Terry Walters our current competition secretary (and just about every other post), friend, and member of SPS has just joined the member’s gallery.

I took the trouble to ask him a few questions, to find out how he first became interested in photography. It is a story that shows; we don’t just want experts, we want anyone just interested in photography.

How did you first become involved with photography?

My son wanted a digital photo to send to his pen pal, I didn’t know anything about where to start so a friend took his picture and sent me a jpeg.  I was looking for something else to use my computer for so this prompted me to buy a digital camera, an Epson PhotoPC 750Z that took 1 megapixel images that I could load onto the computer (I still have the camera and its 32Mb CF card).  I then joined the SPS digital group to learn how to manipulate the image.

After several monthly meetings they told me I could also come to the camera club that met weekly as I’d paid for the full membership, so I tentatively agreed as this was not what I’d joined for, but then started the journey into photography.

What is it that interests you about photography?

I enjoy the taking of the image as much as processing the result and putting it into competition, so to me the whole journey is what it’s about.  To capture a moment in time, whether by chance or specifically set up, and then to produce an image that you enjoy looking at is just magical, and if others like it too then all the better.

What do you like about camera clubs?

Clubs are full of like-minded individuals who are friendly and approachable, and who are always happy to venture their opinion about what you are asking, after all they’ve most likely done it all before. This, plus the competitions, makes clubs a great place to learn not just the practical elements but the artistic side too. 

Entering competitions means getting feedback not just on your image (which we all want most!) but also to see an experienced photographer give his opinion of lots of other images from your contemporaries. Whether you agree or disagree with the comments being made, it’s important that you consider them and then decide for yourself if they are credible or the judge just doesn’t get it!  Either way, you get to think about the images presented and therefore gain in experience.

Secondly, the fact that I have competitions to prepare for drives me to go out and find new images every year, I have an extensive back catalogue to fall back on but the challenge of finding new and different images is exciting.

What interested you in the Salon awards that have given you the letters after your name and what was involved?

In my professional career I was often asked by those I was inspecting, what qualifications I had to understand their environment and assess their practices.  My answer was simple; I have the same qualifications as them, and have practical experience doing the same job.  One tends to mentally ask the same question when a judge stands up to critique your competition entry, especially when you think they are completely missing the point, so when I started to judge competitions at other local clubs I thought it would add to my credibility to have letters showing a level of achievement in photography. 

To that end I started entering international open competitions (salons) in 2011 and achieved AFIAP in 2013, and replaced it with EFIAP two years later.  EFIAP required at least 250 acceptances from at least 50 different works in 30 different salons from 20 different countries, plus at least 10% of the results had to be from Prints.

More recently I joined the Photographic Society of America (PSA) where I’m part of a monthly image critique group.  They have a complicated system of awarding stars based on acceptances in PSA approved international salons, and if you get the right number of acceptances based on awarded stars, you can apply for their letters too.  I have been granted PPSA which in simple terms requires at least 288 acceptances from 96 different images, but in reality I had to submit 425 acceptances with 105 different titles.  One extra bonus is I also won three gold medals this year while entering salons.

Have you a particular photograph that you are looking forward to taking?

No, nothing specific, however I enjoy portraiture and the challenge of lighting the model so I am looking for that something different or special, something that has a technical challenge to overcome to create the image, something to push the boundaries beyond the normal.

So what’s next?

Your guess is as good as mine, I will continue with portraits with a small strobists group but beyond that I don’t have a plan.  I thought when I retired I would have so much more time to spend on photography but that was just a myth, so I will see events or locations during the year that spark an interest and then go on the hunt for an image.

You can find Terry’s members Gallery HERE