Week Ten: Passion Portfolio (Finale)

MATCH BRIEF

Challengers, this competition is called The Shooting RANGE (and not “shooting matches”) for a reason. Sure, you could be given a simple task like take a pretty picture of a model or still life, but here at TSR we think the reason your images are unique is because of one simple factor: YOU. Your brain, your vision, your passion.


The Shooting Range is designed to test your ability across a range of both skills and topics. The intent is to go beyond creating a pretty and technically proficient picture, asking that you tackle everything from mimicking masters and simplifying your images, to looking at society and yourself in the mirror, with an emphasis on telling the story of WHY your angle is important to you and #relatable to others.


There were many weeks where you spent more time thinking and researching than shooting, but every Match Brief up to this point has been a building block preparing you for this Finale, in which you are challenged to create a Portfolio of FIVE images worthy of recognition. Maybe regionally, maybe nationally, maybe even internationally, but above all, by you personally.


Your Passion Portfolio should include a variety of images - people, places, and things - that raise awareness of the importance and complexity of the topic or subjects you are focussing on, and the titles of your images will be the following five words:


CONNECT | EDUCATE | AMAZE | PROVOKE | INSPIRE


Whether your images are of 5 different topics or 5 similar subjects, they should be built around a central theme - your WHY. Pick your angle and tie your images together with the one thing every image you ever shoot will have in common: YOU.


Lean on your team. While it may still feel counterintuitive, the cumulative viewpoint of your fellow challengers may arguably be the most valuable asset you have.


OBJECTIVES

Showing off everything that you have learned, tailored to a topic that floats your own boat.


SCORING

Each image will receive individual technical scores. The portfolio will be ranked as a whole from 1st to 3rd. The images and portfolio that receive the highest combined score will be named Season Two’s Range Master.

Week Nine: Forever Young

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional. ~unknown


We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. ~ Dalai Lama


MATCH BRIEF


It is TSR tradition that while the Finalists are busy taking an extra week to prepare their Portfolio submission, we flip the script and let the Shooters design a Match Brief and step into the role of Judge. While it might sound like this is an opportunity for the Challengers to get their pound of flesh, as a mentoring opportunity this role reversal is in fact an invaluable experience for the Shooters to put themselves in the Judges’ shoes and experience what it’s like to sit on the other side of the (virtual) podium.


The Challengers submitted suggestions and settled on a wonderful Match Brief for this week: Shoot a VERY BUSY IMAGE that represents YOUR INNER CHILD. Challengers remind Admin and Judges to use appropriate lighting and DOF, to ensure the image is in tack-sharp focus, and to include as many elements as possible in the image.


Keep in mind that while the image submitted needs to be intentionally busy, each element needs to support the storytelling aspect of the image.


Admin, Panelists, and Guest Judges are all asked to submit; all Qualifying Challengers are welcome to participate as Judges.


OBJECTIVES

Experience for Challengers in creating a Match Brief and participating as a Judge; experience for Judges and Admin to be given only a week to produce an image as the Challengers must.


SCORING

The image with this week’s highest score will receive the respect and admiration of the Shooters, top billing on the website, and a personal request from Billie and/or Hope to crash on your couch the next time they’re passing by. The images with lower scores will also receive the respect and admiration of the Shooters, accolades on the website, and a personal request from Hope and/or Billie to crash on your couch the next time they’re passing by, but will appear on the website at a lower rank than their co-competitors.

Week Eight: The Ripple Effect

The happiest future for the Indian race is absorption into the general population, and this is the object of the policy of our government. The great forces of intermarriage and education will finally overcome the lingering traces of native custom and tradition.

~Duncan Campbell Scott, Deputy Superintendent of the Department of Indian Affairs, on the purpose of Residential Schools in Canada’s Indian Act.


“Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.”

~ Dalai Lama


MATCH BRIEF

Canada has only recently begun to understand and acknowledge the full scope of atrocities bestowed upon its Indigenous and First Nations Peoples. It began the moment Europeans arrived to steal and colonize land they had no legal or moral or God-given rights to, and continues today with systematic discrimination. Despite the knowledge we now have, institutionalized segregation and racialised mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples including First Nations, Metis, and Inuit continues today. They are disproportionately represented in the criminal system, receive different treatment by medical professionals, suffer intergenerational trauma as a result of having their families ripped apart, their language and cultural practices made illegal, and in some communities there is still a lack of access to basic human rights such as healthcare, education, and clean drinking water.


Jessica Vandenberghe, PEng, MSc is a Sixties Scoop survivor whose journey to reconnect with her heritage and culture has led her to become a passionate and respected speaker on Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity, and Decolonization and start a podcast called Unsettled: Journeys in Truth and Conciliation. She starts every session with a reminder that guilt and shame are useless. This week, Challengers are asked to research and explore their own backyards and create an image that demonstrates the presence (or perhaps absence) of First Nations or Indigenous culture in their own community. This could also be related to honouring Land Spirit and Mother Earth, for Indigenous Peoples follow natural law and are the Land. Challengers who identify as Indigenous - which includes First Nations, Metis, and Inuit - are invited to create an image that reflects their personal experience. Challengers who are not of Indigenous heritage are encouraged to seek ways of going beyond the obvious, such as public monuments and artifacts, and find something (or someone) that strikes a chord in yourself. The key to nailing this week’s challenge is connecting deeply with whatever you shoot, which will require both research and soul-searching. Shooters are expected to include an Artist’s Statement explaining the context and significance of their concept as well as links to any resources used.


Important: Challengers are reminded to be respectful and avoid any kind of implied or direct cultural appropriation. If you are unsure if your concept may be perceived as disrespectful, please ask for feedback.


OBJECTIVES

Awareness of Canada's oppressive history towards Indigenous Peoples including First Nations, Metis and Inuit and on-going reality and challenges faced by Indigenous Communities, highlighting small ways to answer the Calls to Action local to each Challenger. Please take care to be aware of cultural appropriation and sensitivity - the creation of images should pique curiosity, educate, and spread awareness and hope for a reciprocal relationship that restores the culture that was previously punished by intentionally "killing the Indian within the child."


SCORING

The winning image will be the one receiving the highest score and the Shooter whose image receives the lowest score will be eliminated.

Week Seven: Exposure Self

"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do." — Eleanor Roosevelt


“Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.” — Vince Lombardi


MATCH BRIEF

Challengers, you’ll be excited to know there’s no artist statement required this week. In fact, it’s not even allowed. The purpose of requesting an Artist’s Statement up to this point has been to give you an additional tool for connecting with your subject. It has been to help you understand the WHY behind whatever it is you are shooting. So, you get a title, but no statement this week. Expose don’t explain.


This week, Guest Judge Teri Hofford is asking you to expose yourself because this week, your model is… YOU. Welcome to self-portrait week! Now don’t panic… no one is asking you to (or deterring you from) getting physically nekkid in front of your camera. But you are being asked to get emotionally nekkid in front of your camera.


This week, inspired by Teri’s work and writing, you are being asked to dig again, only you’ll be focusing on yourself this time, to challenge your own biases about your own self instead of someone or something else. It’s time to be vulnerable, because by being vulnerable and connecting with yourself, you will allow others to be vulnerable and connect with you. This week is about show, not tell. (PS - Post-processing? Discouraged for anything but cropping, balancing whites, and adding creative flourishes… and the judges have all retouched photos, so they’re gonna know… watch THIS VIDEO from Teri Hofford to understand why you’re being asked to avoid “fixing” things in post this week.)


OBJECTIVES

Narrative self-portraiture; use of creative and intentional lighting, composition, and form to effectively inspire mood, emotion, and connection; #relatable.


SCORING

Images will be scored individually. The image that receives the highest score will be the winner; the image with the lowest score will face elimination.


NOTES

You should include a title, but this week you can only expose, not explain yourself, because there is no artist statement allowed this week.


This IS NOT a boudoir challenge - you may choose to do any genre or style that you like, as long as YOU are in the photo.

Week Six: Sell Me a Story

“You can't judge a book by it's cover but you can sure sell a bunch of books if you have a good one.” ― Jayce O'Neal


“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.” — Don McCullin


MATCH BRIEF

According to 2021 statistics, digital media achieving 1 second of gaze resulted in an average of just 26 seconds of viewing. This reflects not only how little time there is to attract a viewer’s attention, but how little time we have to “sell” the story. This has resulted in a need for compelling images and carefully chosen headlines which on one hand sounds like a fancy way of saying “click-bait” but in reality reflects the job of publishing professionals like Cathie Calarco for both online and print media. They must sift through countless ideas, hundreds of photos, and thousands of words to choose which 3 images and 500 words will be published.


Your challenge this week is to create a COVER image (in PORTRAIT orientation) that sells your story, plus TWO images (in any orientation or crop) telling the story of something (or someone) that has impacted or influenced your (or will impact/influence others’) outlook on life. Total of THREE images MAX. You are welcome to choose any topic you like (an event, an activity, a person, a business, a hot debate other than those used in Week Five) as long as it includes a marketable image and title that attracts the elusive 1-second gaze (click bait) that makes a “shopper” interested enough in what your cover image is selling to invest 26 seconds (or $12) to look at the images in the visual story you want to tell. This Match Brief requires making compelling, professional quality images and demands the honesty and vulnerability needed for others to connect with your visual narrative.


OBJECTIVES

Shooting for publication (cover and supporting images), “newsworthy”, conceptualizing and editing ideas, marketing/marketable images, self-editing/culling a series of images; human interest, human connection, storytelling, inspiring action.


SCORING

Images in each Challenger’s story will be scored as a whole. The group of images that receives the highest score will be the winner; the image with the lowest score will face elimination.


NOTES

Your artist’s statement this week should read like a 150-word “Press Release” that answers who, what, where, when, how, and (of course) WHY.

Week Five: Black & White

MATCH BRIEF

As we enter the latter half of the Challenge, Match Briefs will continue asking the Shooters to go beyond merely scratching the surface and start digging deeper. Which, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, means this Brief will be as much about creating black and white images as about not seeing the world as black and white.


Canada has a broad and diverse population, and is considered one of the world’s most desired countries to live in, but marginalized groups must still advocate for themselves so that entire segments of the Canadian population are not bypassed, dismissed, or overlooked. Nylut, a team of self-described darker-skinned women named Faith and ker, grew up in the Canadian Prairies where they struggled to find skin and hair care, make-up artistry, tattooists, and (of course) photographers able to deal with their unique wants and needs. As we learned from Scratching the Surface week, though, this is at least in part due to a lack of available training from industry professionals and established schools. Nylut’s partnership and vision of bringing a unique problem to light and creating a workable solution is the inspiration for this week’s partner Challenge.


Each Challenger is tasked with creating a B&W (not monochrome) image that demonstrates proficiency in showing depth, contrast, and texture in B&W imagery while addressing a larger cultural or social issue that, like a coin, has at least two clear and distinct sides. Each team will need to first spend time finding a shared topic or passion, then conceptualize a pair of complementary images that are stunning alone yet better when paired with their partner’s work.


OBJECTIVES

B&W imagery, creating complementary images, mastery of exposure and contrast in order to display both detail and focus; intersectionality, Equity, Diversity & Inclusivity, perspective and empathy, finding common ground, storytelling, working in a partnership while pursuing personal goals.


TRIGGER WARNING

IMPORTANT: This week’s Match Brief comes with a TRIGGER WARNING as it is intended to address “isms” such as: race; sex, gender, identity and orientation; religion; governance, law, and policing; socioeconomic status; etc. TSR Admin reminds everyone to practice Self Care while researching this week’s topic. You can find some helpful tips on managing triggers HERE.


SCORING

Teams will be selected using a random generator and announced during Wednesday’s Zoom. Each image will receive an individual score; teams will be ranked together. The winning images will be those from the team with the highest combined total; both individuals from the team with the lowest combined score will be eliminated.

Week Four: Scratching the Surface

Mugatu: "Let's get back to the reason that we're really here. Without much further ado, I give you the Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good."

Derek Zoolander: (Looks at the tiny scale model of the proposed center) "What is this?!? A center for ants?!?"

Mugatu: "What?"

Derek Zoolander: "How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read if they can't even fit inside the building?" (Source)


“Models are stupid, sordid creatures.” ~Karl Lagerfeld (Source)

MATCH BRIEF

This week, model, pageant competitor, and professional make-up artist Maya Ramsahoye asks Challengers to revisit stereotypes about gender norms, physical appearance, intelligence, perception, misrepresentation, etc. And… there’s a twist. Your budget for this week is $0. You must collaborate, beg, borrow, trade, dumpster dive or DIY all services, resources, and materials.


This Brief is an invitation to connect with people while you research and explore stereotypes, judgment, and courage, and create an image that is a reflection of not just your own creative vision, but the story of who your model(s) is/are. Talk to them. Find out what inspires and drives them. Ask them what they’re passionate about. Let them be your muse. Then come up with a concept that provokes emotion and thought, and shoot it. For $0.


OBJECTIVES

Portraiture, directing/posing models, layering a message into your images; exploring the relationships between media, gender roles, social constructs of beauty and intelligence; creativity, collaboration, communication, building community.


SCORING

The winning image will be the one receiving the highest score and the Shooter whose image receives the lowest score will be eliminated.


NOTES

  • In your NOTES you will need to write an artist statement that briefly (150 words or less) tells the story of who your model is and how you came up with your concept; also, briefly share how/why/what you did in order to stay on a $0 budget (100 words or less).

  • Challengers must use a “model” (professional, amateur, or not even a model). If you’re able to meet someone new? Perfect. If it’s someone you’ve worked with before? This image cannot look like anything you’ve shot before. (If you are unable to use a model due to CoVID restrictions please let Admin know ASAP.) You do not need to use a professional model or professional HMUA - you can find someone you think would benefit from having their story told.

  • Read this article by Renee Robyn.

  • You must stay on a budget this week. Which is $0. If you are used to paying for hair and make-up and renting a studio, you may need to adjust your approach. You cannot spend money.

  • The portrait you submit must be a reflection of not just your own creative vision but tell the story of who your “model” is beneath the surface. Talk to them. Find out what inspires and drives them. Find out what stereotypes they’ve encountered and what they’ve overcome. Ask them what they’re passionate about. Then come up with a concept and shoot it beautifully.

Week Three: Keep it Simple, Shooters!

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

~Haida Proverb


“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”

~Alfred Wainwright

MATCH BRIEF


Curtis Jones has a thing for minimalism in photos. The idea is, when you minimize visual noise you maximize visual impact. While that might sound like a “simple” genre, true mastery demands an advanced understanding of composition, timing, and how to exploit manual control over the equipment you’re using. Sure, you can do a lot of “fixing it in post” if you’re into that sort of thing, but Curtis invites photographers to lean in to whatever gravitational pull they have towards a scene or location, then explore that subject by changing perspective, time of day, DOF, length of exposure, and even weather conditions to create images that are ready for the wall straight out of the camera. Curtis also has a deep love and respect for Canada, nature, and polar regions, so this week, he wants you to get outside and shoot.


Curtis believes that one of the most important things a photographer does is see their images printed, so for this Match Brief, the winner will receive a 24x36” canvas print of their image, courtesy of Edmonton’s own Strictly Photonic.


OBJECTIVES

Mastering in-camera composition; new or expanded use of advanced photography techniques; getting outside and sharing the natural beauty of whatever part of Canada you’re from.


SCORING

The winning image will be the one receiving the highest score and the Shooter whose image receives the lowest score will be eliminated.


NOTES

Images do not require traveling outside the city (there are parks and backyards) but they do need to be taken outside.

Week Two: Recreate a Renee Robyn

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” ~Oscar Wilde

MATCH BRIEF

Early in the CoVID19 pandemic, museums around the world challenged citizens of the world to recreate famous works of art using only what they had on hand in their homes. This museum challenge was the inspiration for Season One’s inaugural Match Brief, but it was deceptively simple. It was, in fact, one of the most technically demanding challenges of the Season as it required resourcefulness, ingenuity, and careful attention to detail.


True to Oscar Wilde’s scathing quote above, fans of creative professionals - from painters and musicians to writers and photographers - have no problem outing fakes and exposing individuals who plagiarize ideas without consent or outright pretend they are the original creator. These scam artists face not only the wrath of an army of creators who have zero tolerance for plagiarism but, in some cases, end up on the short and expensive end of legal action. On the flip side, though, mimicking others’ work often plays an important part in developing new skills and learning new techniques. Apprenticing under the mentorship of a Master has long been a valid form of education, which is why Season Two Challengers are being given a very unique invitation to Recreate (with the artist’s consent) a Renee Robyn.


Renee has provided FIVE images that Challengers can select from. You are being granted one-time permission to recreate one of them for this Match Brief. Challengers are welcome to hone (or show off) their pixel-crushing skills, but THIS IS NOT A COMPOSITING CHALLENGE. Compositing is permitted but not necessary - it is infinitely more important to pay attention to details like posing, composition, cropping, leading lines, texture, mood/expression, motion, directional lighting, perspective, and so forth. ***Please see the NOTES section for detailed guidelines on compositing and properly crediting Renee Robyn and the TIPS AND RESOURCES section for more information.


OBJECTIVES

Deconstructing and analyzing images to identify technical elements and details such a texture, mood, directional lighting, etc. to incorporate into one’s own work, attention to detail; resourcefulness, creativity, and ingenuity; respecting and acknowledging the intellectual property of others; respecting models.


NOTES

If compositing is used, you must include credit to the original creator of any and all other images or sources that you use, ie) if you use your OWN image you must provide that image but if you use a stock photo (paid or free) you must include the link to the site you got the image from in your NOTES and remember to provide proper credit when you post your image.


When sharing the images on or about January 20, 2022, you are respectfully asked to credit Renee Robyn by a) clearly stating that the image is a recreation of her work for the purpose of this competition and b) tagging and/or providing a link to her website in any and all posts. Links to her website and Instagram platforms are here: Website | Instagram

Week One: Spectrum

GUEST JUDGE: Two Mann Studios


spec·trum

/ˈspektrəm/

noun

  1. a band of colors, as seen in a rainbow, produced by separation of the components of light by their different degrees of refraction according to wavelength.

  2. used to classify something, or suggest that it can be classified, in terms of its position on a scale between two extreme or opposite points


MATCH BRIEF

The first Brief for Season Two is a Group Challenge inspired by the 100 Colour Stories page of Erika and Lanny, owners of Two Mann Studios and instructors at sought-after workshops presented through Two Mann U. This internationally recognised duo relies on teamwork to propel and build one another up as they explore their craft while turning “secrets” into “shared wisdom” in order to inspire and educate others. And they do so without ever losing sight of the fact they are supporting a home team: the family they have built together.


This first challenge requires that you not only create bright, powerful images where colour enhances or amplifies the emotional impact of the frame, but that you work together to create a spectrum of images that highlights each individual’s personal strengths while still supporting the home team. How you decide to tackle the idea of a “spectrum” is entirely up to you and your team, but whether you go with a literal rainbow or tackle something more figurative, the Judges should know by looking at your pictures who’s on which team.

OBJECTIVES

Effective use of colour and a cohesive concept backed by technical competency; cooperation and collaboration, communication and teamwork.

Qualifying Match

Match Brief: Portfolio Submission

Canadians interested in competing for Season Two were asked to submit a Portfolio of 5 images: a person, a place, and a thing, plus any two images that showcased what they loved to shoot. Hopefuls from coast to coast then anxiously awaited the results to see who made it through - you can see who's hitting The Shooting Range in January 2022 by visiting the Shooters page.

How were Qualifying Challengers picked?

TSR received an incredible variety of work - there was not a single genre or style not represented in the submissions - and as with the weekly Match Briefs, the Portfolios were stripped of identifiable factors to ensure the Selection Committee was blind and made decisions based solely on the images contained in the portfolio submitted. Images were reviewed using similar criteria to Official Match Brief Scoring, taking into consideration Hit Factor (how well the images fit the brief), Power Factor (how well the images were executed), and Ranking (based on overall impression.)

Across the board the Selection Committee noted things that made some portfolios hit the target and others just miss the mark. High scores and ranks were given to those that demonstrated an excellent eye for composition, capture, or colour, while those who failed to remove watermarks, submitted images that were of an inadequate file size (minimum of 3000px long edge was requested), or had things like inaccurate focal points or camera shake present were given lower scores and ranks.

TSR Admin did not feel it was fair to include portfolios whose demonstrated proficiencies were unlikely to make it past the first round of elimination, so any portfolios that received below a minimum threshold of averaged scores were removed. The 6 highest-scoring portfolios were granted Qualifying Challenger status while the remaining portfolios were reviewed and discussed until consensus was obtained. In the end, portfolios that demonstrated the widest variety of subject matter tended to be selected over those with too many similar/same images.

Individuals whose portfolios were selected for the Top Twelve were contacted and given the opportunity to accept or decline the Challenge, with Alternates contacted only when/if others were unable to accept. Once there were 12 individuals who had accepted the invitation to be a Challenger, all others were notified. Comments made by the Selection Committee were summarized and sent to the individuals whose Portfolios were not selected, along with an invitation to take on the Match Briefs and watch the critiques for Season Two.

This is because being a Qualifying Challenger doesn't mean Shooters anywhere and everywhere can't and shouldn't benefit from pushing their boundaries, honing their skills, and finding their voices as a visual artists. TSR invites everyone to get the Match Briefs right here each Thursday starting in January. Do the Challenges, watch the Zoom sessions each Thursday on YouTube, and share what you've created by posting in our Facebook Group or tagging us on our Social Media platforms. And next year, when it's time to submit a portfolio, you'll already be ahead of the game... ;)

Three easy tips for anyone submitting images to a photography competition of any kind:

1) Squint and Flip. Squint just enough that the image is too blurry to see detail. When it comes to checking overall composition, this is a very handy tool as it will let you know right away where your eye is being led - to or away from your subject. It's also a good way to see if your horizons are straight and if something too bright, dark, or over-saturated. Another way to see where the eye is going to land, turn your image upside down to check if the first thing that catches your eye is your intended subject.


2) Texture. There's a fine line between abstraction and obfuscation. Even if you are a huge fan of really strong contrast, there's a point where either too much or not enough detail affects the viewer's ability to understand the image. Ensure that if you're prone to slight underexposure or have a thing for pulling a curve or messing with your levels in post processing that your viewer knows what they're supposed to be looking at.


3) Be the Judge. Imagine every photo is going to be blown up to a 4ft by 6ft canvas or published in a magazine. Zoom in and check to see if your focus is sharp, if it's where it needs to be, if there is motion blur. Pretending you are the editor of a print publication or curator of a gallery yourself is a great tool to look at your own images without any personal connection you may have to how "good" the image is.