Licentiate Panel

Well it was an early start today, as I had to be in Hertfordshire by 9.30 am, and, for me, that means trekking around the M25, which, on a Monday morning can either be fairly smooth, or, more usually, an mutation of a car park.  Fortunately, it was fairly easy today.

The reason I was heading to Ware was to get a panel of photos judged to qualify me to become a Licentiate of the Master Photographers Association.  Of course, I got there far too early, and had to kick my heels for a while, whilst they were getting everything ready.  So an endless stream of coffee and cigarettes kept my nerves vaguely under control, whilst the sound of one of the lights they use to illuminate the panel exploding had me wondering which one of the judges had been shot.

So the panel is made up of twenty photographs displayed in two rows of ten,  ten photos must be five photos each from two sessions, and the other ten must be a selection from another eight sessions.  All must be paid work carried out in the last two years.

My photos looked like this


Well not quite like this, what you are seeing is the 8″x10″ photos, which I had printed on 10″x12″ paper and card mounted.  Laid out on the display boards it looks a lot different.  One of the other photographers who walked passed where they were on display told me that they looked great.  That settled my nerves a bit.  The judges dare all Fellows of the MPA, and an esteemed bunch they were.  Soon they went into the room and closed the door behind them, whilst I paced nervously in the reception area.  After about five minutes, I was called in to be told that I had passed and that it was an excellent panel.  Then came the most useful part, where one of the judges, Hoss Mahdavi, who runs a studio in Watford gave me some useful pointers.  One of the nicest things he said, was that he would be happy if any of these had been produced at his studio.  More useful was his criticism that there were too many head shots, and that some of the cropping was to tight.  He also said I should practice different lighting set ups and get more creative.  My secret weapon was, in case the judges didn’t like my photos, for my mentor to let them know that I was photographing in people’s homes and not a studio.  Fortunately that wasn’t needed.

After twenty minutes, I walked out, beaming from ear to ear.  What’s next?  Well I plan to start entering some competitions run by the MPA, and work towards submitting an Associate panel, which is a different kettle of fish all together.  For a Licentiate, you only need to show “competence in their chosen field of photography, show a thorough understanding of camera techniques, lighting and composition and ability to create merchantable quality photography.”  For Associate you need to show an “excellence in technique, lighting and composition. The candidate must show creativity and an understanding in the art of professional photography.”  Wish me luck!



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