Monday, October 4, 2021


Submitted by Gerald (Gerry) David In 2019, I was approached with the unique opportunity to be Team Captain for the team that Canada enters into the World Photographic Cup. I didn’t know anything about it, but the person who approached me had an enthusiasm that was rather infectious. Maybe it was the delta variant of enthusiasm. So I agreed to be part of it, with help. And that is how I became Co-Captain of Team Canada! Joining me on my journey was the inimitable Jillian Chateauneuf, well known to many at PPOC. You can call us Gerr-illian.

PPOC is one of the main sponsors of WPC-Team Canada along with CAPA, CAPIC, and NPAC. Unlike other countries, ours is one of the few that has a multi-association sponsorship, making it not only unique, but also deep in terms of talent. Thank you PPOC for supporting WPC through the challenging years and allowing us the opportunity to grow into something great.

WPC-Team Canada had some great Team Captains prior to us, and we had a good base to guide us. We did a full website rebuild this year to focus on the Photographers to give them great marketing opportunities. We immediately lowered the entry fee to attract more images to choose from. Alumni, were celebrated and invited back into the fold. Alumni can enter 1 free image every year, for the rest of mine and Jillian’s tenure at least! It pays to be on the Team! Small but consequential changes.

Our goal was to find our way back to the top. In 2014, the year of it’s inception, Team Canada finished 4th place in a group of 12. We came close in 2020 and brought home a 5th place finish in a group of 38. Finally, in 2021, Team Canada finished ON THE PODIUM!!! Tied for 3rd with Spain. Team Canada brought home a trophy.

What did we change to shake things up? We changed the “choice” process. We went from “judging” a group of images to “curating” and assembling a Team.

No longer “judged”, but now “curated”. Becoming a member on Team Canada is a pretty rare honour so we needed to choose carefully and reward appropriately. A maximum of 18 photographers end up on the team, with 18 images in 6 categories. Over 70 photographers compete for a spot, some in multiple categories.

NEW TO WPC TEAM CANADA – Team Canada Photographers who finish in the WPC Top 10 qualify for a “grant” to help them defray expenses for travel, whenever that may resume, to attend the conference and ceremony. 50% of our annual income goes to those grants, and it’s value depends on the number of photographers who decide to attend.

The difference between judging and curating is simple enough to explain, but difficult to accomplish. The idea is to get your “curators”, who are used to judging, to pick 3 images in each category that may not be the “best” images based on their associations judging model, but the “best” image to win or place top 10 in the category. In many cases “Best” means the same thing for both judging and curating, but not always. A good example was an image from 2020 where a Nature specialist held a critical tie-breaker vote between 2 images. The curator said to me “I wouldn’t choose this image for our competition, but I think it would do well at WPC as it has aspects that do well with international judges”. That curator put aside their training and preferences to choose an image for the TEAM! And that image went on to win Best of Nation as well as finish top 3 in Nature!

Curating each category is done by 3 specialists – a specialist is someone whose main photographic talent lies in that genre, and who can help our photographers achieve their true potential. How is that?

Well, after all the images are put together in a category collection, Round 1 and 2 involves the specialists getting together to choose their top selections. It can be 3 images, or it can be 20 images. Let’s just say it averages 6 to 10. Those 6 to 10 images get written feedback from the curators on improvements that they could make to their images to help them be even better. The maker decides whether to incorporate those changes or not. Most of them do. Note that Jillian and I are also available to talk to any photographer who enters and does not make it to this round. We are happy to discuss the where’s and why’s of this years selection and how they fit in – and why they should not stop trying!

The last step is similar to what happens at the World Photographic Cup, and that is purposefully done. We want to create a similar process to the World cup judging level, as we know the images will be judged by all multi-category national judges at this point. We put the 6-10 images from each category in front of our 18 specialists (6 categories X 3 specialists) and each curator ranks all Round 2 qualifying images. The top 3 images move on to become WPC-Team Canada.

The rest, as they say, is history.

The quality of entrants this year gave me cause for great excitement – so much so, I sent the following note to our entrants:

“I am truly in awe of all of you. There was not an image in the bunch that I would not have wanted to have in my own portfolio. Many of them took my breath away. Some brought tears (“Just cutting onions in here, nothing to see…”). Just amazing.

 If I were to rate the images on a scale of 1 to 10, the lowest one would be a 9.6, and the highest would be a 10. Think of how difficult it will be to choose 3 images from 120 (Nature) when the ratings are that close. Alas, but I am not on the curating team…

With that in mind, the curation process is one of choosing 18 images that are not only of the highest quality, but have great impact and navigate easily through the standards of the international photography judging scene.

If you don’t make it to the last 3, disappointment is inevitable. But there is one thing I want you to believe – when you see the final 3 images in each category, you will not be able to say “They don’t deserve to be there” – you will be saying “I sure gave them a run for their money and made their decision difficult. Those are amazing choices, and mine would have fit right in.

You all deserve to be here.”

Last but not least… If you are not successful in a certain year, don’t feel defeated. The pool of images in each category changes from year to year. Last year, cracking the top 3 in Team Canada in the commercial category was very difficult, whereas this year, it is certainly more attainable, whereas the nature pool this year is just exceptional, and some images that didn’t make it to Round 2 are Best in Class at a National level! Sometimes it’s not about you, but about the rest of the pool.

Thank you PPOC (and all the associations) for this opportunity – Gerr-illian are here to make you proud.


Total Number of Photographers - 74 (51 from PPOC, 7 from CAPA, 2 from NPAC, and 1 from CAPIC; 13 had no association affiliation

Total Number of Images - 351 (42 Commercial, 33 Digital Illustration, 124 Nature, 82 Portrait, 50 Reportage, 20 Wedding)

Number of Curators - 19 (3 per category except 1 category where there were 4 for training purposes)

Round 1 - Number of images dropped from 351 to 137

Round 2 - Number of images dropped from 137 to 48

Round 3 - Number of images dropped from 48 to 37








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