What is a ‘soft’ print?

On Friday evening I went to an eye-opening evening at Hertford Camera Club who had invited Kevin Herbert, a judge of 35 years experience, to give an insight into the judge’s view of a competition.

He added to the theory I had spent days researching about depth of field and the viewing distances which reduce a circle of confusion to a single point in human perception, with a remark about a British standard for how close to inspect a print.

The answer was a fairly surprising requirement to view from a distance of twice the diagonal, and not more than four times the diagonal, which he qualified with the comment that one can then look closer to analyse defects seen from that range.

That was the technical bit.  Most important was the initial overview in which the judge has to assess the author’s intent, or at least the effect of the author’s work and presentation, putting firmly aside personal likes and dislikes of subject matter.  How to deal with the technically excellent presentation of the boring or revolting, the technically poor but original presentation?  All good thought provoking stuff and an evening well spent.  I hope we’ll have Kevin along to the local club in the near future, as I’m sure others would enjoy his talk, and come away with entirely different highlights.

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