“Judges Please Rotate” was a PPA Loan Image created by Plano Photographer and PPA International Juror Larry Lourcey as an elaborate joke aimed at his fellow judges. Anyone who has watched print competition over the years is aware of how the judges are asked to rotate periodically to keep them fresh. The print crew will typically announce, “Judges, please rotate.” Sometimes they even have a sign come around with the same message. While judging in another state, Lourcey came up with the idea of using that phrase as the title of an image, in order to trick the judges into getting up and moving seats. For good measure, he decided to create an image that provided a light-hearted look at the judging process.
To create the image, Lourcey got permission to photograph in a historic courtroom in downtown Dallas. He used Novatron powerpack and three heads, bouncing the light into umbrellas to light up the front of the courtroom. The judges were dressed in classic black robes and white barrister wigs to add to the humor and silliness of the image. For models, he called upon five friends to serve as the judges. If you look closely, you will recognize two notable Texas photographers – Gail Nogle and Richard Sturdevant. From there, the rest of the image just fell into place. He actually ended up with two versions of the image – one with the judges all asleep and one with them fighting with each other. He ultimately settled on the sleeping version and submitted it at the Southwest District Competition.
True to the plan, when the print title was called, all the judges stood up and started to move chairs. Total chaos ensued as the jury chairman tried to get everyone’s attention and let them know it was just a print title – not an actual instruction to rotate. When order was restored, the print was given an 85 and went on to be included in the PPA Loan Collection. It was certainly one of the most memorable judging experiences in Lourcey’s life.