Scoring & Critiquing

Critiquing/judging (and scoring) of images

The questions are often asked in our club… Why, how and what for?
The following is written by one of our members to ‘answer’ some of these age-old questions…

Double double, toil and trouble…

In an effort to shed some light on the arcane world of judging and critiquing, an area of possible concern has been identified – the disparity which is sometimes evident between a judge’s comments and the subsequent score. These two components may even appear to be at odds and I hope that this explanation of the process might foster a better understanding of it.

1. Before the Exhibition Night, all images are viewed by the wider judging group with DPIs given a score out of 15 by each judge. Those individual scores are discussed and justified to ensure that the most accurate assessment of the image’s merits has been attained. In the process, it may be the case that a judge revises their own score up or down.

2. The figures are then averaged and a final agreed-to score for each image is recorded.

3. When the images are subsequently displayed before the members and critiqued by a single judge on Wednesday evening, the comments we hear are purely their own and may not necessarily reflect the views of all the other judges. The comments may lavish praise on an image or they may linger – as a mosquito drawing blood – on…ahem…areas of concern. Whatever, the comments are those of the person out the front.

4. After the judge has sat down to either catch bouquets or avoid brickbats, the afore-mentioned average score is given.

Now here’s the rub – that score may be a natural follow-on from the comments, OR it may not. While that natural follow-on is the ideal, the alternative is nevertheless still a possible outcome of the process and should not necessarily be viewed as a shortcoming. Rather the process involves two discreet though related components: a score determined by all judges and a critique devised by just one.

5. With mono and colour prints, the process is a little different because it is only on the exhibition evening that the print itself, in all its lambent glory, can be viewed. So, while a digital version would have been discussed earlier, a final score is given in real time on the night: three judges send their scores to the recording table where they are immediately averaged and announced.

But yet again, that average score may or may not be a full reflection of the comments just given.

5. It is important that should you wish any clarification or further information on the merits or otherwise of your images, then all you need do is speak directly with the particular judge concerned. I know that they would relish the opportunity!

Greg Pitty