Exhibition or Competition?

An interesting discussion arose during our recent Annual Exhibition as to whether we should indicate Commendations/Best etc below the prints. An exhibition of prints doesn’t need such indications, though a print competition might well. I took the decision that we would not do so on pragmatic grounds; that we wished visitors to consult their catalogues for this information; that we promised our sponsors advertising in exchange for their contributions; and that around 350 catalogues would be consulted by visitors to the exhibition, exposing these advertisements to these visitors.

We offered a majority of the prints for sale on the Friday evening. It seemed preferable that visitors would view the prints and draw their initial conclusions without any judge’s bias (though, of course the judge’s decisions were available in the free catalogue, should the visitor be concerned to discover which were the “best” prints.)

A departure from our usual Friday night Slide presentation was the “Music at an Exhibition” when Poynton Male Voice Choir entertained us in the first half, and Hawk Green Brass Band took over for the second half. The audience, comfortably exceeding 100 in number, thoroughly enjoyed the evening, much to the relief of the committee, and maybe setting a precedent for future Friday evenings at the Exhibition.

L&CPU President David Marsh formally opened the Exhibition and presented the Club’s trophies to the lucky winners. Our regular inter-club events (now known as the "North Cheshire Challenges") on the first two evenings continued to thrive with 23 clubs competing in the digital print competition, and 19 clubs in the slide knockout competition. In the former, judge Richard Speirs from Carlisle awarded Geraldine Hillmer of Wilmslow Guild the prize for the best print with Wilmslow Guild PS and Carluke PS sharing the top club place. Wigan 10 Foto Club easily beat all opposition to win the North Cheshire Challenge Cup. Three of the four top slides came from Wigan 10. Malcolm Kus, from Wolverhampton, was the popular judge of this competition. The full results are given below.

One of our newer members asked the rather general question “How is the Exhibition organised?” Well, it is a pleasant feature of the Exhibition that most members assist in some way in its preparation, erection, running, and dismantlement. Some undertake specific jobs. Presently Roger Dye corresponds with the competition clubs; Jonathan Bawden oversees the awards, Sandra Brown organises the refreshments, Hillary Turnbull takes responsibility for the Raffles, Joyce Robson oversees door arrangements, Jill Hargeaves looks after local advertising, whilst Frank Hutchinson addresses the bigger, national picture. Our equipment man, John Ade, ensures that the exhibition lights are in good order before each event. Gordon Robson and Geoff Robinson organised the arrangement of the prints on the stands. And Geoff, of course, as Treasurer, receives all the money. Bill Chadband produced the Catalogue, once judge David Butler’s results were known. Bill and Gordon Robson concerned themselves with getting sponsorship for the exhibition. As the ex-Exhibition organiser Gordon continues to be Bill’s mentor on the many aspects of the organisation.

On the night, President Tony Redford assembles a team to make the Competitions run smoothly. This year, for example, Gordon, Dorothy & Geoff manned the desk receiving the prints, Barry Pearson photographed the digital competition prints so that they could be seen on the large screen, as the judge assessed the print on the Print Box., Richard Scaife and Phil Riley presented and removed the prints. For the interclub slide knockout competition a different team is employed. Dave Akers, Barry, and Gordon prepared the slides for projection, and re-boxed them for handing back to the clubs after the competition. Brian Bower again provided his slide projector and, with Phil’s help projected the slide images. And the “Voice” was that of Tony Redford or Frank Hutchinson. For the second year running we have had problems with some of the competition slides getting stuck in the projector. It seems we will have to be more strict with entrants, regarding these slides.

Other Society members join in as appropriate, and as their own circumstances allow, on the Wednesday morning, to set up the stands and affix the prints, or set up the screens for slide and digital image viewing; and again on the Saturday morning to dismantle the exhibition. Members Sheila & Fred Edwards again assisted Joyce on the door for the three nights.

We are fortunate in having the services of Peter Redford who brings up his own computers and monitors plus his own special programs to facilitate the projection and recording of results. It is Peter’s expertise which has helped propel the NCPS Exhibition to its premier position in the L&CPU calendar of events,

This year our club lunch, following the Exhibition, was taken at the Little Mill Inn, Rowarth. Twenty eight members and partners enjoyed this “winding down” ceremony, which has now replaced the club Christmas luncheon. Our thanks go to Jonathan Bawden who did the organisation of the event.

With a successful 2007 Exhibition behind us thoughts will gradually focus on the 2008 Exhibition; Who should we ask to judge; What kind of Friday event should we plan; What changes (improvements) can we envisage?

Bill Chadband

President, Tony Redford adds:

I hope I speak for everyone, members and visitors alike, when I say that this year’s exhibition provided a most enjoyable few days. It’s why we do it.

There are lessons to be learnt of course, and next year’s event will undoubtedly benefit from the experience gained and from the comments and constructive criticisms voiced by those involved, directly and indirectly, this year.

Our treasurer, Geoff Robinson, reports that early indications point to the week being a financial success. That is indeed a bonus and due in no small measure to many members’ generosity in providing raffle prizes as well as working hard on publicising, in particular, the innovative Friday evening event. Also, finding sponsors can be a thankless task as those who undertake it will confirm, but it all helps us to pay our way.

Bill Chadband has done his best in his report to mention as many people as possible who were directly involved in this year’s Exhibition. No doubt there are a number of omissions who feel they also did there bit.

Much of what happens year by year understandably gets taken for granted. For instance, the automatic back-projection of our slide entry, together with adjacent monitor simultaneously spelling out title, author and award now passes without comment by our own members. But a number of visitors came forward to express their admiration and appreciation of that very aspect. Some were also surprised that we can switch on the print panel lights from the centre of the room – and how do we generate the background music some wanted to know. And so it goes on.

The ingenious computer programmes, unique to North Cheshire, also earn us compliments. The speed at which we produce individual print-outs for competing clubs (we use a dedicated laser printer for this), the re-sorting and packing of their slides for prompt collection at the end, the projection of prints and cumulative score during the inter-club print competition – all involve some serious planning but contribute satisfyingly to our visitors’ good impressions of North Cheshire’s Annual Exhibition.

But a special mention needs to go to Bill himself who, as Exhibition Co-ordinator, is chiefly responsible with pulling it all together. With so much involved behind the scenes as well as during the event, this is no easy task. So congratulations, Bill, on a job well done.