Allow me to describe a little bit about this really cool photo competition (http://www.garudacompetition.com): The first competition was in 2007, only nation wide. This one was participated by I-don’t-know-how-many photo enthusiasts, but there were 13,000 entries. The theme was: My Home, My Country. It involved 10 judges from Indonesia, Japan and Singapore. I was the little kid on the block, as usual haha.. They were Goenadi Haryanto, Arbain Rambey, Oscar Motuloh, Makarios Soekojo, Jan Dekker, Agus Leonardus, Minoru Masujima (he called himself Mike), Prijastono Purwanto (from Garuda) and Tan Lip Seng (I love him – super humble guy with too many medals in photography).
Every judge had to do on-line judging separately (each judge viewed 1,000-1,300 photos and chose their favorites). The judges then met to discuss the final 20 photographers. The chosen one were from Indonesia, Australia, India, Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar and Hongkong. This was the unique part. Each finalist then was sent to one of 5 tourism destinations in Indonesia, accompanied by 2 judges, took pictures in 24 hours and competed only 2o pictures from that 24 hours hunting. Too bad I could not make it, as I had to be in Bali Fashion Week.
The new 400 final photos then judged in Bali. The session was held at Discovery Hotel at Kuta, a 5-star hotel with nice beach. Very nice. Garuda did a good job in providing us good accommodations. I was impressed.
We decided to make the judging ‘rough’. “Let’s choose the real cool ones, and ignore the ‘so-so’s. Let’s play it cold blooded” :D. So we did. The session was unexpectedly finished in 2 hours. The winners were Goh Koon Peng, Singapore (1st), Rommy Perbawa, Indonesia (2nd) and Prakash Hatvalne, India (3rd). Two special categories winners were A. K. Moe Moe, Myanmar (best culture/people) and Olivier Ralliere, France (best landscape).
* these photos are courtesy of Garuda
My personal note on the judging: I am happy that all my selections became the winners, especially when we debated which one to be the 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Some judges didn’t like the over saturation of the 1st winner. Some also didn’t like the fish eye treatment. Heeey, I’d say let the photographers do whatever techniques they preferred. What really mattered for me were the contents (the photos HAVE TO have a message, some depth, well.. something), contexts (they have to be relevant to the theme and goals of the competition) and visual beauty (man, the photos just have to be beautiful to win).
It was interesting to see the different point of views of the judges, as we were from the different age groups (me versus the other 9 haha), demographics and fields (journalism, salon, commercial, architecture etc). Some value photo composition higher than others. Some were fascinated by moments. Some by explorations and details. But the ambiance of discussion was very open and friendly. All judges could say anything they wanted and the others would respect it. Awesome! Such an honor to learn from these fellows. My luck ;).
Thanks to Garuda for trusting me.