‘Ghost Shoppers’ and ‘Simply Grasses.’ Chris Gilbert took another Highly Commended for his ‘Two Gatekeepers’.

Now to John Jennings! The‘Aerial Elle’ a classic John J. style dancer in action, lady half way up a wall sort of photo and his ‘Downhill’ cyclist received Commendations as did his excellent ‘But Still Talking’. This was a moment in time image which could have topped the whole evening if only for the quality of the shoes on display. However for John the night was not over.

The very top three saw another high place for Chris Gilbert with his wonderful piece of street photography/window display/market stall ‘art’ entitled ‘A Fashionable Image’ – this too could have won it. However John Jennings was still in the mix. Big time, as there were only two entries left and they were both his. The ‘The Red Chair’ was placed 2nd and ‘Boys Will be Boys’ came first and is our PDI of the year. So John was first and second and had three other commendations!

This large complex competition highlighted the difficulty in deciding a single overall winner. Peter did well here but it’s an impossible task. He was the first to appreciate how difficult it was to judge so many different types against one other. For instance it was impossible for him to avoid the odd remark that might jar when the contest is selected from a wide range of events. An image which has qualified through the monochrome channel can be criticised as possibly working better in colour as the judge is not privy to its journey to this point. Similarly qualifiers from the creative night might also have been hard for him to place as possibly our best Kitchen, Trees, and Red night might have been.

Bearing those hurdles in mind I feel Peter made an outstanding job and finished spot on time.

He is coming back to judge our John Woodworth Trophy night in December.

Dave Hipperson.

Comments

We had 72 images this year - "possibly too many"? Well, we had additional competitions to fill gaps in the programme where (in the absence of Covid) we had planned members' meetings, etc. Thus "Trees", "Red" and "In the kitchen" provided 9 placed images that were automatically included. Additionally, we decided to try to raise the profile of the John Woodworth competition to an "elite" event by allowing the top 3 images in each of the 3 genres to qualify for image of the year. This was in the hopes of encouraging more entries - it didn't work this time, but maybe the whole Zoom business put some off. That introduced another 9 qualified images. Last year the JW trophy didn't allow any images to qualify. So we had 15 qualifying from League R1-R5, 15 from various "genre" competitions, and 18 more as described. 

Then we had the authors' choices, another 24 images (2 per author). Personally, I had quite some difficulty deciding which 2 to choose (I wanted to include about 8!!). Now, in the "good old days" we would have had more than 12 authors providing their chosen images - another 9 would have given us the same number of images as this year. The authors' choices are an important part of this process. The one time I've won PDI of the year was with an image that originally scored a 16 in competition. This year, 6 of the 16 Commended or better images were authors choices.

The winning image, "Boys will be boys", came from the John Woodworth competition (where it was not 1st!) - would John Jennings had chosen it as an authors' pick if had not qualified automatically?