Set Competitions

Our set competitions use the same entry format as the Open Competitions but the images have to relate to the set subject that's often set by the visiting judge in advance. The rules for picture size and submission arrangements are the same as for our Open Competitions.

Here are our judges' guidance notes for the 2016 and 2017 competitions.

2017 - WORK

Work can have several inferences, manifestly the mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a result. It may be a job, a means to an end, or the location where one is employed.

Work involves exertion, slog, toil, drudgery, or elbow grease. It always involves time, perhaps there are ways to show the progress of work, or the time it takes.

Hiroshi Sugimoto's Theatres, were each exposed during the screening of a feature movie, resulting in a blank screen, glowing ethereally. The light projected from the screen illuminates the interior of the theatre, making the architectural details discernible in the darkened room. Simultaneously, Sugimoto is producing a new work of art, showing the architectural work of the movie theatre and using the movie work of others to light his image.

Perhaps, it is the end result of work which is more interesting, and visibly exciting than the work itself, any entry should communicate your interpretation of “work”. The Hatton Garden heist arguably can now be described visually by the three holes bored through the concrete wall, it represents the time and exertion expended to enter the vault, and also the equipment used – but as a wider collective we only know this through the media's use of that image. You may need to consider what someone may be expected to know of a specialist craftsman at work to correctly interpret your image.

Think not only of 9-5 work, but of housework, cosmetic work, building work, craft and artwork, things may run like clockwork or the internal workings of some machinery or even the human body. Work can be done by others, such as a birds nest. Perhaps your photography is more than a hobby, you may be a professional who charges for their work. Maybe your favourite dish comes with 'the works' (i.e. a roast dinner with all the trimmings/all the works).

The subject gives you a wide scope for your image, try to have fun and be unique.

2016 - BAKERY

This can be still life, the event of baking...(Mum in the kitchen...Dad being the cook?) mixing ingredients...children playing at baking...a Bakery...the people, the machinery, the end results... eating it ....abstractions? Kneading, flour, utensils ---history, pizzas, tandoori, rice pudding, baking a fish over an open fire on a picnic? Burning the cakes? Cup cake heaven...big eyes and big bellies? Unusual baking...adobe bricks, ceramics, scout badge oven?

Plenty to think about.


This could mean literally something in motion, at speed - a race - or just moving - a snail or a traffic jam for instance.

It could also mean a moving emotion...a person showing emotion...laughter, sadness, love --

or perhaps a moving aurora or a violent sea or storm.

Please see this as a challenge and not so much a competition.

I rarely judge pictures on their "set" qualities; more on the attempt.

Please avoid sunsets and swans :-) - Andrew Mills

2014 - FOOD

This is a pretty wide subject and I love it when people use their imagination and try to think outside the box.

It could be food being grown or reared.

Prepared or cooked.

Served or eaten.

A burger van or a posh restaurant, an ice cream van or a Hong Kong street market.

It could be the fish market in Brixham or the food market in Barcelona.

I saw a great shot with lots of different food, chillies, beans and carrots laid out to make a picture.

The ideas could be endless.

It's all to do with imagination.

I once built a New York skyline at night using different circuit boards at different heights, backlighting and adding a fake reflection in water, something different from the run of the mill.

Quality and presentation are important too of course.

If getting out in the next month there will be lots of baby lambs being born, that's food even if we don't want to think about it sometimes.

I'm sure your members will have their own ideas and I look forward to being surprised.

In the end, extra marks for imaginative ideas, carefully produced. - Geoff Roberts