27 January 2022 (Human Portrait Print Competition)

27th January was another milestone for Musselburgh Camera Club. We had our first true print competition for 2 years! The last time we reviewed prints at the Fisherrow Centre was for an earlier human portrait print competition on 30th January 2020. This week’s competition was judged by Gordon Scott of Mid Calder camera club. You can see some of Gordon’s work at the link below:


This competition was more complex than previous print competitions because we were broadcasting the event to members who preferred to connect by Zoom. We set up a narrow-angle webcam which captured a view of our print stand, and Gordon wore a radio microphone. A wide-angle microphone was used to speak to the members on Zoom. The complexity of the situation lead to some technical issues, and we learned it is important to make a careful note of which microphone is which in the list that Zoom gives you. Gordon was very patient with us.

8 members had entered 24 images altogether. Gordon noted that some of the images (which showed groups of people interacting) stretched the definition of a portrait, which he expected to be of a single person.  There were photographs of people at work, people taking part in a battle re-enactment, people on the street, and images captured from a photoshoot.  John West had entered a selfie, which amused some of the audience.  Gordon commented on the location of the subject within the frame. Some images were cropped a little too tightly, for example cropping off the top of the subject’s hat. Other images seemed to have too much space on one side, or could have been angled differently to show more of an elaborate costume and less background.  Gordon pointed to distractions which could have been removed, darkened or cropped out. He also explained how the depth of field is important. In most portraits it is important to blur out the background to keep attention on the subject; with the exception of subjects who are doing a job, where it is important to be able to see what they are doing.  Some of the images were spoiled by an unfortunate pose, for example a hand which was too dominant. The final thing which separated the best images from the rest was the lighting.  Harsh lighting caused distracting shadows or bright streaks on some portraits. The very best images were captured in soft lighting. Gordon’s top 6 images (which can be seen on our Facebook page) were:

  • Kalia – Green Activist  (George Todd) – 20 points
  • Lean and Mean (Joe Fowler) – 19 points
  • MacAulay Clansman (George Todd) – 19 points
  • Fabrication Welder (Joe Fowler) – 18 points
  • Nguyet (George Todd) – 18 points
  • My Magnificent Beard (Carol Edmund) – 18 points

The top scorers were (in reverse order):

  • 4th place (47 points)
    • Jennifer Davidson
    • Mike Clark
  • 3rd place (49 points)
    • Charlie Briggs
    • Carol Edmund
  • 2nd place (52 points)
    • Joe Fowler
  • 1st place (57 points)
    • George Todd

Congratulations to George Todd, whose 3 images all made the top 6. Thank you to everyone who dusted off their printers and made the effort to enter this competition, and thank you very much to Gordon Scott for judging and putting up with our technical issues.

Next week we have the second of our set subject competitions: “Travel in Scotland”.
See you on Thursday,


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