A Message from Our Competition Chair

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Linda Long, 2017 Competition Chair

Linda Long, 2017 Competition Chair, Master Photog., Cr., CPP, FDPE, FSA, FED

As the new FPP Competition Chair, I view my job as one to both uphold the standards set in the past while also encouraging and fostering a new culture that encourages image competition. I have spent time examining how things are done at the International Print Competition (IPC) to ensure we are closely aligned with PPA, and also examining what is working with other affiliates so we may continue Florida’s reputation as one of the most outstanding image competitions in the nation. I have reached out to a group of advisors to gather opinions on possible changes, and I have also received feedback from FPP members through an online survey. While changes are never easy, they are necessary for our continued success and growth. Through all this thoughtful advice, research and debate, the board has reviewed and approved the following changes for the 2017 competition.

In the past there was a cap on the total number of merits a maker could receive in a single year. Although they may enter 10 images, they were capped at a total of 12 possible merits. With the total number of images allowed being 10, by capping the number of allowed merits, it can be seen as discouraging members from entering that maximum number. Starting with the 2017 competition, there will no longer be a cap on the number of merits a maker may receive. Some may think that this is “easier” than in the past, but anyone who competes today can assure you the competition is tougher than ever! This change can certainly make it “faster” to earn a degree, but it is done to further encourage entries and boost the overall competition.

Photographer of the Year, Artist of the Year and Top Ten Photographers calculations have been clarified to be determined by adding together the six highest scoring images in a maker’s case. A maker may enter more than six, but only the top six scores will be considered. You MUST enter six images to be considered for either award.

The Intersectional Competition calculations are also altered for 2017. Now, ALL the scores for each section will be combined to create a total number for that section, divided by the number of entries for that section. An additional point will be added before averaging for every first place image from that section.

To align our competition with IPC, FPP chose to adopt a rule change that is starting at the national level already. It has always been against Photographic Open rules to submit an image in which the maker did not create all the photographic elements, or in which the maker did not own copyright for. The rule change simply emphasizes that the maker must have created EVERY photographic element that appears in the image. If a maker is using purchased digital backgrounds, skies, etc. then those images must be presented in the Electronic Imaging categories and not in Photographic Open.

Through the years, a “thumbs up/thumbs down” process was used to ensure an image was not being hurt or rewarded by a minority of the panel. Several years ago we stopped reviewing the 80-81 images by this method and this year, the thumbs up/down procedure will be replaced by an automatic challenge in the scoring system. By the new rule, if the minority of a panel is choosing to merit an image, it will be an automatic challenge and the judges must discuss and revote. The same is true if a minority of a panel is causing an image not to merit. This change forces judges to immediately discuss when the image is fresh, does not keep a maker in suspense waiting for another judging and further expedites the entire judging process. The same method will be used at regionals by PPA and is slated to be used at IPC.

The FPP rules were changed a handful of years ago to allow a single model to appear multiple times by the same maker, as long as they were created from different sessions. Not only was this rule difficult for the competition manager to enforce, it also went against the single model rule that has long been held by PPA. While we do now allow for 10 entries from a maker, it is not an unreasonable rule that all ten images contain different subjects. For 2017, FPP will again enforce the single model rule for makers.

As time has passed, I have witnessed the FPP competition change from a strictly print competition, to allowing print and digital entries, to having a vast majority of digital entries. After examining the costs and needs of judging both print and digital entries, it was determined that 2017 will be judged as an entirely digital competition. For the Kodak and LexJet awards, makers may submit a companion print to their digital entry if they would like to be considered for those awards.

One of the greatest drawbacks of having an all digital competition is the loss of the print display. The display is such a resource for education, networking and member connections. It is with great excitement that I announce a partnership with White House Custom Color where WHCC will be printing and mounting 8×10 prints of EVERY single entry in the 2017 competition! This will allow us to bring back the “People’s Choice” competition, where our members can select their favorite image, despite the judges thoughts! We will have a full print display back of all the images and each maker will be given their mounted prints at the end of FOCUS. Thank you to WHCC for their support of our competition!

One of my personal goals as Competition Chair is to grow the number of members entering competition and especially grow the number of newer members entering. I have a lot of ways I am working to achieve this goal, but this change also comes by rewarding the successes of those members. Starting in 2017, FPP will have an “Emerging Artist” competition, recognizing the highest scoring new member with a minimum of three images.

It is my personal commitment to keep the judging of FPP’s competition as close to IPC as possible. To ensure the quality of judging and that judges are familiar with the latest standards set by PPA, we will only be using IPC approved jurors or IPC jurors-in-training. All judges will have attended the PPA judges class and are well versed in current competition standards.

I hope as 2017 progresses we see great successes for the FPP competition, for FPP competitors and for our industry as a whole. After this year, I plan to very closely examine all the data, all the comments and feedback I will receive from FPP members. It is important to remember that competition is always a fluid thing where changes must be made to stay current with the changing tides of our amazing industry. It is competition itself that often raises the standards of excellence in our industry and the responsibility of such a historically significant competition is not one that I take lightly. May 2017 be the best year yet of FPP competition!

Linda Long, linda@longsphotography.com