Forum competition results for April 2013 round – Framing the Shot

April’s forum competition was designed to test your ability to work with one of the most fundamental building blocks of photography – framing. A frame is there to help draw the viewer’s eye towards the central subject, whatever that may be. Framing is the first stage in leading us towards that other vital visual component – composition. If you fail at the first stage of framing, then everything else collapses.

There were no real rules here. Your frames could take any form you wanted and I’m pleased to see that some of you bent the rules, experimented and tried to do something a little bit different.

Samsung has kindly provided a 32GB SDHC for the winner, and 16GB SDHC cards for the
second and third places. First and second places also get an ‘Amateur
Photographer Loves My Pictures’ mug.

Standout images included DaveBen’s image of Hunstanton Lighthouse. The light in this image is of particular note – it’s at once eerie and inviting. The archway perfectly frames the structure, a visual element that draws us in even more. However, the items in the foreground almost prevent us from moving forward. It creates a nice push-pull tension within the shot.

I’m also particularly fond of Emmie-Lou’s image of what, I assume, is a glass chess piece. It’s a neat little attempt at taking on a common theme (magnifying the background through an object, such as glass or a raindrop) and it also works incredibly well with this month’s theme. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what Emmie-Lou enters into our future rounds.

MartyG has produced an interesting shot. It’s a simple image that utilises light and shadow. The careful framing and timing has paid off immensely. The presence of the grill in the top-left corner is a nice little inclusion. It’s a subtle element that helps to hold everything together.

Special mention must go to a rare entry from forum moderator Chris Cool. His portrait of the Eric Morecambe statue in Lancashire is a fantastic interpretation of the brief. Have a biscuit and a cup of tea. You’ve earned it.

3rd Place
The Needle – Skidawman

This shot from Skidawman works for the simple reason that it doesn’t, at first glance, fit within the brief. It would be very easy to view this shot as a simple exercise in still life and exposure. But look closer and the image reveals itself in a beautiful way. When we put this round together, we wanted to see frames used in unconventional ways and that’s just what Skidawman has done here. The frame is the object itself. The light falls on the object and a shadow lands on the surface – another frame is created, one that contains the shadow of the needle.

The strange perspective and use of light and shadow reminded me very strongly of Hungarian painter and photographer Lázló Moholy-Nagy. While that photographer’s imagery never quite looked like this, there is most certainly the spirit of that artist’s work on show here.

2nd Place
Derelict Dreams – Hellwing71

We should all know by now that I’m a big fan of images of people standing around looking a bit lost in weird places – probably because that’s how I feel when I open my eyes every morning. This is a great shot from Hellwing71. I really like it but I’m not sure if I quite know what to say about it. That may sound ridiculous but sometimes an image can just make you feel something. That’s the reason we read books, watch films and listen to music. We’re constantly searching for someone who shares our feelings about the world, but who, unlike you, has discovered the necessary means to communicate it. It’s a lovely, dreamlike shot.

1st Place
Skylight – Clive

One of the things I love about judging the forum competition is that it often forces me to focus on the kind of imagery I would perhaps overlook in my everyday viewing of photographic works. I may not be the biggest fan of architectural photography (my point of reference pretty much begins and ends with Judith Turner) but I know a good shot when I see one.

I’m not going to wax lyrical about the graphic nature of black & white photography and its ability to reduce images to their most basic components – you can look back at some of the winners from previous rounds for that. But I will say that Clive is clearly someone with a keen eye for the interaction between light and form.

The exposure is just right too. The obvious thing would have been to expose for the highlights, which would have resulted in losing the shadow detail in the interior of the shot. However, Clive has chosen to retain this and it has given us a very, very subtle sense of context. As a result, we can place ourselves in the image and appreciate it even more.

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AP Forum competition results – sponsored by Samsung