Canteen Magazine: Naked Judging

I was very intrigued with Canteen Magazine’s Naked Judging: The 2012 Canteen Awards in Photography. So, I entered eight images from my “Where the Cowboys Roam” body of work, all created using a Kodak “Fun Saver Panoramic 35” disposable camera. Their contest featured some very different ways of looking at a competition. Mainly their transparent partnership with all of the photographers entering the contest, every entrant receives an open critique, a live, longer form critique for the finalists, and a non-profit model for entry fees. Sounds good…

There were 230 submissions, of these entrants, it was narrowed down to 26. I did not make it past this point…

This is what the judge had to say about my submission:

“There’s a nice old Western vibe here. It’s meticulously crafted–skillful work. But if you’re going to use panorama, I think that it should be more provocatively used. In at least some of the shots there should be an activity, or something of note, happening on each end that requires you to use it. Otherwise, I don’t bother looking at 50% of each photo, and only regard what’s in the center. Also, I’m not a fan of the book-ended edges, which negate the panoramic view for me.”

In my opinion the comments by the judge were clever and flippant. Although the judge starts out with positive words, I disagree with the remainder of what the judge said, not because they were negative, but rather because they didn’t give me a good enough reason why. My guess is that the judge is young, or not experienced in the arts. I would also venture to say the judge didn’t look at my submission fully, as I see lots of “activity” in the images. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion… And I very much respect that! This is precisely why I made the judges comments public (I wanted to continue the transparency). I have had this body of work before industry professionals at Photolucida, FotoFest, and Review LA. They have been overwhelmingly positive in their response. I have had two scathing negative critiques in my life, both by photographers and not by curators or gallery owners. A few of them didn’t like the rebate edge, but virtually every reviewer stated I utilize the panoramic frame exceptionally well. I don’t expect everyone to love my work. If this were true, my art would be nothing short of mediocre.

What do you think?

Here are the images I submitted:

01_Deon_Reynolds

02_Deon_Reynolds

03_Deon_Reynolds

04_Deon_Reynolds

05_Deon_Reynolds

06_Deon_Reynolds

07_Deon_Reynolds

08_Deon_Reynolds

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4 thoughts on “Canteen Magazine: Naked Judging

  1. Deon Reynolds is obviously a sensitive and excellent photographer. It is good he has shared with others. I would agree with his criticism of the judge’s comments.

    As an old photographer past 77 years old my observation is that Reynolds has likely had positive influences from a superb teacher.

  2. Hi Deon. Thanks for taking the time to post your response. This is the sort of thing we were hoping for via our transparent methodology. We absolutely didn’t want our judges’ critiques to be the final say on what-is-good-art. We merely wanted to shed a light on the (highly) subjective methodologies employed in such contests–where narrowing hundreds of submissions to a dozen necessitates absurd amounts of persnickety subjectivity.

    For the record, the judge responsible for those comments about your submission was Anthony Goicolea. (Is 41 considered young or old these days?).

    Thanks again for participating. Please email me if you have any suggestions about how we should do this differently next time.

    • Hi Steve, Thank you for taking the time to read my post, and responding. I am in no way hurt or take Anthony’s comments as the final word, to the contrary, Canteen has opened my eyes (I applaud your efforts!). I have found this entire process to be educational and highly entertaining. I have tried to continue the transparent methodology via facebook and some on-line photographic groups. Unfortunately, I have had few responses, one being a bombastic diatribe (very strange). I had hoped this would further open dialog with industry professionals… I still find this experiment in open critique intriguing, regardless of outcome. Thank you very much for this opportunity, I look forward to continuing this open, transparent, sharing process!

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