Subject Definitions

Definitions of Subjects for Competitions.
The following definitions are based on the Focal Encyclopaedia of Photography and are those generally accepted by the YPU.

A landscape is a piece of inland scenery. Besides such features as hills and trees, fields and hedges, a landscape may include water (rivers, lakes, waterfalls etc.) and countryside objects forming part of the scenery, like the village church, cottages, inns, farms, ploughing and harvesting machinery etc. The appearance of a landscape is affected by natural effects e.g. sunshine or storm, light and shade and by the seasons of the year. The sky is generally part of any landscape picture and, in fact, may provide the main interest.

Any general view, similar to a landscape, in which the sea shore or sea shore scenery is the dominate feature. Pictorialism – A method of photographic presentation which aims primarily of aesthetic, emotional and intellectual effects. Design and tone rendering in a pictorial photograph are considered and controlled in such a way as to reinforce or create some appeal of their own which may or may not be inherent in the subject. The qualities of pictorial photography should be close approach, angled viewpoints, dramatised lighting, emphatic tone rendering, simplified shapes and a variety of associated appeals. Most present pictorialism favours technical perfection, deliberate composition and conscious search for artistic impression. Landscape photographs without a pictorial content should not be entered in this competition.

Photo journalism.
An image or set of related images on one mount or transparency which would be suitable for publication in a magazine or newspaper.

Architectural and general record.
A Record Photograph is taken in order to give an accurate depiction of a particular object or building ancient or modern, and/or allied objects or furnishings belonging to, or associated with the subject. This class includes archaeological or other inanimate objects, e.g. ceramics, statues, stained glass windows, historic decorative panels and plaques etc. It therefore follows that extreme contrasts of light and shade should be avoided so that detail is not obliterated. Very imaginative viewpoints and drastically converging verticals would not depict the subject accurately, and are more suitable for the pictorial category. In this category, the title is extremely important. It can be quite detailed in order to give all the necessary information about the subject shown.

Natural History.
Nature photography is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict all branches of natural history except anthropology and archaeology, in such a fashion that a well-informed person will be able to identify the subject material and certify its honest presentation. The story telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality while maintaining high technical quality. Human elements shall not be present, except where those elements are integral parts of the nature story such as nature subjects, like barn owls or storks, adapted to an environment modified by humans, or where those human elements are in situations depicting natural forces, like hurricanes or tidal waves. Scientific bands, scientific tags or radio collars on wild animals are permissible. Photographs of human created hybrid plants, cultivated plants, feral animals, domestic animals, or mounted specimens are ineligible, as is any form of manipulation that alters the truth of the photographic statement. No techniques that add, relocate, replace, or remove pictorial elements except by cropping are permitted. Techniques that enhance the presentation of the photograph without changing the nature story or the pictorial content, or without altering the content of the original scene, are permitted including HDR focus stacking and dodging/burning. Techniques that remove elements added by the camera, such as dust spots, digital noise, and film scratches are allowed. Stitched images are not permitted. All allowed adjustments must appear natural. Colour images can be converted to greyscale monochrome. Infrared images, either direct-captures or derivatives, are not allowed. Images used in Nature Photography competitions may be divided in two classes: Nature and Wildlife. Images entered in Nature sections meeting the Nature Photography Definition above can have landscapes, geologic formations, weather phenomena, and extant organisms as the primary matter. This includes images taken with the subjects in controlled conditions, such as zoos, game farms, botanical gardens, aquariums and any enclosure where the subjects are totally dependent on man for food. Images entered in Wildlife sections meeting the Nature Photography Definition above are further defined as one or more extant zoological or botanical organisms free and unrestrained in a natural or adopted habitat. Landscapes, geologic formations, photographs of zoo or game farm animals, or of any extant zoological or botanical species under controlled conditions are not eligible in Wildlife sections. Wildlife is not limited to animals, birds and insects. Marine subjects and botanical subjects (including fungi and algae) taken in the wild are suitable wildlife subjects, as are carcasses of extant species. Wildlife images may be entered in Nature Sections of Exhibitions.

Portrait, people and figure studies.
Shall include figure studies, groups of a portrait nature and animal portraits.

Still life and table top.
An arrangement of objects by the photographer.

Photographs at sporting or athletic events of any kind with pictures of action so that movement does not show in the final image. It should present a sharp and permanent picture of a split second of exciting movement which the eye normally misses or sees as a fleeting blur.

Where the subject matter is treated in such a way as to distance it from interpretation, or where there is no subject matter. To create abstracts deliberately, there should be no clear message – it is not an attempt to communicate an idea. The first aim is to provoke viewers to react on an emotional level, then perhaps on an intellectual one; only ‘suggest’ never try to inform. There are at least two distinct types of abstract:- abstraction by isolation – e.g. close up in detail abstraction by distortion – e.g. use of filters or other technical manipulation.