I got amazing news last week! One of my images from Kimmy & Dennis’s downtown Fredericton engagement session was chosen from over 6000 entrants to be among 50 winners of the annual “Best of the Best” engagement photography contest hosted by Junebug Weddings.
The collection is a truly stunning set of images from photographers around the world (including Nordica Photography, who have shot André & I!), chosen by an amazingly accomplished quartet of successful and renowned photographers. This is my first proper peer-reviewed image award and it makes me proud.
Of course, almost immediately after discovering this news I read a response that basically said “awards are bullshit and will give you a huge ego and stifle your creativity and make your work look like everyone else’s”… (of course, the photographer who said this gives workshops…). But still. Ouch.
I’ve been ruminating on that for a week now. That photographer might be on to something: awards are a little bit bullshit for various reasons, and I’ve certainly been on the losing side of a competition more often than not.* For every photo in this collection, over a hundred more didn’t win, and I’m sure most of them were pretty great. (7 of the losers were mine as well.)
*literally every other time. *cough.*
When I first looked at this collection I felt like my image stuck out like a sore thumb. Part of that was probably imposter syndrome, and part of that was that it actually is different. You can see the faces of both subjects! The colours are vivid and the contrast is high! No spectacular landscapes or gorgeous light here, just a sidewalk in downtown Fredericton. I love the other images in the collection, but I never thought in a million years that one of my photos would be alongside them because of how off-trend my work can be. So not only am I proud, I’m reassured that us small-market, geologically-bereft photographers still have a chance. All it takes is a great client, some serendipity, and a true connection. Make ’em laugh. Make pictures the way you want to want to make pictures, then risk rejection and keep submitting, because you never know.
(My ego IS huge now, though. They were right about that.)