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The Spike or Victoria College Review 1936



Mr. E. T. Robson kindly consented to judge the photographic entries for Spike this year, and has commented favourably on the general standard of the work submitted. Mr. Robson, who has addressed the Camera Club on occasions, has given us the observations printed below on the competition entries.

I have based my judging on the following points:—Title, Conception, Composition, and Technique.

Title.—To me the title of a picture means a great deal. I liken it to a letter one may write a well-composed sensible letter, put it in an envelope and post it without an address—I need not tell you any more about that letter. So with a picture unless it has the correct title it fails in its object.

Conception.—Conception links up with the title. A picture must show an idea, an emotion, a theme, a thought, a feeling. And the expression of one or more of these is necessary in your attempt to make a picture.

Composition.—It matters little how good, or how simple, your material may be, it is left to your ability to handle that material to the best advantage to secure a pleasing composition.

Technique.—As is well understood, good technique involves the correct handling of all your photographic materials.

My awards are as follows:—

First—The Student.

Second—Street Corner Gossip.

Third—Broken But Unbowed.

The picture of The Student has been well handled, there is no doubt about the title being suitable, and there is no elaboration of detail. The light on the book is somewhat hard and the spacing would have been improved if the photo had been taken horizontally instead of vertically. As it is, 1½ inches can be trimmed off the top with advantage, while the upright pipes in the corner are unfortunate.

"Street Corner Gossip" is a good attempt at an unusual subject from a high viewpoint. The gossiping group of figures is well placed on the kerb, while the curving line of the pavement leading up to the figures strengthens them. The lorry in the left corner fills up an otherwise empty space as does the shadow of the building but the car behind the power line post is somewhat disturbing. The "Broken But Unbowed" print is a little too heavy though the tree stump is very well placed and claims the correct attention. Owing to the print being too heavy, a number of the fine tones in the landscape are lost. My title for this picture would have been, "Where Once the Forest Stood."

The title of the picture, "A Placid Summer" is not convincing as the tilling of the land is more associated with spring than summer. The principal focus is on the near foreground instead of on the team of horses, which are placed too much head on, and should have been photographed from a position more to the right. The mass of light clouds behind the team would have occupied then a position more to the right and this would have given better balance for as it is, the right-hand side of the picture is empty and featureless. This picture contains almost the best picture material in the competition, but has not been used to the best advantage.