Meet the Judges December 2016 January 2016 - part 1 of 1 2

by Charlotte Moss Published 01/12/2015


Adrian Henson has been judging print competitions since 2010, and last year used his experience to judge qualifications for the first time. Adrian has judged not only for The Societies, but also for WPPI, PPA and many other State Associations in the US. 'Every level and type of print competitions has intrigued me so far,' he says when I ask what his preferred types of competitions to judge are. 'The philosophical and procedural differences in how each organisation does things is very interesting to me. Every organisation's print competition has its own distinct personality.'

'There is an art to success in competition' Adrian Henson tells me when I ask how to produce the perfect image. 'Being successful is as much about strategy and knowing the system as it is about making a great image. When you have heard almost every objection that print judges have, and you have learned to overcome each of those objections, you have a very good chance of doing well. While I don't believe that there is a"perfect" image, I do believe that print competitions can give you the tools you need in order to learn how to create exceptional work.'


Like many judges, Adrian believes that entering print competitions will help to improve the standard of a photographer's work over time. 'Persistently entering and learning to succeed in print competitions gives you the gift of sight. Many untrained photographers do not know how to see, but once they learn what not to do, they can push the boundaries and break the rules in a way that creates real interest.' It's not just about the glory and celebration of winning awards either, Adrian's clients love that he enters and wins competitions: 'Awards do give clients confidence, and it helps them to know who they are working with. But while the awards and titles may appeal to some clients, it is the improvement in my work, as a result from entering print competitions, that gets the most attention from my clients.'

Judging other photographers' work also gives Adrian inspiration for his own photography: 'There are too many instances to comment on them all, but some moments do stand out. I judged an album several years ago by a photographer named Michael Barton. It was a set of black and white images of dead coneflowers and it was breathtakingly beautiful. I was astonished at how someone could take objects from their back yard and breathe so much life and meaning into them. It taught me that there are amazing subjects everywhere. At any point in time we are all within reach of more award-winning subjects than we could photograph in a lifetime - we just have to learn to "see" them.'

At The Convention in January Michael is giving two Masterclasses on producing images for the 20x16 print competition. 'While there are no guarantees that a masterpiece will be created, it's the processes and philosophies that we will cover that matter the most. I hope to show my entire process from conception to completion - we will design the shot, take the shot, process it, print it, self-judge it, fix any issues, reprint, mount, mat, and then finally judge the image in class. While it will be a challenge, I feel confident that we can make it happen!'

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1st Published 01/12/2015
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