Over the last few days the 2015 Epson Victorian Professional Photographer of the Year competition has been running here in Melbourne at 1140 studios. I attended both days to watch the judging and it was fantastic to see such a high standard of prints again this year (as well as a record number of entries). Although I won multiple categories, the highest scoring print and the overall title of 2014 Epson Victorian Professional Photographer of the Year last year I put no expectations on myself for my entries this year and decided I would enter just for the sheer joy of the print making process. Quite honestly, removing any expectation of my potential results was really quite liberating and I think I enjoyed the entire process from capture to print and competition entry more than I ever have in the past.
From my previous post on these awards: The AIPP National and State awards are two of the few remaining competitions to actually judge the finished print and they do so using a panel of judges all deemed experts in their respective genres and accredited as Masters of Photography through their years of success in this arena. Prints are judged in a controlled lighting environment and assessed for their content, originality as well as technical craftsmanship. The judging is enthralling to watch and can be quite nerve wracking if you are a first time entrant as the standard of work is incredibly high. In brief, prints are scored out of 100 with images judged less than 70 being deemed not of professional standard. Prints judged between 71 and 79 are considered strong professional practice. Images judged 80-84 are awarded a Silver and are considered strong professional practice of an award standard. Scores of 85-89 are given a Silver with Distinction and demonstrate superior imagination, craft and skill. Prints judged 90-94 exhibit excellence in visual communication, craft and skill. And finally those rare few images that reach 96-100 are considered to have exceptional vision, creativity, innovation, master craftsmanship and skill. Very few prints score Gold awards in these competitions and even fewer reach the top tier of Gold with Distinction.
This year I entered both the Landscape and Science, Wildlife and Wild Places categories. Entering the Landscape category was a really tough decision for me as this category has an anything goes post production mantra that is in conflict with my own ethos and ethics for image manipulation. I decided I would enter anyway just to see how my prints would fare against others in this category. As it turned out – they fared remarkably well. Two of my landscape images scored solid Silver with Distinctions with scores of 86 and 86 respectively. My remaining two landscape photographs also scored solid silver awards with an 81 and 83. Three of my Science, Wildlife and Wild Places photographs (my preferred category) scored Silver with Distinctions with scores of 89, 89 and 85 respectively. Two of those three were just one point removed from a Gold Award. My fourth image in the category scored an 84 Silver Award.
All of the prints were printed on Moab Somerset Museum Rag. This wonderful paper has continued to remain my all-time favourite stock for fine art photography prints.
Arctic Fox Snow Storm – 89 Silver with Distinction Award Science, Wildlife and Wild Places Category
Arctic Foxes Sparring – 89 Silver with Distinction Award Science, Wildlife and Wild Places Category
Abandoned Baby Ring Seal – 85 Silver with Distinction Award Science, Wildlife and Wild Places Category
Arctic Fox Attack – 84 Silver Award Science, Wildlife and Wild Places Category
Dune on Fire – 86 Silver with Distinction Award Landscape Category
Fiery Fingers – 86 Silver with Distinction Award Landscape Category
Dunes and Light – 81 Silver Award Landscape Category
Golden Dune – 83 Silver Award Landscape CategoryNow its time to put the 2015 VPPY Awards behind me and get some sleep. In just a few hours time I will be headed to the South Island of New Zealand for my 2015 Masterclass Workshop.