THEY SAY THAT you learn more from your failures
than your successes – if so, then I am an expert in Associate applications!
I finally got it last year after several failures, most of them unexpected, disappointing and frustrating.
As I write this you might be sending off your Associate Honours set, or thinking about it for next year. So, what have I learned that you might use?
The first thing: I was not alone in having my set rejected. I know many now Fellows who struggled to get their “A”.
The success rate is not high, about one in four I think, so each year there are grumpy photographers at our convention.
The mood is not lightened when a newbie gets it on their first try! Second thing: this is seriously difficult.
The standard of photography and set design is at an advanced level. You are ‘competing’ against the top active club photographers in the country, trying to get into the top quartile.
OK, so technically you are not competing, you are being assessed against a standard That Elusive.
But, the Board is not going to select every submission, so aim to be one of the best, not just to get to a standard. And beware, the standard goes up each year.
Third thing: the most important thing, the “one ring to rule them all”, is: quality. Bruce emphasised this in his video, and that is consistent with my experience.
Each and every image must deserve to be in the set and be technically impeccable That Elusive.
Remember, they will be peered at intently by those photographers who have missed out.
You might get away with the odd issue that you didn’t notice, but don’t count on it. Fourth thing: a set is not a selection of your best work.
I have won lots of awards for individual images, but try to put those images into a set and it just doesn’t work.
This leads me to my main challenge – creating a set.
If you have been following the grumblings over the last decade you will know the big question: themed or diverse.
The guidelines have not been clear in the past. Successful sets have generally been of an excellent quality but highly themed, whilst diverse sets have done poorly.
A perception emerged of an unwritten rule that a themed set was required and diversity was, if anything, a disadvantage.
The Board made strong efforts last year to dispel that perception and reinforce the need for diversity.
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