The entries may have been down a bit but according to the judge, the quality of photographs entered by the students of the Alder Flats Elementary School in their second annual photography contest was way, way up.
“There is definitely a difference over last year,” said Edo Deweert, who also judged the contest last year. “You can see that there has been a certain amount of improvement as well as thought going into the process of producing photographs that are interesting and worthwhile looking at. It’s one thing to take pictures, but it’s something else to take a photograph.”
Deweert, who has also judged photography for the annual Rimbey Horticultural Show for many years, suggested that the perspective of the photographer plays a key role in taking quality and interesting pictures.
“For a picture to become a photograph, certain things have to happen and I can see that it has been happening from last year here in the contest,” Deweert said. “There’s been more time spent on composition, on close-ups and also I’ve noticed something that I mentioned last year, is normally we see a lot of pictures that were taken by people in general when they’re standing up and that’s because we see the world when we’re standing up.”
To those ends, Deweert recommended to the students that they try different vantage points such as lying on their backs, sitting on the ground or even climbing on something to get a different angle.
“It was very busy. There was a lot of interest among the kids with the edit and text part of the contest,” said teacher Christina Leeder, who along with co-worker Kathleen Borzel and volunteer Anita Hopfe, put in many hours of work organizing, matting and hanging the entries in the contest. “Last year I had taught some of the editing and text and a lot of the kids retained the information and were able to go above and beyond what they did last year.”
As for the future, Leeder said plans are already in the works for next year’s contest and was quick to add that she is still receiving feedback from last year’s competition.
The kids really enjoy it and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback. Even at a recent teacher’s convention one of the other teachers asked if I was the teacher that held the photo contest. They had read the article from last year and were really impressed. I’ve had comments from other places too asking the same. They thought it was a fantastic idea to give the kids at this age the opportunity because a lot of times they don’t get into this until junior high school,” she said.
“There was a lot of comments that came from the community and people were very impressed with the story,” Leeder added. “Even our division office in Wetaskiwin noticed it and were really impressed with the article and the positive things we’re doing at our school.”
As for the future of the judge, Deweert said he would not be returning next year for one very important reason, despite the fact he thoroughly enjoyed judging the contest.
“The reason that I’m not doing it again next year is that I find myself repeating the same thing to some students so I want to give somebody else an opportunity to have their input in it and give the kids a different perspective on judging as well,” he said. “I really enjoy this. It’s a lot of fun to do. I do the judging from the perspective of the creative and artistic aspect of photography. I assume that everyone knows how to operate a camera so the technical aspect has nothing to do with it. It’s purely judging the images and the creativity and primarily the composition.”
The contest required students to take photographs in three distinctive categories being people, places and things, and was open to all students at the school from kindergarten to Grade 6, who competed in two divisions including K to Grade 3 and from grades 4 to 6.
Last year, 175 entries were received with 149 this year, which Leeder attributes to a majority of the Grade 6 students from last year graduating to attend high school in nearby Buck Lake.
For a closer look at the winning photographs online, check out: alderflatsschool.ca