Friday, January 19, 2007

What is Salon Photography?

I'm gladful for my peers in www.photomalaysia.com whom have help me help others to understand; may be clear some misunderstanding of this genre of photography. And I think it has and will be helpful for those who have just read this topic of discussion. Below are some of the extracts taken from the forum, so it's not lost...

What's Salon Photography?
I said, "Salon Photography is not a "special" kind of photography, nor a specific way of making images. Salon is just a name given to a group of photography community who compete in the International arena, and winners will be awarded with Star Rating and Distinction from PSA (Photographic Society of America) and FIAP (International Federation of Photographic Art). Just like the name given to you and I.There may be some "mis-interpretation" (if I may quote) which led to misunderstanding of Salon Photography in Malaysia, which I came to know only from the surface. If you'd like to know more about it or even take part in Salon Photography, please take it as it is. I'm more than happy to share with you the rules and regulations, the in-and-out, the how, the when, the where, and hopefully the WHY!"

"There are something like 8 sections in the Salon photography, such as Nature, travel and Photo Journalism which do not allow any form of manipulating to the images. While the others required you to explore your creativity to the MAX!You can think of Salon Photography like Formula 1 race around the World, which you've to send your entries to many exhibitions around the World to compete. And there are more than 100 exhibitions a year in these countries depends on which sections you're after. And currently there are a few exhibitions approved by PSA/FIAP in Malaysia (non of these offer Nature and Photojournalism as far as I know)"

"I realised that most people think that PSM (The Photographic Society of Malaysia) is Salon Photography. I can assure that, this is NOT true! The reasons for this assumption probably are :-

1) PSM is one of the approved exhibitor in Malaysia
2) Members from PSM took part in the Salon circuit

You don't have to be member of any society or club to take part in Salon Photography. But you've to be a member of PSA USD51 per year to claim your Star Rating and FIVE years into FIAP approved Salon circuits to claim your 1st Distinction + other requirements."

From one positive note of the forum, "Teng Wei..the explaination that you gave for Salon photography is very different from my own perception of salon photography, and your explaination is one that is very decent and proper too. I have to admit, because of previous experiences with a few salon photographers, I never had any good impression about this genre...that is until I read what you posted. If salon is anything as you put it, it's definetly worth it's own while. Keep it up. I'll love to see where what you're trying to do would go. It's a really good thing you're doing it. Cheers."

When Salon Photography was attacted, I said, "Firstly, like every basket of apple, there will be some rotten one. Having said that let's not point finger to anyone. History has told us that you'll not see any light from the other end of the tunnel by doing so.One of the key factor (Panel of Judges) for the 'lacking' (in terms of Quality/Understanding of Making the Images) in the final selection of winning entries from some Salon Exhibitions by the Panel of Judges (with all due respect ) are :-

1) Technical Knowledge of Photographic Images made with Camera
2) Contemporary Technique used in reproduction (eg. Software Advancement)

I said it time and again (face to face) with these seniors (old uncles, old old uncles) about these issues without any defend from 'em (never end up in a fight though). Simply because I used all format of Camera Equipments (35mm/MF/LF) and some in-dept understanding of Digital imaging due to my day job. Sound like blowing my trumpet! Sorry! Now you know why the baton was passed to me!

Thus the final selection of winning entries could be ridiculous at time by some iresponsible individuals who know how to "cheat"... Too Bad !If you don't come out to make the difference, who can??? Or are we going to let the history repeat itself!???

Seriously, if you and I were sitting in the Panel, do you think "our friends" have any chance of doing this. Let's WASTE their time and money for getting NOTHING! Having said that, let's get ourselves some Star Rating and Distinction then you can occupied some seat in the Judging Panel to make the difference.

Please note, those who knows how to "cheat" should be our friends sitting in the same panel. You need a crook to catch another crook.

Secondly, I'm more than happy to answer any question you have. But posting some pictures from the pass not exactly a good idea, may be some "better" one IMHO could be positive. Come to think of it, those ridicule one could be a learning experience too."

More answers for the confusing one, "Good Question! and hopefully I can give you good answer.

Answer (short version): The final selection depend on the Judging panel (not contestable, that's why you should be in the panel in the future). Strictly speaking, or ethically not acceptable especially in the Photo Journalism group.However, in Travel/Color Slide categories... 50/50, why??? Firstly, you may have noticed some images in Travel catalog are posed, right? Again, is it acceptable by most? Has photograher/producer alter the real atmosphere to make believe? Not one picture display in McDonald restaurant is real!!! That's is advertising, again conveniently we are "cheated" everyday.

Answer (long version):-
1) As far as Salon Exhibition standard is concern, the selection of images is the prerogative of the Exhibitor (Salon organiser of that country). Thus, the only way one can do is stay away from that Exhibitor. When they realised the reduced number of entries, then probably some "upgrading" will be done later. Having said that, heavily alter works don't score high in some Salon Exhibitions, while others do, if you submit your entries to Electronic Imaging section of the exhibition. So, we have to understand the real deal here, before making any unnecessary issue.

2) From the History of art (image making); this is a repeat when photography as a medium of creating images was invented. Imagine the manual dexterity required of painter then came the "CAMERA" with a click of a button. This has been an issue defended by Pioneer Salon Photographers when Salon started less than a hundred years ago.Now, the table has turned when this "real" photographer (mostly analog medium) is the "offender" trying to understand why Computer Generated Images or posing for that matter can be in par with their works (at the exhibition level).In short, so many things has changed in the Information Technology era that we're living in now, someone said before, that Post Office will close with the Internet around... Well! If we're lack of subject to chat during TT, this could be one.. So, we should be the one that is making the different in our photography World.

Salon Photography Exhibition has been around for almost a century now... The only platform that brings together so many photographers and works to be display in so many countries. Don't hate the Game, hate the CROOKs!"

When the story gets tasty, "That's right! Salon Photography is not a photography contest, and thus no monetary rewards in most Salon Countries. It is solely, a platform where photographers from around the World submit their works to be exhibited; and outstanding works can be rewarded with Medals, and occasionaly some cash money, while others collect/cumulate acceptance to claim Star Rating, Distinction and listing in the Who's Who in the United Nation. (Only one person in Malaysia (that I know so far) made it there... Song Jin Tek from Penang)

The different that I can think of Salon and Photography contest is that, Salon give you a lifetime recognition, while photography contest is just a Glory for a shorter period of time. It's almost impossible to win contests a whole lifetime. IMHO, it's steeper uphill compare to Salon road map, and Distinction (a couple of alphabets behind your name). That's if you work for it.

Having said that, there are individuals who make a name for 'emselves in our community thru photography contests locally. And that's because we're a very small community compare to the International Arena.I yet to see another Pang Piow Kan and Arthur Teng making it in the International Arena thru photography contests, years after years. I salute them . And I encourage you to do that too, certainly I'm trying hard myself...

Mind you, as soon as you slow down the pace (in photography contest)... people would think that you're running out of "bullets". Or Salon Photography which can be your next option...Please note, there are many ways to make a reputation for your Photography career, please do not imply that Salon Photography is the best option. It's just another option, and it too came with a price..."

1 comment:

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