|*Greetings from the Critique Club*
First let me say congratulations on joining DPC - I hope you enjoy your stay here as much as I have!
I think your composition here is actually pretty strong. The close crop works well and I like the lines and curves the buddha creates.
Almost, but not quite sharp. I think this probably hurt your score. A soft focus can often add to the impact of an image, but not sure it added here.
I think this probably hurt your score most. Your background is not quite white. Yes, it's light colored, but most of the entries were stark WHITE. Also, the buddha, while light ivory toned, has some very dark shadowed areas. You'll notice that most of the higher scoring entries also had very few (if any) dark areas at all in their shots.
I think this is actually a pretty good photograph, so don't let the score discourage you. As I said, I like the composition, and the soft focus could work. The lines are good and I like the crop. The lack of obvious ties to the challenge were an obvious killer to your score (because technically, as I said, this is not a bad shot).
This is your first challenge, so I look forward to seeing more of your work. Please feel free to PM me if there's anything you think I might be able to help you out with - I'd be more than happy to do so. Keep on shooting!
Just my 2 cents...