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Thursday, June 11

Held to a higher standard?

Harman/Ilford are inviting entries for their annual student photography competition. Entrants are asked to submit images that inspire or remind them of a scene from a movie. There are two categories - darkroom and digital. Submissions can be made in both with no restrictions on the number.

The bit that raised a Roger Moore eyebrow with me was the fact that the darkroom entries must be printed by the photographer but the digital entries can come via some third party inkjet printer. In other words, the "analogue" photographer has to take the photo and make the print but the digital imager only has to click the button on his DSLR. He doesn't even have to click another button to produce a print.
At least, that's my reading of the relevant paragraph from the press release:

Entries must be taken on ILFORD or Kentmere film and self printed in the darkroom on ILFORD or Kentmere black and white paper, or captured digitally and printed on HARMAN PHOTO CRYSTALJET inkjet paper.

So, those entering the darkroom competition have to be what I'd call, for the purposes of this competition, complete photographers but the digital students get a free ride when it comes to the print. Why isn't the film entrant allowed to have someone print his photograph in the darkroom? Or why isn't the digital entrant required to wrestle with the potential problems of colour space, metamarism and blooming in producing a print?

Harman/Ilford seem to have the blinkers on here to the extent that they're not even aware of this potential issue. Michelle Parr, Harman technology education liaison UK, said “We will be looking for images that stand out from the crowd in that they are imaginative, well shot and printed to the highest standard, and meet the conditions of the brief. As well as image content, the judges will also examine the quality of the print itself.” My italics.

It seems a tad unfair to me - or perhaps Harman/Ilford feel that it's OK to hold film photographers to a higher standard? The competition is demanding more from the analogue students for the same prize - £100 worth of the company's products and a certificate.

The "Saturday Night At The Movies" competition will be accepting entries up to January 31 next year. Full details of the competition including “The Brief”, terms and conditions, and entry forms, as well as posters, can be downloaded from:


DavidM said...

Interesting. They don't actually specify what you say, but they don't exclude it either. Can you print with one button-push from a camera? Perhaps whoever wrote the rules made too many assumptions. They do exclude film capture with digital printing, which can be done using all Ilford materials.
Maybe a stiff note to the organisers would clarify things.

Joe V said...

There are commercial darkrooms that print onto silver gelatin paper, even from a digital file. So if you specify that they use Ilford paper, it should be permissible, correct?