Introducing our Judge Accreditation Programme

The inaugural judge training weekend, Aug 2013
The inaugural judge training weekend 
                    Christchurch Aug 2012

Thanks to a new programme established by the Photographic Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) photographers aspiring to become judges can become accredited by the PSNZ Council. Initiated by Shona Jaray APSNZ, the PSNZ President, and chaired by Wellington-based Bruce Girdwood FPSNZ, the programme has been well received and is attracting a good number of participants.

The objective is to ensure that camera clubs are well served by judges who know and understand the art and craft of photography, and are able to communicate an assessment in a way that educates and inspires our whole membership – beginners and experienced photographers alike. The biggest challenge for a judge is to be humble by stepping aside from their own personal taste and prejudice in order to get to the heart of the message in the work they are critiquing.

We are helping our judges to develop skills required to, as far as possible, put their own preferences to one side and to provide a reasoned interpretation of images.  We do this by using a process that, at its heart, identifies the message, or story, in an image,     how the photographer expresses that story in their own style and how they do this by using the craft of photography to produce a unique image, their art.  The role of the judge is to communicate a well-reasoned interpretation of the resultant image in a way that respects the intent of the image-maker while educating and inspiring club members.

To achieve our objectives the programme has two stages.  During the first stage the aspirant judge is paired with a mentor who provides guidance.  When the applicant and mentor are happy with the skills and confidence levels of the applicant then the applicant applies for full accreditation.  This first stage can take from six to 12 months.

For full accreditation the applicant is provided with 20 images to assess which must be done fluently, with sensitivity, respect and in a way that demonstrates the effectiveness of the image in conveying its message whatever the genre.   Once approved, clubs are notified that the successful applicant is available for club judging.

PSNZ expects a lot from its accredited judges and do our best to support them with mentors and training.  To do this we need good mentors, good training and on-going support materials.  Over the last year we have developed training and we are building a great community of people around our judging programme.

To date we have accredited six new judges, bringing our total number of accredited judges to 42.

The introductory weekend course introduces prospective judges to the art and craft of judging, provides good development opportunities for those in the accreditation process and is a good refresher for all accredited judges.  We strongly encourage attendance as it helps build and develop a common language for constructive image critique.

More detailed information can be found on our website regarding applying for judge accreditation.

If you know this is what you want then you will need to complete the initial assessment application form

For further information please visit the PSNZ website www.photography.org.nz

Bruce Girdwood FPSNZ

Chair Judge Accreditation Panel

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