Three Way Digital Battle 2021

Date Published 
Thu 11 Nov 2021

The only time in the year when all three island photographic clubs meet in competition is for the Three Way Digital Battle, the event overseen in rotation between the clubs on an annual basis. This year it was the turn of the IOM Photographic Society to organise the occasion, with guests from both the Western and Southern Societies providing lots of friendly banter and craic. As a highlight, the IOMPS had arranged for James Hardy CPAGB LRPS to judge the event. He is the current President of the Lancashire and Cheshire Photographic Union, the umbrella organisation to which the three island clubs are federated, so a very distinguished visitor and as this was his first time on island, ideally placed to be totally independent in his scoring.

James is a member of the Chorley Society, perhaps the most prestigious in the L&CPU and certainly one of the most active, and has considerable personal experience as a judge, something that became very apparent in a well balanced, eloquent and perceptive commentary. There were a total of 90 images in competition, 30 from each club, each to be marked out of a maximum of 20. However, it soon became apparent that a maximum mark was going to be a rare occurence (only three images during the whole evening), most images scoring between 13 and 16, images with blown highlights in particular (white areas in the image with no visible detail) quickly identified and marked down. Given the generally high standard of the entries, these scores were perhaps disappointing but the judge is always in the driving seat and the process the same for everyone

At the halfway stage, with 15 images from each club having been scored, the IOMPS was in the lead with 248 points, with Western on 221 and the Southern just trailing on 213. Images from Barry Murphy (a dog portrait) and Sue Blythe (Myanmar fishermen portrait) both scored a max 20, whilst Claire Scheuder and Sue Jones (both with 18’s) contributed to a strong first half for the IOMPS- and with such a lead, it looked like a done deal. However, in the second half, IOMPS members became nervous as Western in particular started to narrow the gap, with some excellent images from Dennis Wood, Dave Salter, Pat Tutt and John Keelan gaining good marks. Whilst Southern members Jim Gibson, Barry Hennedy, Peter Skears,and Brian Goldie provided a number of quality entries, none scored higher than 18, putting their club at a significant points disadvantage. So the second half proved much closer, Western scoring 218 to IOMPS on 210 and Southern on 208 – but IOMPS winning the overall competition thanks to that excellent first half for a total of 458, against Western on 439 and Southern on 421. Western gained some compensation with Dave Salter taking the award for the best individual entry with a monochrome entry, “Tough Mann”, a competitor in the event showing great character and determination in forcing his way through what looked to be a waterlogged and possibly muddy ditch.

With congratulations and thanks all round, there was general agreement that it had been a super evening and the event very well organised – and all were looking forward to next year’s event, to be organised by the Southern Society.

Chris Blyth