The 2017 "Sente·Antu Cup" International Photo Contest — Interview with the Judges - Global Photography

The 2017 "Sente·Antu Cup" International Photo Contest — Interview with the Judges

Our 2018 "Sente·Antu Cup" International Photo Contest is now calling for entries, so start culling your best 30 photos and don't forget to submit your work by October 18th (GMT+8, Beijing local time). Judges for this year's contest include some of the world-famed photographers, along with the Global Photography team. Today, our judging panel is here to dish out their advice and to give you their best words of wisdom when it comes to submitting to a Global Photography contest!

WITH REGARD TO THE PHOTOGRAPHS, WHAT'S YOUR OPINION ON ALL THOSE ENTRIES, IN QUALITY, THEME AND PHOTOGRAPHIC SPIRIT?

Aleksandar Plavevski: My general opinion is that we saw a lot of great work, creativity and different type of photography while judging. I can say by looking at that work that many of photographers spent significant amount of time doing their stories or collections which can be essential in many cases in my opinion. I was surprised by some themes from China even though I live here for five years now and I learned a lot about some places. This only reminds me how big in reality China is and how many magnificent stories are still hidden inside it. Most pleasant surprise is themes that were made in some ordinary places, most likely in neighborhood where photographer lives (zoo, hospital, store, etc) with some different approach. I know this is much harder to do compared to remote places where not many photographers have been, and it demands much more creativity. Personally, I have this challenge on daily bases.

Twins' Sporting Dream. Photo by Yuan Peng

Now I have to mention also some of works that didn't meet requirement's and I was disappointed in some way. I can divide them in two general groups. One is who had brilliant idea but technical aspect of photography was very poor, and the other with perfect technical photographs but theme was boring or seen many times before. This proves that it's not all about photo gear in consumer market that big camera companies want to drag us in. In fact, there is very little in it. Megapixels, speed and sharpness of the lens cannot substitute for lack of good ideas. This brings me to belief that there is good chance for first mentioned group and I would like to see their progress if they work hard, but I am not so optimistic about the second group. Abuse of Photoshop and other editing software is global problem now all around the world, even on the biggest contests and unfortunately.

Still Life. Photo by Zhang Jinyi

Michael Ryan: Overall the quality is very good. There were a few excellent entries and a lot of very good entires. I think the main problem is that there areso many that 'very good' is not really good enough in this competition. You have to be outstanding to get noticed in such a large selection of images. And with such a large number of photographers there were many similar themes which made it difficult to choose which entry on the same theme, for example there were many travel photographs of Tibet and Xinjiang of similar quality.

AS A MEMBER OF JURY, WHAT ELEMENTS OR ASPECTS OF THOSE CANDIDATE WORKS DO YOU MAINLY FOCUS ON? AND DO YOU HAVE ANY PREFERRED CATEGORY?

Aleksandar Plavevski: Story and atmosphere in photos. As my personal work is committed to documentary and journalism as main aspect I am focusing on that part. Being not only photographer myself, but also son of photojournalist and journalist, storytelling is inside me. We all did some commercial or fine art work but for me it can't be compared to a good storytelling. Documentary and truth is an idea and goal when photography was invented in history so I keep this old school principals in my mind. When I was a student while working in local newspaper it becomes that I was the last generation in photojournalism that had dark room and developing process as part of their daily work. I keep this principles in my mind at all time while photographing or when like in this case watching other colleagues works. In the other hand I try to stay open for the new things as I want to be open-minded and embrace new things which are worthy in my opinion.

Ingenuity: Superworkers behind the Legend of Kiln. Photo by Yuan Peide

Michael Ryan: Originality and dedication were the key elements I was concentrating on. With so many good entries the normal photographic qualities such as composition and exposure were not good enough to just get the selection on. The outstanding entires were ones where either the photographer had a very original subject or a unique or original way of looking at an old subject. Also the outstanding photo-journalistic (for example the brick makers or the rice producers or even the dead baby monkey entries) were strong because the photographer had stayed a long time with them and really looked in depth.

Monkey Died Young. Photo by Liang Yilong

ANY OTHER ADVICE YOU WISH TO GIVE TO THOSE ENTERING THIS YEAR’S CONTEST?

Aleksandar Plavevski: Forget newest photo gear and fancy cameras, it will not substitute for lack of ideas. Best work here was made very simply but with good technical knowledge and craftsmanship.

Wait. Wait a lot. When you are frozen in cold weather or roasted in hot weather or hungry, tired and feel that you can't wait any more for your perfect photo, pull some strength out and WAIT a little more. It usually pays off. Even if it doesn't that time next time will and you will have a great story to tell.

Winging Swiftly. Photo by Liao Jianhui

Michael Ryan: This is a tough competition with many skilled photographers with a wide variety of subjects, so you need to be outstanding and not just very good. Try to be original and striking with your selection. Each photos has to stand out in quality and catch the attention of the judges who are viewing many, many photos and possibly on similar themes.


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