A common issue among photographers is the quest for "nice" or "good" pictures. Often this results in technically good images that are weak in emotional content. They look nice, are well composed, have nice colours, etc. but beyond that, don't engage the viewer in any deep or meaningful way. We all do this. Sometimes we just don't have any particular feeling about the subject. Maybe we were just enjoying the graphic design in the subject. But we should also spend more time communicating with our images. I consider it a personal mission to encourage people think more carefully about what their images are saying, to engage their heart and emotions in the process of image making, to express their feelings such that the viewers can feel the message and understand the story.
I'm not looking for more pretty pictures, but ones that engage the emotions of the viewer. I'm thinking, in particular, of pictures that convey something about the human condition, or about something about the world that concerns us now.
I'm looking for photographs with meaning that goes beyond the obvious. I'm looking for images that communicate, tell a story, grab your emotions, reveal the hidden side of something, make the viewer think, or think in a new way, help the viewer understand issues they might not go out of their way to find on their own. It doesn't have to be one of the "feel good" emotions but neither are they rules out. Watch out for pictures of babies or animals that are only cute without going deeper. It doesn't have to be a people picture. It isn't necessarily photojournalism or a news photo. Abstracts, pictures of babies, or pictures of garbage are all OK as long as they convey a feeling, message, story.
It is not only important that the photographer feel the emotion at the time of image making, but the viewer must also be able to receive that feeling or message without the need for clever titles, hints, or montage effects. If the viewer gives you a blank look and you feel the need to say "I guess you had to be there" then you haven't created the feeling in the viewer. In other words, it has to go beyond expressing a feeling. The feeling must be conveyed to the viewer.
Let's suppose you are at the Petitcodiac River, and you find the mud disgusting and you think somebody should do something about it, and you make a picture to convey that feeling. But then, the viewer sees it and says "Wow! Look at all that beautiful mud". You could say your success rate would be rather low in that case. So you must also strive to get across your message without misunderstanding.
I won't place any restriction on the image format (slides, prints, digital) as long as it can be seen by the group at the club Christmas party. I will leave this up to the club to decide what is practical.
I won't place any time limit on when the image was made - it doesn't have to have been in the past year. However, due to limited technology we will have to skip any pictures made in the future. The idea or concept in the image must be your own and not copied from someone else.