Can The Judges Enter APPA? There are arguments for and against allowing
his or her own chances.
judges to enter the competition they are judg-
ing. For both the Canon AIPP Australian Profes-
many safeguards. The panel chair sees all the
sional Photography Awards and the Epson AIPP
scores and will remove a judge who appears to
state awards, judges are generally allowed to
be rorting the system. If a judge scores 5 points
enter any category and may be invited to judge
lower than the other judges, this only makes a
the same category they have entered.
one point difference to the aggregate. And if a
This simply can’t work because there are so
judge scores 10 points below the average, he or In Favour
she will be asked to explain to the panel why.
It is important that a judging panel has credibility and one way to ensure that credibility is to
invite judges who have been successful in the
Behind the scenes there are strictly enforced
past (such as Masters of Photography and previ-
rules that ensure a judge will not be on a panel
to mark his or her own work. If due to an over-
sight a judge were to be sitting in front of his or
It is also seen that the best judges of a cat-
egory are usually photographers who under-
her print, the panel chair would ask the judge to
stand and practice that genre. And judges who
step down – assuming the judge hadn’t already
also enter the competition know what it is like
stepped back from the panel!
to be judged by others, to receive a low score,
to hear a critical comment. With this back-
to be assessed, the judge is removed from five
ground, their standard of judging improves.
to ten prints beforehand, so the other judges
don’t know either. And there are many other
The judging panel has many criteria for se-
Generally speaking, if a judge’s print is about
lection, but generally a panel will include pho-
reasons a judge can be retired from the panel,
tographers who are also entrants.
the most common because he or she is a close friend or associate of the author of another print
about to be judged.
There can be a perception that a judge who
has work in a category might score all the other
proved to be a benefit for the APPA judging sys-
prints with low marks, in an attempt to improve
On balance, allowing judges to enter has
The official journal of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography.