When I first heard talk of the North Shore Salon, it was mentioned in revered voices and hushed tones. Colloquially referred to as “the salon”, this photographic competition has the reputation of being judged at a very high level and most photographers I have spoken to have felt very honoured to have even received an acceptance. Then, out of the blue, the outgoing chairman, John Parry, invited me to take over the reins and steer the 22nd edition of this prestigious event through 2016. So for the past several months, I have had the pleasure of witnessing the salon, from soup to nuts, from a unique point of view as chairman. Besides being plunged into a crash course on learning the ins and outs of the event, I was also afforded the opportunity of being a part of and experience every aspect of the salon.
With a long and illustrious history, the visionaries of the North Shore Photographic Society started the salon in 1995, attracting 308 entries. As with most events of this nature, there is a virtual army of volunteers from the NSPS who pop up when requested, do their jobs with a sense of pride and joy and then go back to their busy lives. This willingness to share the load lightens the burden on the small steering committee made up of members of the North Shore Photographic Society.
An impressive 2104 entries were received from 256 New Zealand photographers into the eight categories which stacked up as follows; 217 – Digital Street, 237 – Digital Action, 318 – Digital Abstract, 693 – Digital Open, 91 – Print Impressionist, 141 – Print ‘scapes, 138 – Print People and 215 – Print Open. Judging day saw these magnificent images on display in all their finery and swagger hoping to catch the eye of the judges and cracking the nod for a highly prised acceptance. Selecting the judges for the salon is always a challenging task of finding a balance between experience, genre preference and personality and this year proved no exception. The final line-up of six judges took to the task of weeding out the wannabes from the winners with a sense of purpose, casting their trained eyes over the rows and rows of prints or the digital pics flicking across the monitors. I witnessed the culling of many images that in my humble opinion were sure winners. But alas for these artists, their day was done. The judging team toiled all day over the task of selecting only the finest images; animated discussions for and against were witnessed over and over until only what was judged to be the finest remained. Finally it was the collective task of all six judges to decide on the champion image to be selected from the gold medal winners. This honour went to Bernie Velasco from Wellington for his image titled “Corona Extra Desperate”.
As a proud chairman, I would like to say to the people who continue to drive the salon to greater heights, you the photographers of New Zealand and the world, thank you for your efforts, creativity, ingenuity and artistic flare. Thank you for the early mornings, late evenings, pavement stalking, vigilance, solitary studio adventures and for lugging around tons of gear so you never miss a moment worth capturing and sharing. And thank you for the countless hours you spend in the digital darkroom, hunched over your monitor editing and perfecting your creations. Only you would know and appreciate what is required to take a simple idea and transform it into the awesome images we see around us. To the photographers that did not gain an acceptance into the salon, take inspiration from the images around you and from what you have learnt on your journey as encouragement in your efforts for next year. To the artists who did achieve an acceptance into the 22nd salon, I say well done. Let this be the springboard that propels you to even greater heights next year. Congratulations on your outstanding achievement. Please give a round of applause to our successful entrants.
And finally, may I add one more thank you to the list? It’s probably the most important acknowledgement and one that should be repeated by all photographers often. I say thank you to our families. Without your support we would not be able to do what we do. To the patient passengers waiting in the car while you take “just one more shot”, to the ever willing models, to getting home late because the light was going off, sneaking out of bed on a Sunday morning to spend time with your other love; and not to mention spending the annual holiday budget on a new piece of kit that you just have to have.
For more information and a full list of results, please visit the North Shore National Salon of Photography website at: www.northshoresalon.co.nz.