A rare beauty
Alec Leggat

I really enjoyed the article. I don’t have a strong opinion on the juror’s selection, but from the two times I entered, I cannot believe that the competition was run in an organized or professional manner. Both times my photographs were returned completely trashed. By trashed I mean really dirty (lots of marks!), creased, dented, damaged… If one had allowed a group of five-year-olds to play outside on a carpet of my photographs, the results would have been less damaging than what actually happened. I complained both times and was told that the prints were handled with “the utmost care and respect”. Ridiculous!! I packed my work so that it would arrive in perfect condition and would be easy to repack and return. I have a lot of experience with international exhibitions. This problem was one hundred percent on their end.

I didn’t reenter because of this experience and because of the fact that photographers are coerced into sending big, expensive-to-produce, perfect prints because if selected, the print entered will be the one on display.

Oh thinking some more, I do have some comments about jurors’ selections. I haven’t paid attention for a while, but I’ve found it sleezy in the past that just okay photographs of celebrities and images by photographers well known in the UK find their way in when the photos at best are good but not great. What they are is already known.

This competition is a huge moneymaker for the organization that runs it. I’m not sure one can take it seriously as an indication of the best work in portraiture. Damaged work one year could be a fluke, but it happened twice. These people are supposed to be professionals. Shame on them.

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