Over the last few days The AIPP Australian Institute of Professional Photography Victorian State awards (VPPY) were held here in my home town of Melbourne at Melbourne Polytechnic Fairfield Campus. The AIPP Annual state and national awards are my two absolute favourite photographic competitions to participate in because all entries (in the categories I choose to enter) are judged in print and not digitally. Those of you who follow my blog regularly are already well aware that I am a huge advocate of the print as the finished medium of choice for my own photography – enough said. The AIPP National and State awards remain 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.
About the Print Judging: In case you are unfamiliar with either of these competitions the 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 (it was live-streamed to the internet this year) 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 and entrants receiving scores in this area are considered to be producing professional quality prints. Images judged 80-84 are awarded a Silver and are considered strong professional practice of an award standard that demonstrate skill beyond strong professional practice. Scores of 85-89 are given a Silver with Distinction and demonstrate superior imagination, craft and skill that elevates the print far above professional practice. Prints judged 90-94 exhibit excellence in visual communication, craft and skill and are considered stunning and exceptional in every way. This level of print far exceeds professional practice and is reserved for only the highest quality prints. And finally those rare few images that reach 96-100 are considered to have exceptional vision, creativity, innovation, master craftsmanship and skill. Very, very few prints ever score Gold awards in these competitions. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of print entries this year (over 700 prints) fewer than two dozen received Gold awards and only two Gold Distinctions were awarded.
This year I entered the Nature, Documentary and Landscape categories, entering the maximum allowable twelve prints spread across the three categories. I wanted to put what I felt were my strongest four prints into the Nature category, but also wanted to test the other eight prints and see how they performed in different categories. This turned out to be the right approach for me and I was absolutely thrilled to take overall first place in the Nature Category as well as being a finalist in both the Landscape and Documentary categories. The Nature category is very near and dear to my heart and winning it is a huge honour. On top of winning my chosen category I also took out the Highest Scoring Print award for the Nature category. As someone who is so passionate about the ‘print’ and the craft of fine art printing this was an incredible honour.
Below are the winning prints. All of the prints were printed on Moab Somerset Museum Rag. This wonderfully sublime paper has continued to remain my stock of choice for all my fine art photography prints. If you love printing and are not familiar with this paper I urge you to check it out and get a sample pack.
To help provide some insight into the judging I captured and uploaded the live-stream video of the judging of my four photographs in the Nature category. I did not bother with the Documentary and Landscape categories as these were more or less my ‘seconds’ and it was really the Nature category that I was interested in. If you are keen to check out the judging of my Landscape and Documentary prints you can find the full livestream on You Tube. It is both insightful and interesting to hear the judges thoughts, comments and perspectives. Keep in mind, you are listening to individual opinions – hence a panel of five judges.
Face-Off in a Blizzard – GOLD Award Nature Category
Lost in a Blizzard – GOLD Award Nature Category
Family Reunited – Silver with Distinction Award Nature Category
Arctic Fox Snow Storm – Silver with Distinction Award Nature Category
Sinuous – GOLD Award Landscape Category
Mars – SILVER Award Landscape Category
Hanging Glacier – SILVER Award Landscape Category
Greenland – SILVER Award Landscape Category
Top of the World – SILVER with Distinction Award Documentary Category
Wolverine – SILVER Award Documentary Category
Polar Bear – SILVER Award Documentary Category
Lone Hunter – SILVER Award Documentary Category
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