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
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.
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
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.
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