As I was going to be submitting a panel of my urban exploration images, I had many to choose from, but only a few were actually good enough.
I had a short list of about 30, and these I discussed with Margaret Salisbury. In these discussions, I picked up several things of immense value:
1) You have more control of how your images are seen by the assessors if you submit prints, especially if you’ve printed them yourself. I’d originally planned on submitting the panel digitally (on cost grounds) but I then ran headlong into the wall that is monitor and projector calibration. In other words, what I saw on-screen on my computer was not necessarily what would be seen once it was put through the RPS projector. Additionally, getting your prints done commercially can be a headache as they don’t know how you want them to look.
2) As the panel of prints will be displayed as two rows (normally a seven and an eight) then consideration needs to be given to the sequence of images (which I’ll discuss further in a future post) and consequently the right images need to be chosen that work together, rather than just the best fifteen.
3) Things to be considered are – having a strong opening image, achieving a balance to the panel, selecting the last image carefully so it acts as a visual ‘stop’, is there a story that can be told in the sequence, remove any images that are similar, etc.
This was a major eye opener to me, so I went away again and had another think! It put some very strong images out of contention, as I just couldn’t find a way to incorporate them into the panel.
I had to freeze my selection at a certain point, which was difficult as a) I was taking pictures on a regular basis, b) I felt I was getting better as a photographer, which meant that the pool of potential images I had to choose from was constantly expanding. But if I didn’t freeze the selection, I’d never ever submit it. So I froze it and set to work.
The actual order of the images is vitally important, to the extent that it could impact your image selection. The displayed panel has to be cohesive, and should ideally be symmetrical in shape so the placement of landscape and portrait format images needs to be considered.
My selection was quite broad in its range – I didn’t want to just include building exteriors, as that is only half the story, and the story telling aspect is the reason I entered the panel into the ‘Applied’ section. So I included a number of images that contributed a bit more to the party, such as the discarded payslip, the reflection in the mill-pond, the barbed wire topped Huncoat image – all strong visual storytelling elements that weren’t just broken windows and rubble. I’ll post the full set in a future post.