At the recent workshop held to discuss the program for the CPS for next year, the question was raised as to whether we want to continue with the Annual Aggregate Competitions. Currently there is an A Grade Aggregate competition and a B Grade Aggregate competition with trophies and modest cash prizes for winners and runners-up.
Advantages of the removal of the Aggregate Competitions that were raised are that it could remove any feeling of disadvantage or disincentive for members who join part-way through the year or who miss a competition for whatever reason. It could also give us the freedom to be more flexible with the competition formats. Some see that Aggregate Competitions promote a competitive culture that is at odds with the sharing and learning culture to which we apsire and does not encourage creativity and risk-taking in image making. On the other hand, the Aggregate Competitions could be seen as providing a valuable incentive for sustained and ongoing participation over the year.
One suggested change, which has already been agreed to by the committee, is to rename the event our Exhibition Night, rather than the Competition night.
Members said they feel that having an external judge who provides comments and a score on submitted images is helpful and motivating and they wish to retain these. Thus the model being proposed is that we continue with the (renamed) Exhibition Nights where we retain A and B grade, scoring out of 5 and Image(s) of the Night. We plan to continue with the Comment Only category. Images scoring 4.5 and 5 would continue to be eligible for Gallery 9 and Images of the Night would continue to have a free entry into the Image of the Year competitions. We would also publish the scores for each image each month. The only change would be that we would not publish cumulative Aggregate Scores and not make awards to the photographers who achieve the highest aggregate scores each year. High achievement in all CPS Competitions would continue to be taken into consideration when deciding on the award of the Photographer of the Year.
In deciding this issue we need to consider the type of society we wish to be and if the Aggregate Competitions are consistent with our current goal to “help members achieve their photographic potential” through “sharing and learning.”
We wish to recognise and reward photographic excellence and achievements within the society. We will continue with the Photographer of the Year, the Russell Hunt Award for service to the Society, the Annual Photochallenge awards as well as the Image of the Year awards. We would like to consider some new awards and seek member input as to what these could be. For example, we could have awards for Student Photographer of the Year, Most Improved Photographer and so on.
The committee has agreed that the proposal to remove the Aggregate competitions while retaining other elements of the scoring system be discussed at upcoming Workshops (September 20th and October 18th) so that both supporters and opponents of the idea have a chance to have a say to other members. We will then run a poll from October 19th to 28th (responses to a dedicated email address monitored by a Returning Officer) where every financial member of the society will have a vote. The committee will then make a decision based on the results of the poll and the results will be announced at the November Competition Night on November 1st. This will give all Members an opportunity to have a voice and ample notice of the procedures for the Exhibition Nights for 2017.