Award Winning Thank You

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Several months ago at the beginning of quarantine I came across a Facebook photography group that was hosting a huge online worldwide contest. And it was free. Sign me up, please. Not because I thought I would do that well but because I love seeing good photography and images would be voted on by photographers and it was something to do during our safer at home time. Did I mention it was free too? Most art/photo contests charge an average of $40 an entry and I am not that interested in being able to add the tag line “award winning” to my social media platform.

Honestly, it really isn’t a big deal and other than this blog post and a certain amount of bragging rights it doesn’t actually mean anything. But it was fun and it was encouraging to have fellow photographers vote on my images. And I saw some incredibly amazing photography from all over the world.

Well over 100,00 images were entered into the contest. Originally, it was geared just for wedding photographers but now has categories including birth, cell phonetography, creative, various portrait categories, etc. There were twelve rounds for each category with each round lasting for a couple of days to accommodate people participating from everywhere. There were so many images that as they released the top twenty winners in each category I saw pictures that I had never seen before.

I went all in and submitted fifty of my favorite images (the most you could enter) and didn’t expect to get very far but I was proud of the work I was putting out there. I was pleasantly surprised to have images make it into the top 30% and 20% and I actually had one reach the finals. A cell phone picture that I took at the fair if you can believe it.

Three submissions I entered into the creative category, which had 20,770 images, made it all the way to the top 20%.

The other two that made it into the top 20% placed in the families category (40,202 images) and the seniors/teens category (43,275) and oddly enough they are both silhouettes.

One of the images that placed in the 30% of it’s category I’m not going to share here but I will say it is one of my favorite birth pictures I have ever taken and one that I am pretty proud of. One of the other thirty percenters was also in the creative category and the other two were in the babies/toddlers group that had over 38,000 entries. Both are pictures of my great niece’s watermelon first birthday session. And she really is stinking adorable.

So there you have them…my award winning photographs. It was a lot of fun to participate and I am pleased that some of them did well but can I be honest and tell you that it doesn’t even come close to seeing an image I took hanging in a client’s home? That thrills me no end! Or having a friend ask to buy some of my floral prints as a gift for his wife? Or having a client cry because they love their pictures so much? Just being asked and given the privilege of photographing someone’s family or anniversary or birth or whatever. So, the contest was fun and the little trophy icon they put on the images that placed was neat but thank you for allowing me to be part of your lives and letting me take your picture. I mean it in all sincerity when I say that is the real award to a photographer.

I love what I do and the feeling of wonder I get each and every time I click the shutter on that just right image is magical. A photographer is quoted as saying that photography is like sneaking into the kitchen at night and eating oreos and I totally understand what she means.

Pictures aren’t static two dimensional objects to me. I look at an image and feel life. Ansel Adams said “Photography is an austere and blazing poetry of the real” and I hope to create that every time I lift the camera to my eye.

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