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AWARDS

Why Do 4 Silvers Beat 4 Golds? At the end of each category in the AIPP’s Awards process, the top three portfolios are assessed by the judging panel to determine the overall winner. Why is this system better than simply giving first prize to the set of prints with the highest score?

TAGS APPA Awa rd s

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The reason the top three portfolios (where a

a good print following a run of below average

portfolio is a set of four prints) in each category

entries; and if your print comes up immediately

are re-assessed to determine the overall winner

after a Gold award, it is a challenge to get the

is to ensure fairness.

judges giving two Golds in a row.

This must sound quite odd to someone

As careful as the organisers are, there are

who wins three or four Golds, only to discover

many variables in the judging process. Our

a portfolio with a lower aggregate score has

judges are human (thank heavens) and the

beaten them. How can this be fair?

judging process has its limitations.

NOT ABSOLUTE

INITIAL RESULT

Judging a photography competition is not like

So, at the end of a category judging, we have

timing a running race. It’s a subjective process

a range of scores with variable consistency.

which we try to make as objective as possible,

In most situations, this isn’t a major problem

but at the heart of a score are five subjective

because the entrant has received a fair

opinions.

assessment of their work.

During the judging process, you can have

It’s true that a print scoring 78 or 79 might

two or three different judging rooms with

get 81 or 82 on another day, and similarly a

different judges and panel chairs. And prints

print earning 82 might get 77. And we also

can be judged at the beginning of the day or at

see even larger variations between state and

the end of the day, by experienced judges and

national judging. There is variability in the

those not so experienced.

judging scores.

How a print scores can also be dependent

However, when it comes to the Gold and

on the prints that came before it. It is only

Silvers with Distinction, there can be even larger

natural for the judges to be enthusiastic about

differences in the scores. There aren’t as many

AIPP Journal - April 2016  

The official journal of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography

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