The most prominent of those occasions was my time spent as a final round juror - 1 of 3; myself, the director of the Kodak Photo Illustration Division and the photo editor of National Geographic Magazine - for the Kodak International Newspaper Snapshot Competition. That competition was most likely the largest such competition in the world at the time. It started at the local level where people submitted pictures to their local newspaper which was charged with selecting pictures that would move on to the next lelvel of judging. The eventual "winners" who made through the multiple layers of judging - if memory serves, approximately 300-400 pictures - ended up in the final round.
After 2 days of winnowing the mass down to 20-30 final finalists, we got down to the business of campaigning for our individual picture preferences. Needless to write, opinions and selections varied according to the biases of the jurors involved.
Up until the final round the judging process was based on points which were accumulated by the number and value (in points) of chips which individual pictures garnered. Although, there was one exception - if a juror felt strongly about a picture which was destined to be eliminated based on the chip thing, he could exercise a juror exception to have that picture advanced into the next round. All 3 of us jurors used this exception at one point or another.
Long story about juror bias short, the picture which I championed through the process using my juror exception was the eventual Grand Prize winner. When it came to picking the winner from the 5 pictures selected to be considered, it took some vigorous campaigning on my part, all based upon my personal picture biases, to move my favorite picture to Grand Prize status. Fyi, whether that picture was eventually agreeded upon as the winner because of its merits or because of my tireless campaigning for it could be, if anyone really cared, the subject for endless debate.
All of that written, One might wonder, knowing what I know, why I bother to submit pictures to juried exhibitions. Well, of late, one reason for doing so - but only to themed exhibitions - is simply because, while searching for appropriate pictures to submit (theme-wise) I have discovered bodies of work "hidden" in my picture library, bodies of work that I didn't know existed. That has been of no small benefit to me.
Another reason for doing so is what I have taken as a challenge ... to learn of a juror's bias and then creating or, in many cases, finding pictures in my picture library which might appeal to that particular bias. In a few cases, I have nailed it and there is a feeling of accomplishment when I do. A feeling not dissimilar from that which I experieinced in my advertising and editiorial picture making career. That of making a picture of client's idea regarding what they wished for a picture to "say" about their product or services.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's entry regarding my major successes of having pictures selected (and winning) for prestigious juried exhibitions and how the result of the first of those successes led directly to my carrer in picture making.