This fall I started competing with my photography. Our local club has twice monthly competitions. The competition is surprisingly tough. As you can imagine, this was a big step for me.
Photography has been my private joy for several years now. It is one of my sure fire ways to restore balance after a busy week. I head out early Saturday mornings with a coffee and my camera. And every time return to my computer energized and excited by something I've seen.
It took me a while to come around to competing. I come to photography as an artist with a BFA background. My training was based heavily upon group critiques, I was always taught to articulate the positives first, the negatives second. Slow to be critical. Quicker to appreciate what is good and working in an image.
Professionally I've been a competitor from the start. It is important to me to make sure that my work measures up to industry leaders. Preparing photographs for a competition requires that same competitive mindset. It forces me to edit mercilessly. Are the elements of design and composition appropriate? Are the color and focus spot on? Is the intent of the image obvious?
I don't always enjoy that mindset. I need photography to remain fun. However, I think the competition is healthy. It makes me more careful when I shoot and process. It makes me slow down and review my images more closely. I'm more ruthless about eliminating mediocre shots.
Emboldened by our club competitions I took an even bigger step in January.
I decided to enter two photographs in the Photo Regional. I've long admired the regional and the amazing photographers it represents. Why couldn't I be one of those photographers?
It was great fun to see all of the entries hung salon style at the Fulton Street Gallery It was even better to see one of my pieces selected for the juried show. You had better believe it has inspired me to keep improving.
Now back to design. Last Friday the ad club hosted it's annual competition.
I entered six pieces and had six finalists. Five of those were awarded Silver Addy's. It was great fun to be called up five times—validation for the hard work and dedication to my craft. I know I created work that was appropriate to the project parameters and the Addy's helped confirm that it is also effective and good looking. Of course, the credit doesn't just go to me. It is shared equally with my clients that allow me to work on their projects.
Print Basics and Paper Basics/Mohawk
Publication Design/Book Design
Paper is Part of the Picture/Mohawk
Special Event Material/Card, Invitation or Announcement
Dear Superfine Invitation/Mohawk
Advertising Industry Self Promotion, Direct Marketing and Specialty Items
Superfine Holiday Card/Mohawk