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Gali Tibbon


Bringing it home: memories of judging a photo contest

By Gali Tibbon, Dienstag Juni 23, 2015
The judges, from left to right: Maral Deghati (Warm, Me-Mo), Mathilde Boussion (6Mois), Jerome Delay (AP), Gali Tibbon (Canon Explorer) and Louisa Gouliamaki (AFP).

The judges, from left to right: Maral Deghati (Warm, Me-Mo), Mathilde Boussion (6Mois), Jerome Delay (AP), Gali Tibbon (Canon Explorer) and Louisa Gouliamaki (AFP). © Matej Leskovsek/SPP

I was very excited when I was asked by Canon to represent them in the Slovenian Press Photo (SPP) jury. I’ve visited Slovenia several times in the past so I was happy to return and enjoy the vibe of its local professional industry.

In some ways it is easier to judge other people’s images, because the sentimental connection doesn’t exist. When I judge images from a different region, it’s a good visual trigger; a fresh view to themes I don’t necessarily know well. I’m very ambivalent about this, because on one hand when you edit your own images you have a sentimental connection that often leads to wrong choices, but also you tend to be harder on yourself. But then when I judge or edit other people’s work, I try to imagine the atmosphere and the situation for the photographer when he took the photos, often trying to imagine what I would have done. When I refer to the sentimental connection to an image, I mean that often my personal experience and the things I have experienced while I was shooting might affect my judgment.

I believe that photo contests, for most photographers, are great opportunities to have hard work officially recognised. And hey who doesn’t like to win trophies? I’ve learned that most juries pay a lot of importance to captions and the professional level of the entire submission (and excessive usage of editing software). This aspect of entering a contest is something I think many of us photographers tend to neglect, thinking the images are good enough to speak for themselves. But since a jury consists of several photographers and photo editors – often from different nationalities, different backgrounds and styles – a good picture can often be dropped from the race because of the voting system. Good captions help communicate the story in the image...

It was a great experience to see that photographers from different countries and cultures shared the same photographic values and inspiration. Visual storytelling is a bridge beyond language. There were six of us in the jury, all sitting together in a room with a screen and a lot of coffee: Jerome Delay (AP), Jerome Huffer (Paris Match), Louisa Gouliamaki (AFP), Maral Deghati (Warm, Me-Mo), myself and Mathilde Boussion (6Mois).

Matej Leskovsek, a Slovenian photographer who is the engine behind the entire operation of the Slovenia Photo Festival and the Slovenian Press Photo Contest, told us that more than 3000 images had been entered and we had five categories to judge: news, sport, culture, people and nature. We worked our way through, category by category. In some cases it was easy because we all agreed. But in other categories, we had disagreements. It was hard work, but very rewarding and I was really glad to be a part of it.

There were six of us in the jury, all sitting together in a room with a screen and a lot of coffee.

There were six of us in the jury, all sitting together in a room with a screen and a lot of coffee. © Matej Leskovsek/SPP