I am thrilled to have finished in the Top 20 of not one but two categories—Emotive Portraits and Classic Landscapes—of the Better Photography Mag’s, Photographer of the Year! This is my reflection.
It is always a little daunting to put your images out there, to be judged by not one but three AIPP Grand Masters of Photography. Peter Eastway, Tony Hewitt and David Oliver are Aussie legends and if you are really serious about your photography and haven’t heard of them, I suggest looking them up and studying their work.
The Photographer of the Year Competition that Peter Eastway runs is open to any non-professional photographer from around the world who doesn’t work full time as a photographer. In addition, your image must also have been taken in the last three years. Besides that, there aren’t too many rules. In fact, something I enjoy about this competition, is that you are encouraged to be as creative as this medium allows you to be and break a few rules in the process!
If you dare to take up this challenge, then you can expect to compete with some of the best photographers from around the world. I love that you also get feedback on each of your images. The website tells me there were 772 entries from around the world this year and most will score at least a bronze. But to get a Silver, you have to show them something remarkable and a Gold is so rare that only 14 contestants were awarded one this year. I was really happy that all 5 of the images I submitted ended up with Silver Awards.
The good thing about competitions like this is that if you don’t do well, then you can remain anonymous and hope to improve next year. If you do well, then you can share your journey with those who follow it and help inspire them to give it a go. Photography is definitely a very subjective art form and you can be sure that not everyone will like your work. In fact, I might dare to go further and say that if you aren’t ruffling a few feathers occasionally and failing miserably because no one understands your work, then perhaps you are playing it too safe.
Ultimately, though, we all want our work to resonate with our audience, especially if we are trying to convey a message with our images as I am. I don’t consider myself a natural artist, so growing in my photography journey started with listening to what club judges had to say, even when I didn’t agree with them. That led me along an incredible path that really opened up when we came back home (from our life on the road) during the Covid lockdowns and I had a bit more time and stability and a second monitor!
So here I am today. Two Top 20 Finishes in this competition that I entered for the first time last year. I still remember looking through the previous years results and feeling really amazed and in awe at the quality of the work.
Choosing the images for this competition wasn’t easy. I chose two of my oblique landscapes from my aerial shoot at Shark Bay because I knew they would be more unique than the straight vertical shots that everyone is shooting these days. I also chose one of my portraits of Steven created in my living room, because you can’t really get more unique than that!
So do yourself a favour if you are a photographer or if you enjoy this art form. Pull down the Previous Years Menus and look through some of the Top Twenty Images from this year and past: https://www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com. Then take the next step of considering if you are ready to put yourself out there.
Gratitude to all my photog friends especially those who have been my mentors, supported my journey and inspired me with theirs. Congratulations to all those who won their categories, got Gold awards and finished in the Top 20. Many of them are Aussie photographers who have also become friends over the past two years. Well done you guys and thank you for the encouragement! We certainly punch above our weight Down Under, when it comes to photography.
Finally, thank you to Peter, Tony and David for inspiring us to reach for the stars! You guys rock.