We began by looking at each of the ten images individually, discussing our initial reactions in pairs or small groups. We considered the photographs on a number of levels. Of course, technical ability played some part – for example, were they well-composed? However we felt it was more important to think about how the photographers responded to the theme. Some had chosen to go down the literal route, using reflective surfaces such as glass buildings or water as their starting point. I particularly enjoyed comparing two different takes on the same building – one in colour and one black and white. Other photographers had more emotional response to the word ‘reflect,’ presenting stories that were at times personal, at others relating to the wider community or indeed, to “every man.”
When we had seen all ten photographs individually, we looked at them as a collection, or ‘exhibition,’ in order to compare and make connections that we may have missed before. The discussion was opened up in the more familiar Art Club style, where each person was given the opportunity to voice their opinions, and perhaps to make the case for why they liked one photograph in particular. I enjoyed hearing everyone’s thoughts, and found it fascinating to hear the reasons why they could relate to photographs which I had felt no connection with at first. This definitely allowed me to appreciate things about the photographs which I had missed on first viewing. While there were some very diverse views, it started to become clear during this discussion that there were some photos that more or less all of us had liked immediately.
The whole experience was very enjoyable and we all felt privileged to be included in the judging process. It was a fantastic opportunity to see some local talent and I particularly liked the opportunity to engage with photography works, which is something I don’t do as often as I might with painting, installation or other forms of art. We’d like to thank Neil Murphy and the Wirral Festival of Firsts, and look forward to seeing all of the exciting exhibitions and events that will be happening between the 5th and 13th of July as part of the festival.
Originally published on the Wirral Festival of Firsts website.