I broke one of my rules for 2014 earlier this year when I decided to enter one of my photographs into a ‘Digital Only’ photography competition. It wasn’t that long ago that I concluded I was really only interested in competitions that judged the finished fine art print rather than the digital jpeg. Nevertheless something went ‘twang’ inside me and in a moment of weakness (or possibly vanity) I entered one image (and one image only) into the 2014 Epson International Pano Awards. The photograph I chose to enter – ‘An Epic Sense of Scale‘ – subsequently scored a Silver Award. Earlier this year at the 2014 Victorian Professional Photographer of the Year Awards it scored a Gold Award and was my third highest scoring print after the two Gold with Distinctions. It also contributed to my overall wins in the Science, Environment and Nature Category, Creative Photographer of the Year Category and Overall Victorian Professional Photographer of the Year. The print was also a finalist in the 2014 Nillumbik Art Award. I mention this because this discrepancy in judging is a very good indicator that photography competitions are subjective and very much a lucky dip at times – You just never know what you are going to get.
Although this photograph scored a very solid silver at the Pano Awards it still fell short of what the judges had to say about the print at the State Awards. Personally, I am not displeased with the result in the Pano Awards as I really feel the jpeg fails to do justice to the printed image – in fact its nothing more than a poor facsimile and the jpeg file probably scored what it deserved. It was a valuable moment for me to receive back my score from the Pano Awards as it reminded me why I prefer to look at prints in lieu of digital files and why I choose to enter print only competitions these days. Am I done with digital only competitions? The answer is probably. There are a few competitions out there that are judging digital files in the initial round of judging but then shift to printed images for the semi-finals and finals and I will continue to enter some of these as time and motivation permits.
In the meantime, I just returned two days ago from more than two months in the Arctic which included two back-to-back workshops in Iceland as well as an expedition to Greenland and Svalbard. I shot over 5000 images during these trips and its time to start the editing and sorting process as well as share some trip reports and feedback.