So, how did you find all that?
This Thursday coming is the final Competition night in my Photography Club. Well, that’s not exactly true – there will be a FINAL night at the end of the season, but there will be no new photos for that, just a pick of your best ones for consideration by external judges.
I am glad I did the competitions this year, and feel I did learn quite a bit from the whole experience. I doubt I would have progressed as quickly had I not taken part. But, and there is a big but, I feel that I also lost a lot of myself and my style during it. I am concerned that if I continued to enter competitions like these, that I will become a different artist than I am wanting to be. There are so many rules that you have to follow for competitive photography that I just don’t feel are conducive to making great creative art. I feel they are needlessly stifling.
I am less likely to take a creative risk now than I was at the beginning of the season. I feel I hold myself back because I am just so tired of hearing “I don’t really understand what they are trying to do” or “I just don’t get it” or similar. It just seems pointless to enter stuff that is anyway off centre as it just falls flat. And that’s not to say I think all my entries are amazing, or should be praised as high works of art – not at all! – Its just that I feel I won’t be able to develop my particular style or brand of art in a system that doesn’t seem to reward that sort of direction.
So, while at the beginning and during most of the season I felt I learned a great deal, I now feel in some respects that the competitive scene will hold me back – or worse turn me into something I ultimately don’t want to be.
THAT – or I just need a break from it, which is equally likely.
I could just be burnt out with the whole thing. I mean, the big emotion I have round this final round is “Thank the gods this is nearly over”, which is telling. Perhaps it would be different if I was doing better in the league – as it stands I already qualified for the final and even if I scored full marks on all photos on this last night I still wouldn’t win or even come runner up in the league – so I have nothing to lose or win anymore really. So, it’s hard to be massively motivated – other than to do good art for art’s sake which is what I tried to accomplish.
In the end, while I am proud of these images I will be very excited to see what sort of images come out of me when I am not working towards making art for competitions.
With this month’s entries I tried to have a balance of my aesthetic weirdness with doing stuff that is technically sound. I didn’t go full “Fuck the system!” but I also tried to stay true to myself. I approached the images in the same way I would approach my illustrative art – create a story, an atmosphere, add some mystery, keep it a bit weird – try to elicit an emotional response. For the most part I think some of these images are closer to my normal art than any of other photos to date, which i am happy about.
That said, I am expecting the whole “I just don’t understand this” reactions for a few of them. But perhaps I am being unfair.
First here’s a vlog where I talk through the images before the competition:
And a follow up Vlog with the results:
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