On 4th September 2018 I made the journey up the M5 and M6 to Stoke-on-Trent in readiness to present a portfolio of images to a panel of judges from the Guild of Photographers the following morning. The images had been captured over the previous couple of years at various airshows around the UK and had been processed into a panel suitable for submission for my Craftsman qualification. The process began in January, I booked onto the assessment in February and continued perfecting my images and panel until late July. This left enough time to print my images, produce a supporting book, source mounts and to bring everything together for the judging in September. On the 5th September my images were scrutinised, pored over and deliberated on and after a very nervous wait downstairs I was told that I had been successful. I am now a Craftsman with the Guild of Photographers! Before explaining more about the process, and showing you the book and images themselves, I would like to thank Stevie and all the members of my Guild Buddy Group for their amazing support and encouragement. Anyone who has gone for any of these kinds of qualifications will appreciate that it is not a simple affair, it can be quite stressful and demanding, it has quite a big cost and I can't imagine I would have enjoyed the experience quite so much or been successful without their support. I’d also like to congratulate Charlotte Bellamy who gained her Master Craftsman with a stunning panel of abstract landscape images and Ann Aveyard who gained her Craftsman with a wonderful panel of bird images; I’m very fortunate to call them friends and Guild buddies and it was lovely to share the experience with them.
Like other photographic associations, the Guild of Photographers offers a scheme of accreditation. There are 3 levels: Qualified, Craftsman and Master Craftsman. In broad terms these equate to Licentiate, Associateship, and Fellowship with the Royal Photographic Society and standards are very similar, though the Guild submission requires more elements. I gained my Licentiateship with the RPS and Qualified status with the Guild some time ago so it was a natural progression to aim for Craftsman. From the Guild's own website,
Our 'Craftsman' status is, as one would imagine, aligned to the exacting standards of a true 'Craftsman'. Therefore to attain this level we add an increasing level of professional critique to evaluate our members work. In other words we get increasingly 'fussy' and look in minutiae at all the elements of photographic understanding. Those that achieve this accolade have demonstrated the finest technical skills and an exceptional creative and artistic 'eye'.
For me as a non-professional photographer, it required a submission of 20 mounted prints, optionally supported by a printed book and I also choose to include a framed print that I had hoped to auction to raise funds for a charity (at this moment the auction isn't going ahead so it will live on my wall for a while). I choose to include my 'Statement of Intent' behind the images in the foreword of my book, and read it nervously to the judges before their assessment of my mounted prints. The book also included captions explaining a little bit of information about each of the aircraft depicted and the camera settings used to produce them. The book was printed as a 28x28cm Photobook with lay flat pages. Please click on any of the images to view them larger, and please do read through the Statement of Intent before viewing the full panel.
For the actual assessment, my mounted prints were displayed in two rows of 10. The images had been arranged so that they flowed from one image to the next, mostly in terms of lightness of tone. I printed them at home on Permajet Titanium Lustre paper at 10" by 15". The silver metallic finish worked really well with the images, bringing them to life. Matts and mounting board were cut for me by Framelizard framing service in Radstock. I chose an Arqadia mount board that had a textured white surface, with black core and backing. When cut with a bevel, it presents a black stroke line around the image. My book containing the same images and the framed image were also laid out for the judges to see. I read out my Statement of Intent to the judges and then left them to their deliberations. After a short while I was called back up to the judging room, informed I had been successful and given some feedback and some suggestions on a potential approach to the next stage.
Many, but not all, of my images were composites. That means that they came together from more than one image, generally one image of an aircraft and a separate image of the sky. For some months I've been collecting interesting sky images, using the same camera and lens that I used for the aircraft images. Here is an example of three images that came together to form my Spitfire Pair image that was shown as a framed canvas.