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In Pursuit of Perfection: The Yorkshire Photographic Union Competition

With hundreds of photographs on display, the Yorkshire Photographic Union’s Annual Exhibition celebrates the artistic ability and technical skill of photographers belonging to clubs across Yorkshire.

What makes the perfect photograph? For the members of the Yorkshire Photographic Union, a federation of 67 photography clubs from across Yorkshire, it could mean many things. For some, it’s an image awarded top marks in the Union’s Annual Exhibition; for others, a photograph that achieves personal ambitions.

On this page, you can explore a gallery of selected images, along with objects from our photographic technology collection.

The full exhibition, showcasing entries to the Union’s 2020 and 2021 Annual Exhibitions, is now on display in Gallery 1. Please be aware that some photographs feature nudity.

Every year, members of the Yorkshire Photographic Union are encouraged to enter their photographs into competition. Not only is it a chance to have their skill and hard work recognised, it’s also an opportunity for members to see and learn from each other’s work, to get new ideas and tips on how to take an even better photo.

How does the competition work?

The competition is broken down into 11 categories, each with their own specific rules of entry. On judging day, photographs are awarded between 6 and 15 marks by three experienced judges. Awards are given—including a trophy for the best overall photographer—and a selection of the highest-scored images are chosen for the Annual Exhibition.

In the Union’s 122-year history, photographic equipment has changed dramatically. Huge, heavy wooden cameras have been replaced by by digital technology and automatic settings—yet photographers are still experimenting with the same ideas, from manipulating colour to creating surreal photo montages.

Find your local club

Do you want to take your photography to the next level? There are 67 photographic clubs that make up the Yorkshire Photographic Union, each one dedicated to encouraging and supporting their members. You can find their contact details using the YPU’s Club Finder map.

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