“As Far as the Eye Can See” – 85, sealed
The day after International Photographic Competition (IPC) is always my favorite Social Media day of the year. I love sharing in my friends’ excitement as they (we) share this year’s achievements, accolades, new degrees, sob stories, sorrow-79’s, and Loans during/after the biggest competition of the year. My Facebook feed is stuffed full of my photographer family’s outstanding achievements this year.
I am SO proud of all of you!
Since getting my Master of Photography degree in 2012 (11?) I’ve made personal goals for each year’s entries. I try to challenge myself each year to stretch – to do something new to impress the judges, or – at very least – impress myself. And this is significantly more difficult than it sounds… The judges have seen pretty much everything under the sun. Simple travel shots don’t impress them – they’re well traveled. Pretty portrait? They shoot those on a daily basis. Photoshop art? Please: they invented it.
Whatever you enter has to be remarkable.
Perhaps here, I should pause and explain how print competition works. Works are submitted in a “case” (either physical or digital) of four images going to either Photographic Open or Artist Category. Each image goes in front of a panel of five judges and a jury chair – anonymously – to receive 5 scores. Those scores average out, which is the score your image receives. If your average score is over 80, you receive a merit.
If you receive a 79 or below, generally you yell a few obscenities, complain for a few hours (or days, or weeks, depending on thinness of skin) and, perhaps, fix the image and re-enter. If all four of your images in a case Merit, you receive a medallion (or “Photographer of the Year” accolade as it’s also known.)
For those of you who are still reading this, these are what the scores translate to:
Then, for your images that receive an average score of 85 or above (due to the new rule breakdown – which is too complicated to even begin discussing here), the images go to another panel of judges to be selected for “Best of the Best” – the Loan Collection. If your image “goes Loan” you get another merit and different levels of medallions.
But, 80 is where the magic happens.
Long story short, I entered both cases this year – Photographic Open and Artist. And here are the goals I talked about earlier:
- Get a merit print from all seven continents
- Merit a print of Hailey
- Merit a print of Mr. Dracula
- Merit a print of JEM
- Enter a case of all new work
- Enter Artist category for the first time – I’ve been told it’s hard and “next to impossible” to merit a print.
- Enter something painted
- Enter something totally far out and original
So how did I do?
- This year, got a merit print of South America, so 6 down and 1 more continent to go (and still not yet visited.)
- Finally merited a print of Hailey!
- Got a second merit print of Mr. Dracula – apparently, he’s quite the competition-worthy catbeast.
- Merited my heart-print of JEM. Generally I am not crushed if something doesn’t score above 80, but with over 100 hours of work in hand-painting this piece, it REALLY would have stung!
- Managed to enter seven NEW works out of eight entries. This is probably the biggest achievement of them all. Managed to make more than 8 new art pieces in a year, and entered 7 of them. Also moved internationally, learned Spanish, took a job w/ as a graphic designer, and OH YEAH – HAD A BABY. Mad props to me.
- Entered Artist category. Merited 3 out of the 4 images. Missed a bronze medal by literally ONE point. Obscenities were uttered, though the 79 – I must admit – was not unfair. (Plus, someone liked it and wanted it to go up to the next category, so thanks to whichever judge that was. Thom, maybe?)
- Entered the craziness you see above called “Hypnotized” – which is a kaleidoscope made from a church ceiling in Italy.
- Entered three paintings after learning how to paint from the incomparable Sandra Pearce about a year ago. (She also has the best accent!)
But then, there’s the dark side of competition that nobody ever talks about. No matter how well you do, there’s always some degree of disappointment. This year, I lament “the one that got away” (damn you, 79!) and that I’m “settling” for Bronze – which, yes, is asinine to complain about. Annual disappointment is the hangover headache after a night of partying with your merit prints, so to speak. There’s a reason we call it a Print Comp Addiction, after all.
Since getting a Diamond Photographer of the Year award in 2010, I’ve always been a little (a little!) disappointed in my results. “Last year I had a Loan print” or “I should have fixed that blade of grass” (again: damn you, 79!) – there is literally always some degree of disappointment to every photographer’s print case. Heck, you go Diamond, and the first thing you think of “maybe it was a mistake?” or “well, pets are easy to merit” – or something along those lines. Basically, you just chase the dragon for months until May rolls around and you realize you waited an entire year to pull your case together. Last minute. Like usual.
So, time to dust off the ol’ Wacom tablet and start sketching out ideas, I guess. I have some new goals to set and genres to test out. Gotta get that 7th continent merit print (maybe time to book a trip to Antarctica!)… And only a couple more Loan prints until Imaging Excellence.
Time to get to work, friends.