Courier Report 10th December 2021

Date Published 
Fri 10 Dec 2021

The meeting of the IOM Photographic Society this week was the occasion for the judging of the Second Open Competition, for both prints and digitally projected images.  Given the current covid situation, it was perhaps not surprising that our audience was rather smaller than normal.  Nevertheless, we were able to give a very warm welcome to our judge for the evening, Dennis Wood from the Western Society, a frequent visitor and popular with our members as he is a discerning and decisive judge with a good eye and quick to spot any technical weaknesses in the images being presented for comment.

Dennis confessed that judging  an open competition always presents difficulties as the format allows any subject for an image – abstract, composite, portrait, landscape whatever – all with differing technical and artistic requirements.  So one of his criteria was whether he would be happy to show the image without any change or further editing. It was also clear in the prints section that the quality of the printing and good control of tonality were priorities – any muddiness in the colours or visible artefacts soon penalised.

First up in competition were the colour prints, with Martin Sanderson’s image of his dog, “Bramble”, a well printed and sharp image of the dog head-on, the eyes focussed on the photographer.  Just a point behind was an image of a heron stalking its next meal by Geoff Atkinson and a shop window / street architecture shot by Ron Shimmin in what was a high quality entry.   In the monochrome prints, Ron Shimmin, always a top quality worker with beautiful control of the full tonal range in his prints, showed his skill with “Spiral Staircase” the winning image, albeit with a point deducted as Dennis would have cropped out a dark doorway in the bottom corner of the shot.  Sue Blythe’s “Ethereal Zebra” was the runner-up, a point behind, the foreground in particular being considered fuzzy and inconsistent with the subject.

The second half comprised the judging of the digital entries, again with a strong entry but where Sue Blythe proved unbeatable in both the colour and mono sections.  In the colour, a super shot of three pelicans in line was a deserved winner, the treatment quite artistic with what appeared good use of Photoshop in the foreground and background ensuring focus on the three subject birds.  Barry Murphy’s aptly titled cormorant shot “Head Above Water” vied with Steve Johnstone’s shot of an echinacea flower reflected in water droplets for close runners-up, both a point behind.   In the mono, Sue again showed her ability with a nicely constructed composite, “Whitby Goths” coming out in top place, two Goth figures seen against a silhouetted Whitby Abbey on the hills behind.  Geoff Atkinson’s “Just Leaving”, a sepia toned shot of a steam engine at Castletown, followed up in second position.

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 15th December which will be a Christmas social evening and includes the showing of an L&CPU Folio of images.  The Society meets at the St John Ambulance HQ on Glencrutchery Road in  Douglas on Wednesday evenings, all meetings starting at 7:00pm, and all open to the public (with a modest fee for non-members).  More details of the Society and its programme can be found on our website at   The Society gratefully acknowledges the support of the Arts Council.

Chris Blyth