Judging the 2012 Summershow
After spending some time carefully looking around the two levels of the gallery that the Summershow occupies, the judges took turns discussing which images caught their eye and why. In the end they were left with a sizeable selection of prints to debate and discuss. One print singled out by Alison Jackson was ‘Shopping for Prom’ by Abbie Trayler-Smith. All judges agreed that the image was very well done, and was successfully able to communicate several emotions at once. “There are so many portraits that I like, it’s very difficult to choose between them. But this one in particular I find very sad but funny”, said Jackson.
Shopping for Prom, Shannon, age 15. From the series ‘The Big O’. By Abbie Trayler-Smith.
Another portrait, a favourite of Simon Roberts, was Nigel Grimmer’s ‘In the Woods’. Roberts said of the work, “I find this image so intriguing – who is the man behind the painting, and why is he there? There is a strong element of humour, too, in the naff-eroticism and the femininity of the man. The woods as a setting fits perfectly as well; it is commonly seen as being both romantic and a threat.”
In The Woods (Nigel, Painting, 2012). By Nigel Grimmer.
One quite surreal image of a face emerging from behind a painting, Marlies Plank’s ‘Breaking Through’, was a favourite of Gerry Badger’s and some of the other judges. Badger commented, “I really don’t know what it is about this image but I like it. I can’t tell you why but I do. It is just one of those images you are instinctively drawn to and have no explanation as to why.”
Breaking Through. By Marlies Plank.
Other prints up for discussion were Claudia Leisinger’s image from a cafe in Billingsgate fish market – judges were impressed with the composition and also the timelessness of the photograph; and Sipke Visser’s ‘Ponza Wedding’ – which, judges commented, almost resembled a Richard Billingham photograph and somehow seemed wrong but in a calculated way.
Business in the safe at Billingsgate Market, London, 2011. Its walls are lined with old photographs of porters and views onto the old Billingsgate fishmarket. From a series on the last of the Billingsgate porters. By Claudia Leisinger.
Ponza Wedding. Total mayhem one hour before an Italian wedding on the island of Ponza. The groom buttons his trousers and somehow everyone in show manages not to look into the camera. By Sipke Visser.
In the end we were down to four. ‘Freedom Seekers’ by Yusuke Harada drew much praise from the judges for being “a different take on a popular topic” and for its composition and also height from which the image was captured. ‘Boxer #7’ by Luca Sage (who was the recipient of the Best in Show last year!) was commended for being “wonderfully done” in composition and theme, especially for a subject that has been so overdone photographically. The image of the Notting Hill Carnival stabbing by Oli Scarff represented for the judges the extraordinary ability of a photograph to capture a fleeting moment of such intensity and importance. And yet while the print itself was very understated, the work was very deserving of an Honourable Mention.
Freedom Seekers. Rebel fighters kneel down to pray on the road to Sirte from Misrata in the outskirts of Sadada, Libya. Many rebel fighters set up a base in the town os Sadada in preparation for the military strategy for taking control of Sirte. By Yusuke Harada.
Boxer #7. From an ongoing series ‘The Boxers of Bukom’, based on a small village in Ghana renowned for its fighting traditions and phenomenal ability to produce international boxing champions. By Luca Sage.
Notting Hill Carnival Stabbing. By Oli Scarff.
There can be of course, only one winner, and the print that was unanimously voted for by the judges was Titus Simoen’s image from the series ‘Blue, See’. It was commented that the photograph really stood out because of its “sinister edge” and “cold staged element, emphasised by the contrast between the soft toys and the harshness of the metal and wood”. The image was seen as “very raw” and that “the photographer has captured the vulnerability and the contrast between what is going on in the frame and what is happening outside of it.” (More information on this work is available here).
Untitled from the series ‘Blue, See’. by Titus Simoens.
We now invite you to come and have a look at the Summershow as it was meant to be seen, in Foto8 Gallery, and vote for your favourite image which will be awarded with the People’s Choice towards the end of the show on 18 August.
We are very appreciative of the work of our judges this year: Gerry Badger, Phil Coomes, Alison Jackson, Simon Roberts and Ossian Ward. Congratulations to the winners and a huge thanks to all who have participated this year.