Juried Submissions: What information do jurors really take into consideration?
Zapplication: Behind the scenes by Craig Nutt

Photo Comparisons and Descriptions - Now Optimize Your Submission

The previous post answered a question from Lora Hart about what information jurors really take into consideration.

She  also sent several photos for comparison.Today we will look more closely at the photos and the photo description. There are several issues to look at here.

Compare and contrast these photos. How does the quality of the photo affect your opinion of the work?

What do you think about the inclusion of technique within the photo description?

Lora Hart Communion PhotoLHart Lora Hart Communion MarshaThomas


Communion
.999 Metal Clay, Mica, Photograph, Pearl. Kiln fired, riveted.
Left Photo by Lora Hart.
Right
Photo by Marsha Thomas.


COMMENTS ABOUT THE PHOTO COMPARISON:
The photo left was taken by the artist.
Unfortunately the lighting reveals the "wavy" surface of the frame. This is distracting and the least attractive part of this pendent. From a technical standpoint, a frame like this should be cut from silver sheet or sanded to a smoother appearance (before riveting).

The completely centered pendant and background looks a little rigid and static. The pendant is sinking into the background.

In the professional photograph on the right by Marsha Thomas the spot of light on the lower right gives a strong shadow below the pendant. This clearly delineates the pendant, giving the pendant a presence and lifts the pendant off the background.

The extra lighting also makes the photographic element glow with a richer color. Since the photo is an important part of the composition, this extra emphasis is important.

COMMENTS ON PHOTO DESCRIPTION:
While a photo description (above) as written by Lora Hart would not get the artist eliminated, it focuses too much attention to the techniques.   This is intended to be constructive criticism to stress how important words can be in representing your work.

The photo description should include ONLY materials. Including "kiln fired", and "riveted" in the photo description is unnecessary.  I do  not recommend including any fabrication or technical information in a photo description (unless it is required).  Even then, a requirement for technical information is usually a separate box on a juried application.

The term photo in the description seemed a little unclear to me. I looked at the image and wondered why the photo had a brown tint. It was only after discussion with Lora, that she realized that she forgot to include Mica in the description (I added this later).

After we cleared up this issue, it brought something to mind. If a juror is confused about an image, it brings the work closer to a rejection. In this example, I didn't understand why the photo had a brown tint. Only after two emails, did Lora and I clear this up. During a real jury situation, communication with the artist is not a option. If anything in the photographic image of your work isn't explained in the description, most likely your work is out. Don't use the term mixed media for just this reason.

NEXT PHOTO COMPARISON:

Lora Hart Eidyl PleasurePhotoLH

Lora  Hart Eidyl PleasureMarshaThomas

 
Eidyl Pleasure.
Copper, .999 Fine Silver, Pearls. Hydraulically Pressed, Kiln Fired, Sewn.
Left Photo by Marsha Thomas.
Right
Photo by Lora Hart.

 

COMMENTS ABOUT THE PHOTO COMPARISON:

The photo taken by the artist on the left seems a bit out of focus. In a competitive jury situation, an out of focus photo is usually an automatic "decline".

So sorry to be so blunt, but if the photo isn't in focus, it sends a message that the artist/maker is:

  • not professional;
  • they are not focusing on their art  or craft;
  • the maker does not have professional quality photos because they don't care; and if the artist doesn't care, then the juror doesn't care;
  • = Decline.

Another problem with the photo on the left is that the color is lifeless. The completely centered pendant within the photographic frame looks somewhat flat and dull (especially in comparison to the photo on the right).

In the professional photo (on the right) by Marsha Thomas, the spot of light on the pendant and the background gradient helps to highlight the pendant. The focus is clear and sharp. The color of the copper looks luminous and rich. The metal shines. I like how the point of the pendant points diagonally into the corner which creates a more dynamic image. The pearls extend this movement into the corner of the frame filling the entire rectangle format of the image.

COMMENTS ON PHOTO DESCRIPTION:
The photo description should include only the materials, no technical process. 
Do not list technical process unless it is required information. I am not as familiar with other media, but jewelry/metals people seem overly focused on technical processes and it becomes a boring crutch. Skip it. Nada, never include any processes in your photo description. The only thing people or jurors want to judge is the final work, not how you made it.

Take out terms such as "Hydraulically Pressed, Kiln Fired, Sewn" from the photo description. This goes in a box for process or technique, not in the photo description. Avoid discussion of technique unless it relates directly to the theme.

NEXT PHOTO comment:

LoraHartConquistadorMarshaThomas
Conquistador
sterling silver, .999 Metal Clay, pearls,
silk. Fabricated, kiln fired, sewn.
Artist: Lora Hart
Photo Credit: Marsha Thomas

Lora Hart's ring (to the left) only has one professional quality image, so there is no comparison photo.   But  I do have a comment. The top of the ring and the background are too close to the same value.  I wish that there was more contrast between the ring and background, either the ring had a little more light on it, or the background were a lighter color.

COMMENTS ON PHOTO DESCRIPTION:

I would add the term "ring" to the title as in Conquistador Ring. Adding a clarifying word makes it very clear when the juror is looking at the work.

Of course, in this case, it is very obvious that this is a ring, but sometimes rings don't look this obvious. Same goes with a bracelet, pendant, necklace, teapot, book, cabinet, etc.

Hope this information is helpful. Do you have any photos like this to compare for ASK Harriete readers? Photos you took yourself and then had the same work re-shot by a photographer.

Thank you Lora Hart for sharing.  This has been a great comparison to review.

Harriete

Comments