The Etobicoke Camera Club continued to innovate Ontario photography-judging traditions by including live-judging for their contests.

Over 100 members of the Etobicoke Camera Club were part of a live-judged photography competition to which the public was also invited.

Members of the club submitted photographs to be judged publicly at the Humber Valley United Church on Oct. 2, 2017. Three judges sat on the panel in front of a room filled with camera club members and judged 215 submissions.

John Stevenson, club president, said that the main emphasis of the club is the learning experience that competition provides to its members. “The main point of competition for me was always to push yourself. When you see someone on the screen and they get points you say – I could do that. And if you get that bug, you’ll push yourself,”

To make sure the judging is fair and impartial, Stevenson said that the club uses judges from outside the club and keeps the photographs anonymous until after the competition. This blank style of judging put the importance on the photographs instead of the photographer.

“One of the benefits of live judging is that you get that interplay,” said Julian Sale, a Canadian Association for Photographic Art certified judge.

“We also have non-live judging. In other words, it’s done off-camera so the members are not invited or it’s done digitally online. And although the comments are made and recorded you just don’t have that interplay.” He also went on to say that the energy that the live event creates is a motivating factor for photographers to continue producing their best work.

“Etobicoke Camera Club is one of the few clubs that does live judging for every competition, and I have to say that produces better photographers because they hear those comments.”

Fernanda Vicentin, Humber College photography student and a member of the Etobicoke Camera Club, said that she felt immediately welcomed by the other members when she joined the club. Vicentin joined this year but said, “what I found my first time being there was – wow, these people have a lot of experience. I think it’s totally different than learning from a teacher.”

A discount is offered to students joining the club compared to the regular annual fee. The club hosts multiple judging competitions this year in addition to its many guest speaker events this calendar year.