I really don’t like contests. Any kind of contest, not just photo contests, but I will focus… get the pun?… on photo contests since this is a photo blog. Contests are too random. At least the ones I enter. The state fair has different judges each year. Which is good… and bad. The good is you don’t know their biases and preferences. The bad is that you don’t know their biases and preferences. If you do know the judge(s) you can tailor your submissions to (hopefully) match their preferences. That can work out well, as I did just that several years ago at my photo club’s annual contest. I won several prizes, including Best of Show.
So why do I enter contests? I enter because they push me to continually improve and shoot better photos. There are a lot of good photographers in the world, and at least keeping up with them is a challenge. Unfortunately, there are also some mediocre photographers who are gurus with Photoshop and Lightroom, and they can produce some stunning images that grab people’s attention… and judges are people, too.
I’m not a purist by any stretch of the imagination, but I do feel that the primary skill of a good photographer should be… wait for it… photography. Call me old fashioned, I guess.
The photo above is the one that won “Best of Show” at my photo club’s contest. That was in 2010 or 2011. It’s a bit small here because it’s so long. This is 17 images stitched together to form the panorama. Hopefully you can see it well enough. And, yes, I have this one hanging on the wall in my living room. It’s 7 feet long and printed on canvas and is gorgeous.