Thursday, 3 May 2012

International Garden Photographer of the Year - Competition 5 Winners

International Garden Photographer of the Year - Competition 5 Winners:

'via Blog this'

Visited the exhibition from Competition 5 which is at Rheged, just outside Penrith until 30 June, before moving off to Portugal and then returning to England in September time. Not sure if most of it was really garden photography - quite a lot of wildlife shots, still lifes, woodlands etc - so the title is a bit misleading.

1000/793: 22 April 2012: International Garden Photographer of the Year, Rheged, Penrith

The exhibition was nicely laid out, and there was plenty of space to stand and stare. They were still waiting for the catlogues when I visited , but the link to the website covers that angle.

Overall I thought the pictures were technically excellent - as you might expect - but were often quite sterile. Once you got past the 'Ooh! That's pretty/cute/funny' reaction there was nowhere else to go. A classic example was a grasshopper wiping dew from its forehead - it is undoubtedly a very well captured moment that required some quick reactions and had a real slapstick quality to it - but where does it go after that? By way of a contrast the overall winner, at least in my mind, raises all sorts of questions about the interrelationship of the various bits of the natural world and their fragility.

I'm only going to post one more link - my favourite shot of the exhibition - as it's worth either visiting the website or - if you're in the Lakes this spring - getting along to see it. The web image doesn't really do justice to my favourite - in the exhibition its a very large print and the sunlight on the small patch of toadstools simply glows. To me it speaks of rebirth and the circle of life and I stood in front of it just lost for quite a while. It shows the value of really understanding the area you are photographing in and probably falls under the category of 'the harder I work the luckier I get'.

A couple of oddities worth a  mention - a series of X-ray shots of seed heads featured in the prize winners, although I couldn't fathom why, and there was an eerie series of flowers/leaves slowly decaying in jars of water to produce fascinating and delicate semi-abstracts.

So my advice is - see it if you get a chance. If not, have a look on the website. As for me - I pondering an entry in the next competition.

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