Judgment Day

keith-wilsonSince the start of the year many photographers have been staring at the screen longer than usual, singling out images for greater scrutiny. Then they have pored over columns of small print, trying to make sense of the words: how to enter, categories, terms and conditions. Yes, the closing date for two of the most prestigious wildlife photography competitions are just days away. Entries for Wildlife Photographer of the Year close on February 26. A few days later, March 1, it’s the deadline for the GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

Then it’s down to the judges, sorting through thousands of images to select the winners. It all sounds so simple, but nothing could be further from the truth. Choosing one photograph above all others is a subjective decision, and among a group of judges unanimous verdicts are never instant. As Tom Mason says in this issue (Good shot, bad shot? page 116), “surely it depends on how we choose to measure a photograph that decides on its ultimate success or failure?”

In the Bag
Just about every award-winning photographer I’ve ever met has stressed that the quality of the image is not down to the camera but the expertise of the person behind it. Some pros even refuse to talk about the camera they use. Only last year, I interviewed one extremely famous photographer who retorted: “And what makes you think I use a Nikon?” (Even though there were dozens of photos on the Web showing him using a Nikon!)

Yet, despite all our protestations that a camera is only as good as the photographer, who amongst us doesn’t want to read about or handle the latest Canon, Nikon, Sony or Olympus? And, as naturally curious creatures, don’t we also like glimpsing into the camera bags of our peers to see what kit they’ve got? Admit it, we’re all a bit nuts about our gear, so, my thanks to Matt Cole for letting us take a peek inside his camera bag this month (In the bag, page118). Matt’s just the first by the way. It might be your turn next!

Keith Wilson, Editor

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