I don’t always win, but I never lose.
Last weekend the Professional Photographers of Canada held the juried judging for the upcoming salon at the national convention of the association. Entries that are successful in making it into the salon are also honored by being featured in the “Inspiration Book” for the year.
This however is more than just a juried show. It’s a competition! It is where two panels of adjudicators spend 2 long days judging, commenting, and critiquing some of the best imagery in Canada. This year the judges had just under 900 images pass before them. The images are beyond just good, but they have to be because the standards are high. Approximately only 50% of the images got the nod and were accepted into the salon.
But like I said, it’s more than just a juried show. It’s a competition. and from the competition the cream rises to the top and at the awards banquet at the end of the month we will find out who has won the best of the various classes and who is the PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTIST OF THE YEAR, PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR AND COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR.
Oh, I know none of those awards are coming home with me, but I’m still a winner. How do I know I’m a winner? Because I’m a member.
Several weeks ago with the judging deadline approaching I made an off handed comment on Facebook that I would have to go through my images to see if I had anything worthy of entry this year. I immediately had several replies saying “Go on throw your hat in the ring.” and “Don’t be a chicken.” etc. One member in particular sent me a message saying “if you need a hand to pick, let me know.” I have other photographers come to me and ask for an opinion or critique, yet one of the hardest things to do is judge your own creation.
After culling through files, I started with 45 images that were quickly weeded down to 17 and then down to 8. From those 5 were selected and entered into the competition.
So it wasn’t my best year in competition, but I learned more from this year’s competition than I have from any other. I learned because I listened to what my fellow photographers and the adjudicators had to say. I have learned some better methods of processing files. I have learned better ways to make that perfect fine art print. And I relearned a lesson I was taught more than 25 years ago: THERE ARE PICTURES FOR DOUGH AND THERE ARE PICTURES FOR SHOW.
The opinion that matters the most is the opinion of you the public. You make it possible for us to do what we like. However, when I’m competing with the best in Canada the image I like the best isn’t necessarily going to be the one that will earn the judge’s nod.
Now to get busy and get my accreditation entries ready. I’ll let you know how I make out.
I’m John Mitchell, MPA, APPO
Storyteller. Artist. Photographer