You Be The Judge was designed by Claire Collison. Useful in both exhibitions and in the classroom, the activity invites students to choose the winners out of a selection of photographs, describe the images and explain their choices.
Activity – You Be The Judge
On our visit to NPG’s Taylor Wessing exhibition, students were given the following instructions:
‘TAYLOR WESSING is an annual competition from all fields of photography – including journalism, editorial, commercial, fine art, fashion, and amateur.
Can you work out which photographers come from which genre?
Take a look at the winning entries: do you agree with the judges? You are invited to select your own winner and runner up.
(Be prepared to describe your selected photo and defend your choices!)’
The following session, back in the classroom, students ran their own hustings.
You will need:
If it is not possible to visit a photography competition, then use a catalogue such as Taylor Wessing.
Either during a visit, or failing that, using a catalogue, students select their own first and second place winners.
Later, back in the classroom, and using the exhibition catalogue, students take turns to firstly describe their chosen image as if to a radio audience, including what genre they believe the photograph is derived from, and why.
The student then shows their chosen image to the rest of the class (did they identify it from the description?) and defends their choice:
What do they like about it?
What makes it effective, moving, strong, etc?
The overall ‘winning’ photograph is decided by a vote.
Outcomes/ Learning objectives:
Having to ‘sell’ their selection, students championing a particular photograph are required to become very familiar with it. Justifying their choice to their peers helps them to find a way of talking about aspects of photography such as content, genre, and composition in a more relaxed and comfortable manner – and often with a new passion to convince.
Note – This activity is probably best saved for later in a course, when students have already developed some critical vocabulary, but perhaps not had the confidence to apply it yet.