What makes a Winner?

by Nancy@goneinc on May 29, 2015

G-LadySewingbyFirelight-Krawczyk-B-0215 (1)

I was recently asked to judge a year-end photo competition for a local and longstanding (79 years) photography club, The Springfield Photography Society. I was judging the event with two other individuals. There were, I believe, over 160 images for us to view. After viewing all the images, we agreed very quickly on Best in Show. Lady Sewing by Firelight by Barbara Krawczyk.

There were many excellent photos to view and judge, however, the winning piece was clearly evident to us. After the judging I wondered myself what was it about that particular image that made it easy to pick out as Best in Show? I realized there were several factors about the work that were not just appealing but were exemplary of certain artistic and photographic techniques. Lady Sewing by Firelight used several time-proven artistic procedures.

The first photographic technique (what some writers refer to as Photo 101) is the use of the rule of thirds. This rule is reflected in the crop tool in Photoshop. Some camera display screens are gridded in the rule of thirds.. The rule of thirds breaks the image up by two evenly spaced horizontal lines and two evenly spaced vertical lines. This divides the image space into nine even sections. The four points where the vertical and horizontal lines cross is usually considered the spot in which to place the points of interest. For more information on rule of thirds click here. rule-of-thirds

The winning photograph lines up nicely based on the rule of thirds.

Long used in art as well as found throughout nature is the spiral formed by the Fibonacci Sequence.  For an article about Fibonacci in photography click here.  Sometimes it is referred to as the Fibonacci ratio. The ratio is often found in natural elements from spirals in flower petals to the inside of shells. The spiral has been called the Devine ratio because of its universal use in nature. This piece exemplifies this artistic concept.fibonocci-curve

The artistic term, Chiaroscuro, use of strong contrast between light and dark with use of lighting, can be applied to this photograph. Use of chiaroscuro dates back to the renaissance period and has long been an important technique for depicting form and volume. In Lady Sewing by Firelight, the warm natural lighting evokes emotion from the viewer.

All of these elements together are important to a composition and the viewers reaction to it. Many other photographs in the competition also utilized these rules and techniques. So what makes this image special?

When looking at an image it is, of course, subject matter that captures a viewer. How the photographer is able to convey a mood or feeling in her work often needs to be carried by the subject. In this case, the subject appears unposed, almost unaware of the photographer. Her absorption in her work is evident and lends the work a sense of authenticity. Along with the character, her setting is authentic as are the clothing and tools the character uses. It is this authenticity that allows the viewer to accept that this is an other worldly (or other time) place and person. We, the viewers, are given a peek into another world; a world captured by a masterful artist.

Photo used by permission of Barbara Krawczyk. All rights belong to the Artist.


Three things to consider when entering a juried show

by Nancy@goneinc on January 30, 2015

The Methodology of Art Show JuriesClick to view

Having been coordinator of a significant regional art show for a few years, I am often asked why a certain piece is picked by the jurors and other pieces are declined. The query is usually phrased “How could they have chosen that over my work?” To which I usually reply, “Because art is subjective and those were the pieces that spoke to them”. But I have noticed certain things are important if you want your piece to have a stronger chance of being accepted.

1. Originality: Your work may be the most proficient in style and technique but if it’s another lighthouse don’t be surprised if it is declined. Some jurors will bypass any piece that looks as if it were painted from a photograph, particularly a famous photograph. Trite themes or popular fads may sell but it might not get into a juried show.

2. Presentation: Your frame matters. If the frame does not complement your work, you are doing yourself a disservice. The frame does not have to be the most expensive, although sometime a nice frame can set your piece apart. But it should never over-power the art. The frame should not be the first thing someone notices.

Your work should be clean and the mat well cut. It should give definition to your work and be of a color that enhances the art. The mat should not be distracting, by overwhelming your art. Smudged or coffee spills will not get your work into the show so be careful of how you treat your original art work and don’t use the least expensive substrate to work on. If your work is worthy of your time and effort to make, it is worthy of quality materials to create it.

Clean the glass. Jurors notice the dust and think it is an old piece that you are trying to submit as new. They want to see the work you are currently creating, not what you were doing ten years ago. They want the serious practicing artists to get into the show. Dirty glass also indicates you do not think highly of your own work.

3. Results: Try not to take the jurors’ decisions badly if your work is not accepted. Just because your piece was declined does not mean it is not worthy. Art really is subjective and some art speaks to someone and another piece may not. If your art is accepted don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t need to keep being creative. Next year’s jurors will likely have an entirely new agenda and prize winners this year could be declined the next year.


S. Phil Saffer 1927-2014

October 30, 2014

Occasionally our lives are blessed by special people.  Someone who suddenly enters our lives and gives us new perspectives just by being who they are.  For me, one of those people was S. Phil Saffer.  I first met Phil when he stopped into my studio to learn about giclee printing. He came back with several pieces of […]

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Victorian Fairy Tarot

November 9, 2013

  We are always amazed by the quality of work done by the artists we work with. One of our most outstanding artists is Gary A. Lippincott.  We are proud to be his giclee printer.  Take a few minutes to look through this gallery of the Victorian Fairy Tarot Deck painted by Gary A. Lippincott […]

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NINE Great Holiday Gift Ideas From GoNE, Inc.

September 1, 2013

Do you have one of those hard to shop for people on your list?  Here are some welcome and unique gifts only from GoNE. Inc. Some of these ideas need planning ahead… so we thought we might just mention them now!  Nine Holiday Gift Ideas: A home portrait on canvas. Bring us your best shot […]

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Read the fine print in competitions

July 24, 2013

As many of you know, I spend a great deal of time each month searching for art and photo shows and competitions for our call for entries page. I try to find good local shows or national shows with great prizes. Recently I can across a call for entries for a local organization. It offered […]

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Imaging for output Part 3

July 19, 2013

If you missed the Intro and Part 1 and Part 2 click on the links Imaging for output part III The final step in output is, of course, printing. If one is sending work out to a photo lab or giclée print shop, the end result should be one of collaboration. Work with the printer […]

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Imaging for output Part2

May 18, 2013

It is not only frustrating to get a print that does not look the way you expect, it can be expensive. One of the major issues photographers and digital artists face is a printed image that doesn’t match the computer screen. There are several factors which can cause this discrepancy and usually a combination of factors are […]

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Imaging for Output Part 1

May 3, 2013

When creating an image for output, one must remember the old adage, “Garbage in… Garbage out”.  If your digital file is not the best it can be then the resulting print will not be very good either.  The larger the output the better the image must be.  Many file defects can not be detected in […]

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Fine Art Photography: Imaging for output, Three Part Discussion

April 27, 2013

The end result of photography is not as it used to be. In the days of film photography the only way the photographer could view the image was as an actual printed photograph or sit in a darkened room and view a slide show. If the processed photo was excellent the photographer might consider an […]

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