So the judging is live via Zoom and the contestants are present to see the judge’s picks and hear his comment? Woo, kinda brutal to me. I have been involved in a gazillion competitions, as a participant, a worker bee and a judge and the judging is usually carried on in privacy. Only one show did I ever judge that had folks around to witness the judging. The Washington State High School Photo Competition. Been working with them since 2006. Every year on the first Saturday in May I would go to a local high school and spend the day looking at as many as 4000 printed photos. There would be 3 judges and we most always got along well. But sometimes there would be ties and the judges had to hammer out which one got a place in the show and which one got a participation ribbon. We would in the gym, so wide open space, with the prints stacked on the bleachers. Behind the judge were ropes to keep back the few students and parents who showed to watch. But they got to hear all our chatter. The first year I got into it with another judge. Her back ground was academic and her pics were largely cerebral and boring. I often picked the more obvious kind of imagery, but was always well seen and well crafted. So there we were talking about 2 prints. Each making our points about our choices. Then, out of nowhere, she says, “I wouldn’t hang that print in my bathroom”. And I blurt out at hers, “I wouldn’t hang that anywhere!”. She rolled her eyes and caved. The third judge agreed with me. But I looked at the small group of students and parents behind us and hoped the poor students who made those photos weren’t standing there witnessing our hissy fit. The director of the show is a very good friend of mine and we hang out all the time. After the judging, he and his wife would have this big dinner for the judges and any of the high school teachers who cared to join us. They were always great and lively events. That first year I went, but the judge I butted heads with did not. When I got to the home of Kelly, the director friend, he pulls me aside and says, I want to show you something. He takes me to the only bathroom in the house and there on the wall were 2 of my prints. We got a great laugh out of that one. I went to the judging this year, a downsized and more subdued event and Michael, the 3rdjudge from the 2006 event, was there helping out. He reminded me of that day and that funny interaction. Never happened again.
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