Forum September 2014 competition results – Sticking to the Rules

October 26, 2014

Forum competition results September 2014 shortlist

Forum competition results September 2014 round –
Sticking to the Rules

I think you know by now how much I dislike photographers sticking to the rules. That’s why it pained me to put you all through this month’s competition, one in which I asked you to follow the holy rules of photography.

Anyone who tells you that you must always abide by the golden rules of photography has a lot to learn about what makes an interesting image. But that’s not to say you should remain ignorant of the rules. Things like the rule of thirds and the golden ratio are good training tools, but the real joy comes in working out all the ways to defy them. So with that in mind, this round serves as a bit of a limber-up for October’s round, where you get the chance to break the rules.

What I wanted to see here was a relatively good demonstration of a rule of photography but also images that displayed a streak of individuality and character. Many stood out but, as always, I must focus on just three.

Forum competition results September:

Contents not included
Prize applies to UK & EU residents only

Our first prize winner receives a Manfrotto Active Backpack I. The bag is a structurally sound, high-capacity yet compact rucksack that can also be used as a standard daypack. With its capacity to hold a DSLR system with 2 standard lenses, 15″ laptop as well as personal items and accessories. The bag has four zippered compartments with the top part designed for personal items and the bottom for photo gear.

Peaches, Crossing

Photo by Peaches

3rd Place
Peaches – ‘Crossing’

Let’s begin with Peaches’ explanation: ‘A tight composition and keeping the elements simple often adds strength to an image.’ That’s certainly true. Peaches has done something rather clever here. There are three elements that have created a sense of journey through the frame. The first is obvious: the foot. It is clearly about to take the next step into the frame. To the right we have the next element: the arrow. It is pointing in the direction that traveller must follow. To the left we have line markings on the pavement keeping our character hemmed in so they may not cross into another territory. There are other arrows present near the top, but they are beyond the border of travel. The grain and tonal range of the image remind me of a surveillance camera. There’s something dystopian about the shot. It’s like the markings are ordering the walker along their path. That’s my interpretation anyway. For all I know this is a shot of a businessman running along to punch a traffic warden in the teeth. But that’s the fun of shots like this. Everyone will see something different.

Helander, boat

Photo by Helander

2nd Place
Helander – zerodecimalthree

An explanation for this one should be unnecessary. Its virtues are clear. The compositional balance – a result of its position in the frame and the presence of the boat’s reflection – is a thing of beauty. The application of negative space, a technique I often find myself drawn to, works exceptionally well. It adds a haunted air to the image, something emphasised by the diffused and ghostly light. The horizon gives the image a sense of infinity and isolation. All things considered, it’s a great shot.

Avt, Moscow

Photo by Avt

1st Place
Avt – Rules and Exceptions. 35mm Film

It was difficult knowing whether or not to have this image by Avt as our winner. It certainly stands out from the crowd, but does it stick to the rules? The trick is to look beyond the abstract nature of the shot. If you see through that and to the image that lies beneath, we find a relatively straightforward shot of architecture. Everything is in its place. But on the surface we have a rather surreal view of the city. ‘This image is taken from my series Moscow City’, says Avt. ‘It was shot on 35mm film and a swing-lens panoramic camera following a workshop with the great Russian photographer A. Chegin.’ Avt has made rather unconventional use of the camera. The building looks like it’s falling through time and collapsing in the process. This is a fascinatingly different take on architecture photography and, as such, deserves attention.

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