Write Up by Tony Faragher
The Western Photographic Society has a new Photographer Of The Year following its annual end-of- season contest to choose the best images and the most successful contestants who participated overthe past eight months.
After an entertaining night in which a stand-in judge appraised dozens of prints and digitally projectedshots, mono and colour, a new member to club, David Salter, was awarded the coveted top prize after producing consistently high quality work throughout.
Dave may be new to the Peel-based Club, but is a classy and experienced cameraman. He is a member of the Southern Photo Club, and, with fellow Southern stalwart John Keelan, joined the westerners for the first time last September.
Both men have produced highly praised work throughout the season, their images being consistently placed or highly commended during the dozen or so competitions the Peel club runs during the autumn and winter months at their Peel Legion Club venue each Thursday night.
As if to shadow this trend, one of John’s entries in the Annual Open contest took arguably the second highest honour of the night, being adjudicated the best overall image, ergo the most successful entry over the 2014-15 season.
Open comps like this are split into five classes, smaller A4 prints, larger A3, mono then colour, and digitals (DPIs) mono then colour. Realistically, competitors must enter the maximum number of five images, but can choose any category to put them in.
As has been his trend throughout, Dave chose to spread his entries across the five classes, and it became clear early in the night, that all were scoring very highly by one of the island’s leading pro photographers, Steve Babb.
Steve was an eleventh-hours stand-in judge following another’s indisposition. In the event, it was later considered that Steve was one of the best judges the club had had for quite some time, giving each entry considered and valuable critique and advice on improvement.
This highlight of the club’s calendar gives its members the chance to bring out their winning images from earlier comps. So it was with Dave Salter’s work, the judge highly praising and scoring a colour print of a surfer in Port St Mary, an earlier winner in the Sports Competition.
Another high scoring local shot by Dave was of a storm scene in Castletown Harbour, and this was another that had done well in earlier comps and provided high marks again.
Steve Babb, who runs a highly successful portrait studio in Union Mills, in tandem with weddings and sports/TT pro coverage, provided entertaining appraisal of over eighty images in his selection of the winners across the five classes.
He had earlier judged a competition for the Douglas-based IOM Photo Society, and whilst not comparing standards, he considered the selection of images sent to him by the westerners to be top quality work.
Appraising firstly the smaller A4 prints, Steve chose a pattern shot of a rusty loch gate by Dennis Wood as his winner. A well lit image of St Johns by Peter Leadley was second.
In the A3 colour prints a pin-sharp image taken in Santorini by Chris Nicholls was the winner, whilst the winning A3 mono print was taken alongside a lagoon in Venice by John Keelan.
Doreen Kelly’s recent travels to Iceland resulted in her beautiful image of a lonely church in a crisp flat frozen landscape being selected as the winning mono DPI.
Finally, in the colour DPI section, the cute factor of a seal pup, sitting on colourful shingle and
seemingly smiling for the camera, won for Gordon Corrin. In second place was perhaps the most
visually impactive image of the competition of the surfer in Port St Mary by Dave Salter.
Steve’s scoring gave a total of 82 marks out of 100 and first place to Dave Salter, 81 marks and joint second place to Chris Nicholls, Dennis Wood and John Keelan. In third place with 79 marks was Gordon Corrin, whilst Doug Allan, Doreen Kelly and Tony Faragher tied in fourth with 78.
Steve admitted he had been hard pressed to pick the overall best image on the night. Expressing his love of mono photography, he was torn between the print and the DPI, eventually giving the award to the print by John Keelan, with Doreen Kelly’s DPI as runner-up.
A vote of thanks for his excellent judging ability was proposed by Ruth Nicholls who expressed the widely felt views of the Society that Steve Babb was one of the best in such capacity for some time. He will be invited again next season.
All awards, cups and trophies will be presented at the club’s annual dinner in Filbey’s Restaurant on Peel Quayside next Thursday May 7th , with Steve Babb guest of honour. All the winning and commended images can also be viewed by following the links on www.westernphotographic.org.
A4 – 1. Dennis Wood (Loch Gate) 18 marks; 2.Peter Leadley(St Johns) 16; 3 . David Salter (Carbon
A3 Colour – 1. Chris Nicholls (Serene Santorini) 19; 2, Ruth Nicholls(Going Home) 18; 3 Dennis Wood (What are trees, mummy?) 18.
A3 Mono – 1. John Keelan (Placid Waters in the Lagoon) 19 2. Dave Salter (Savage Seas) 17; 3. Doreen Kelly (Lava by the Lagoon) 16.
Mono DPI – 1. Doreen Kelly (Isolated Church) 19; 2. Chris Nicholls (Wild Horses) 18. 3. Tony Faragher (Take a Break) 17.
Colour DPI – 1. Gordon Corrin (Seal Pup) 18; 2. Dave Salter (Tunnel Vision) 17; 3. Chris Nicholls
(Stallions Early Morning) 17.
'Tunnel Vision' By Dave Salter
Best Overall Image of the night
'Placid Waters in the Lagoon'
By John Keelan