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  1. Bruce Moreland
  2. General Discussion
  3. Friday, February 03 2017, 11:34 PM
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Since starting our discussion on Clicktiques, another question has come to my attention. Some people are apparently concerned that, even though we've divided the competitions into groups, the "professionals" are still monopolizing the competition. One possible solution would be to have these people graduate from, or be promoted beyond the competition and assume some other role in the club. Another idea was to divide the competition into three more-homogeneous ability groups instead of two. Another might be to see if we are using the most efficient or effective way to assign members to each group (but that may soon come up as yet another discussion).

I confess it has been many moons since I last attended a Clicktique, so I should probably be considered "out of touch" on this issue, but to get the ball rolling I'll give you some of the possible arguments I see for this discussion. Since I don't like the notion of excluding people from club activities, we will focus on the three group idea for now (but, as always, I welcome opposing views).

The idea of differentiating ability levels to level the playing field is very appealing and is being used in other areas. As I remember from school, however, no matter how fine the divisions are, variability still persisted. When I was attending Clicktiques it was not uncommon for members of Group B to score higher than Group A, but one could also argue that this is proof that our present allocation system doesn't work. There's also the question of whether the size of the club, or at least the number of Clicktique participants, can justify three groups without them being too small. That seems like a reasonable concern, but that may also depend on your motives, I suppose. I once belonged to the Florida Marine Aquarium Society, which had an annual aquarium competition at the Museum of Science. To promote more participation in the event (which was a money-maker for the Museum of Science as well as the club) they had a large number of categories and awarded a large number of trophies. Even though hauling an aquarium to the museum and back could be considered a pain in the butt, most of the participants went home happy. Is there a moral, here? I'll let you judge whether this example has anything to do with us. (For what it's worth, I'm not sure that club even exists today, but I'm reasonably sure its possible demise had nothing to do with Nancy and I moving on.)

There are other reasonable arguments on both sides of this issue; don't make me do all the heavy lifting here. The arguments that prevail should be based solely on the facts, and how well they support our guiding principles. Although that battle has pretty much been lost for the time being in the political arena, I still have confidence in my fellow KCC members.

Although I prefer transparency, if you have a reasonable argument, but would prefer your name not be published, I might be able to work with you. Send me a message (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). I'll be in and out of town the next few months, so patience would be a virtue. Thanks for your help!
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I need professionals in my life to help me were I can not help myself.

To define a "Professional" as someone who does something for money is at best in accurate.

We have armatures who produce on a regular basis fantastic works.

The men and women that are paid professionals have my kudo's for their participation.

They have more at stake than I do. They teach me more than they ever fully know.

ThomS
  1. Thomas Stevens
  2. 8 months ago
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Well, it's been decided - there will be no changes this year. At first I was unconvinced of the need for this change, but then recognized its potential to improve the Clicktiques and am now disappointed that nothing happened. But there is always next year. Your lack of comments could have been interpreted as acquiescence to the status quo. If you really want to "make KCC great again" (yes, I stole that line from somewhere else), you need to make yourself heard. There is no better place than right here.

Later this summer, I may bring up other issues for comment. Stay tuned.
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Discussion
  3. # 1
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I've received a comment from Robert Chaplin, which is pasted below. For those who don't know, Robert is a well-regarded local professional photographer (www.rlchaplinphotography.com) who has been a contributer to the club, mostly in some judging capacity, for several years now (He was also instrumental in the establishment of
the South Florida National Parks Camera Club). Since he is not a member (judges cannot be members), I try to help promote discussion.

__________________________________

If professionals need to compete, there should be a separate classification. When I judged the Bokeh clicktique, it was disappointing to find out a professional won. Not because he was a professional, and not because his images were good, but because it seemed unfair to the rest of membership in Group A. An argument can be made that competing with a professional would help raise the quality of photographs in the Clitiques. If this is considered to be true, then why have a Group A and Group B. Growth is achieved in steps.

An Elite group could be created to allow more accomplished photographers to compete with each other. This could include professionals and members who have won Group A photographer of the year.

The judges don't need to know which images are in the Elite group. We would continue to judge as we always have. The difference would be in the recognition at the end of the Clicktique.

As with any Elite group, there are fewer competitors. This could be an issue if there is only one competitor, causing a win by default.

The other option is to exclude professionals from the competitions. Not sure this is the best option; and is the definition of professional? A photographer who sells at art shows, leads workshops, teaches, photographs weddings or events?

Please do not hesitate to let me know how I can help.


Robert L. Chaplin
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After giving it a little more thought, Robert thought he could do a better job of explaining his ideas -

________________________________________



Hi Bruce, I typed the previous quickly this morning before heading in to the office.

Let me try to refine my thought a little more.

I think your Clicktiques are well thought out and don't seem to need much revision.

The goal to education is graduation. Using education as an analogy - There are fewer students working on an associates degree than graduate High School, with fewer working on a bachelors, less on a masters, and even less working on a doctorate. After the doctoral degree some move to being an educator. Keep in mind that some students working on their associates may have a skill set equal to that of a doctoral candidate and these are the students that will continue to the top.

I think this is also applicable to the artistic growth in a camera club with a competitive component.

Everyone starts at the bottom and through education and accomplishment, they earn their way to the top. There will always be gifted students in lower groups but they will promoted to the higher groups through their accomplishments, and there will always be fewer at the top.

The KCC has some very gifted photographers that should compete in that rarefied air at the top for continued growth.

Having that extra tier may be what's needed to attract, engage, and retain members who feel they have reached the pinnacle of their craft with the club. If I am not mistaken, the move from group B to A is merit driven. Do the same for the Elite group. The merit tier scores may need to be revisited, but it seems to me it is certainly doable.

Let me close by saying; not having enough participation in any specific group is not a good reason to force a novice to compete with an advanced photographer, or even a professional. This would most likely alienate the novice. I have had the conversation with many potential camera club members where they indicate that they do not want to join a camera club because they are just starting and do not know what they are doing. I tell them, that is the best time to join. Maybe having a safe place to start is the best way to get new members and foster growth.
  1. Bruce Moreland
  2. 7 months ago
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I received another comment on this issue and will share it in the hopes of stimulating more thought and possible solutions. I have done some editing, which I hope would be considered minor.

"One easy solution I would like to be considered is excluding professionals from the club. There are professional organizations out there with their own competitions and award systems. A suggested guideline could be that if a person receives 50% or more of their income from the sale of photographs or in a photo related business situation then they should be considered professional. I have seen this rule used before in public photo contests and similar situations."

"If we continue to allow professional types in the club, I would agree with you that they be in their own category and/or encouraged to act as mentors, instructors, etc."

"The idea of three levels of competition might work if there were enough numbers in all categories to make it practical as you mentioned. When I first saw KCC’s literature saying that the club was open to amateurs, advanced amateurs AND professionals, I was surprised to say the least. So far it has been somewhat self-policing and not a problem."

"Hope this is of some value to you and the club."

In other discussions, I have heard other ideas that I thought were promising, and those people assured me that they were working on their own responses to this discussion. Stay tuned, and remember, there is always room for your own ideas here. Good luck.
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I would like to reply to the anonymous comment relayed by Bruce but I wonder where to start. I suppose I should start with a sincere 'thank you' for your honest contribution to this discussion. While I don't agree with your opinion, I still think that it is important that all points of view be considered.



A next logical place to continue my reply is to quote the mission statement of Kendall Camera Club: "Our mission is to inspire, educate, help develop and improve the photographic skills of our members in a social and friendly environment."



Please note the very first part of that mission: "Our mission is to inspire..." INSPIRE! That is exactly what the product of a good photographer does...not just professionals (more on that later), but all good photographers. Banning professionals from KCC would eliminate their contributions of their potentially inspiring work as well as the opportunity for them to convey their knowledge and skills to those members who would, otherwise, like to learn from them.



In reply to the anonymous commenter's suggested guideline for the exclusion of professionals: "...if a person receives 50% or more of their income from the sale of photographs or in a photo related business situation then they should be considered professional." How should KCC monitor and enforce this guideline? President Trump won't even release his tax returns (sorry, I had to go there) and I don't think that anybody should have to provide a statement of income detailing what portion of it is from a photography related business and what portion is from another means of income. And, "...photo related business..."??? Where should the line be drawn? Does somebody who makes a living selling their hand made custom camera straps fall under the term "photo related business"? If so, does that mean that they somehow have an unwelcome advantage in Clicktiques?



That brings up another question: What problem is being addressed when suggesting that professionals be banned from KCC? Is it that professionals are so good that they dominate the top placements in Clicktiques? As I stated in my previous comment in this discussion: "Consider how well non-professionals such as Barbara Thompson, Zoila Martin, Yevette Shapiro, and Sharon Wilie have been doing and while I see a pattern among that group, it's not that they are professional." I wonder if the anonymous commenter even read the previous comments in this forum.



I am a professional photographer who takes note of who appears to be successful in photography and why. I have noticed that some of the most successful photographers, in regards to income (which, I suppose best defines professional), are skilled more in marketing than they are in creating good images. I see a lot of well known pros who produce terribly flawed work that would not compete well in Clicktiques against our non-pro members. I even see a lot of great photos from Group B members that are better than the work of many professional photographers. So, if people think that Clicktiques are being won by a small number of members, maybe they should look at past winners and determine whether those members are professional photographers before suggesting that professionals and what they bring to the club should be excluded. How many pros are we talking about, anyway. Besides me, I am guessing that Pedro Lastra is a pro but I can't think of anybody else at the moment. Pedro won two of the top three places in Group A last month, but when and how often has he won before that? I think I won a top three place the month before or maybe the month before that, but I haven't been on a winning streak lately. Lately, I have preferred to experiment with my submissions by producing risky entries just to see how well received they are by judges and members. Most of them have not scored well so I have not been "dominating" the winner's circle. But that is not always my motivation when entering lately, anyway. So, again, what other professional is dominating and is it really a problem that needs to be solved?



Speaking of Pedro winning, I think that his awesome entries were inspiring to members. They definitely seemed to be interested in them and when I announced the winners, I prompted him to share how he captured his images. Let's see now...that directly served the KCC mission to " to inspire, educate, help develop and improve the photographic skills of our members in a social and friendly environment." This is what we want, isn't it?



And that leads me to reply to one more part of the anonymous comment: ""If we continue to allow professional types in the club, I would agree with you that they be in their own category and/or encouraged to act as mentors, instructors, etc." With the exception of having their own category, I also agree with that statement. Professionals, as well as skilled amateurs (see the themes being repeated?), should be encouraged to act as mentors, instructors, etc. Using myself as a professional as an example, I have taught Photoshop for groups of members in their homes, I have gone to the homes of several members to tutor them one-on-one, I have participated in field trips in which my only interest was to teach others, and I even led a 9 day workshop in Oregon for four KCC members this past October That would not happen if professionals were excluded from KCC as suggested.



As I have stated in my previous comment in this forum, I believe that there is merit in the idea of creating a third tier of photographers in Clicktiques. I like the idea that I have been discussing for a couple of years with other members. This idea was to split Group A so that there would be a "Master's Group" in which the absolute best in Group A could move up to. It would be for those who have excelled in Clicktiques beyond a level yet to be defined but it certainly would not be just for professionals. Being a professional does not necessarily equate to excelling in photography and neither does being an amateur equate to not being extremely competitive.



So, I definitely do not think that professionals should be excluded from KCC as suggested. Doing so would not solve any problem, but it would deny KCC the inspiration that their work brings as well as the wealth of knowledge and skills that they can share with the club.



While I have long thought about and discussed the idea of splitting Group A so as to create a "Master's Group", I will say again that I also like the ideas that Thom Stevens has come up with that include a well thought out system for promoting and demoting members based on a standard of scoring instead of winning. I hope that everybody who has an interest in revising the groups of photographers will read all of the ideas presented and continue to discuss them. By working together, I am confident that we can develop and refine the ideas put forth so as to revise our current Clicktique rules in the best interest of the club while also serving the goals in our mission statement.



....but, we first have to boost membership numbers to support three tiers!



Robert
  1. Robert Sullivan
  2. 8 months ago
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  1. more than a month ago
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Anyone who would like a copy of Thom's proposal or this spreadsheet can download them from here. Of course, you can still talk to him directly about his ideas with the contact information he provided.
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Good Morning to all,

I am currently Your Membership Chairman. I believe my job has two parts.
1. To help retain new members
2. To encourage current members to participate in club activities.

I have been tracking attendance for most of the past year. With attendance at 27%, I believe my focus (pun intended) is to increase participation for the next year.

I agree with Robert Sullivan that we need to build up membership. However, 27% of 130 members, (currently we have 106 "active" memberships) is not what I am after.

The membership in the quality and quantity of their presentations are "PROFESSIONAL". It's just that most do not get paid for their work. The recognition by the KCC is their reward.

I love to play golf, but do not wish to go up against Tiger Woods. To that end I volunteered to serve on a committee to propose revisions to the Clicktique program. If any club member would like a copy of my proposal, please send me an e-mail (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and I will forward it to you.

ThomS
Membership Chairman
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  1. more than a month ago
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I have discussed this idea with other members many times and I believe that it has merit. However, I disagree with the belief that "professionals are monopolizing the competition". Consider how well non-professionals such as Barbara Thompson, Zoila Martin, Yevette Shapiro, and Sharon Wilie have been doing and while I see a pattern among that group, it's not that they are professional.

The reason this discussion has come up in the past is because some past top photographers felt like they were winning too often and felt bad about it. One of them was Albert Rodriguez. Long before he became too busy to attend meetings, he quit entering Clicktiques despite my attempts to reason with him. I believe that his winning of Clicktiques benefits the club by the sharing of his great works more than it takes away by discouraging competition. People could see what the possibilities could be through his examples and aspire to shoot like he often does. Since the primary part of our mission is to educate our members, skilled photographers such as Albert and Mike Harris submitting excellent examples of their photography and sharing their techniques at the end of a Clicktique is something that would lend to fulfillment of that mission. Still, when facing strong competition, I am sure that there are a few people in Group A who choose, instead, not to enter a Clicktique because they feel that they can't compete. I had a streak in which I was winning quite a lot and more than one person asked me if I was going to stop entering. I considered it but I chose, instead, to start submitting more "risky" images and most of them have not been scoring well with the judges.

So, I am glad to see that Bruce has started this forum discussion so that the idea can finally get more attention and I look forward to ideas from other members. Thom Stevens has made a great start with a comprehensive proposal that seems to be well thought out and which includes a standard of scoring that determines promotion to a higher level rather than being forced to move up just because a member won the most in Group B (see below). Maybe Thom will post his thoughts here, as well. Otherwise, I am sure that the discussion will also continue at the next board meeting.

Now, for my reservations: Our membership numbers are not at a size that can support a three tiered Clicktique. Within the past two years we had many Clicktiques with very few entries in Group B. Just as recently as several months ago, I believe that there was a Clicktique in which there were only four entries and one member won two of the top three places. Not to take away from that member's accommplishment, but the math dictated that that had to happen. At the end of the year, somebody from Group B had to move to Group A and it is a possibility that this member was not as ready as previous years in which there was a larger pool of members to promote from.

I think that we need to greatly increase the size of our membership to the point that, not only can we populate three tiers, but that we can sustain a membership of a size that can ensure a reasonable number of members in each of the three groups. I don't think that it is a good idea to have Clicktiques in which members win because there is almost nobody else in their group. Further splitting our current entries from two to three groups when we have the numbers of entries as we have had in the last couple of years will result in little to no competition in one or more of those groups.

So, I think that we should continue this discussion (including the proposal that Thom Stevens crafted) but wait to implement it until we boost our membership and, therefore, the pool of Clicktique participants that we will be splitting into three groups.

Robert
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