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  1. #1
    mooseontheloose's Avatar
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    Why do you enter photo contests?

    So...I've never really entered any photography competitions before, but I would like to this year as I feel that I finally have some photos that might have a chance at winning. Unfortunately, many of the competitions have the same deadline (September 30th seems to be popular) and I'm now debating which one I should try. I'm assuming it's not kosher to submit the same image to multiple competitions running at the same time, but correct me if I'm wrong here.

    In any event, it just made me wonder why others choose to compete in these types of competitions, and what the deciding factor is in choosing which ones to enter. Is it the probability of winning anything? The prizes? The status of the competition/organization sponsoring it?

    I know in the end the final decision will be up to me but I'd appreciate hearing how others go about it -- it may offer some insights in helping me decide which one to choose.
    Rachelle

    My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus

  2. #2
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    I don't. Some contests require you to sign over use of your work. I do not need the problems. I know my work is good. I do not need a ribbon to tell me.

    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  3. #3
    DWThomas's Avatar
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    Why? Well, to become rich and famous! Shur-r-r-re, that's it.

    Uh -- but seriously, I've been entering some juried shows the last few years just as a sort of personal challenge. There's a certain warm fuzzy in getting an image or two through jurying by somebody who has no idea who I am -- especially if only 10 or 12% of the submitted images get into the show. Of course, sometimes they don't get in, that can be a downer, but I've already had the experience of having work declined from one show accepted into another. It's a crap shoot.

    The possibility of significant cash prizes certainly doesn't discourage me, but I'm way too aware that only a small percentage of those few that get in actually win prizes. As with paintings, I've found it is sometimes helpful to see my own work next to others, especially since I'm a bit of a hermit and tend to work by myself. Usually those comparisons evaluate to suggest I'm not as good as I might have wished, but it's an important data point. The last two years I have volunteered to sit a couple of afternoons with a fairly prestigious show. That occasionally provides an opportunity to meet some of the other artists, and sometimes I've gotten some interesting feedback from visitors about work by myself or others. It's a few steps along the path in what I hope is a continuous learning process (even at my advanced age!)

    The exhibitions I've entered are also sales opportunities, although so far it's good I'm not depending on that for food!

    I haven't done so, but I guess in most cases, since they are prints, you could enter the same image in several places. Unless the potential award is to have your work used for some application, in which case the sponsors might want "exclusive" stuff. For me, having eight different framed prints ready to cover four overlapping exhibitions earlier this year was part of the personal challenge aspect.

    Edit: Re-reading I note you did say "contests" I suppose they could be considered different from juried exhibitions, although in my mind it's all a continuum.

    DaveT
    Last edited by DWThomas; 08-21-2009 at 01:26 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #4
    mooseontheloose's Avatar
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    Dave,

    You're right, I did say contests -- I'm not even contemplating juried shows yet -- but, like you, I consider them all to be part of the same continuum.

    I guess because I live in a kind of photographic vacuum this is a way of getting my work out, and in part, learning from the hits and misses. Not that I'll get a lot of feedback from the judges (unless I win something). ;-)
    Rachelle

    My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus

  5. #5
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    I enter local contests...1) it is a way to get new work in front of like-minded people, 2) it supports the art organization, 3) it forces one to take that new image and finish it, frame it and all that, 3) the occasional award (especially cash) is nice -- more film!

    I enter one annual non-local competition (Yosemite Renaissance, a multi media show/competition) as a challenge to produce an exceptional piece every year of Yosemite. Also if I get something accepted, then I have a good excuse to go to Yosemite in February for the opening (at which time I try to take a photograph for the next year's competition.) I did not get an image in last year, but something happen that was as good - a fellow I started on carbon printing did get a carbon print in the show. That was very rewarding.

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  6. #6
    Dan Henderson's Avatar
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    Juried shows are a place to exhibit work that expresses my vision as a photographer. The positive feedback of having a piece accepted into a show judged by someone with an art education and background reinforces my internal drive to keep producing work.

    As far as entering the same pieces in multiple competitions, our local art council sponsored 2 contests at the same time this summer, although at two different venues. I emailed to ask if I could submit the same two photographs to both contests, and they encouraged me to do so. One of the imaged declined from one show was accepted into the other, so as DW commented, it is a crap shoot completely at the subjective whim of the judge.


    web site: Dan Henderson, Photographer.com

    blog: https://danhendersonphotographer.wordpress.com/

    I am not anti-digital. I am pro-film.

  7. #7
    eclarke's Avatar
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    One reason NOT to is if you find yourself photographing to please judges instead of yourself. Camera club contests are particularly crappy because many subscribe to the subject and compositional "rules" of the P.S.A. ...Evan Clarke

  8. #8
    reellis67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eclarke View Post
    One reason NOT to is if you find yourself photographing to please judges instead of yourself. Camera club contests are particularly crappy because many subscribe to the subject and compositional "rules" of the P.S.A. ...Evan Clarke
    This is the main reason why I no longer do this type of thing, but it's not just limited to camera clubs. Many juried group shows suffer from the similar problems. I regularly speak with artists working in non-photographic media and, at least in their experience, it is apparently not at all uncommon for judges to allow their own personal preferences to skew their judgments. I mean, no one is totally impartial - we all have some influences that cannot be completely set aside - but still...

    I am told that the thing to do if you are interested in this type of event is to keep track of the judges who like the style of work that you do and then only submit work to their shows. It takes time to learn who likes what type of work, but I am told that's the best way to get your work seen without spending overly large amounts of money on entry fees for shows that you have little chance of getting in to. The cost to submit three prints to any given event is not large, in and of itself, but if you add up how many submissions you make each year it can get fairly impressive. I expect, though, that everyone will have a slightly different take on this...

    - Randy

  9. #9
    DWThomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reellis67 View Post
    I am told that the thing to do if you are interested in this type of event is to keep track of the judges who like the style of work that you do and then only submit work to their shows. It takes time to learn who likes what type of work, but I am told that's the best way to get your work seen without spending overly large amounts of money on entry fees for shows that you have little chance of getting in to. The cost to submit three prints to any given event is not large, in and of itself, but if you add up how many submissions you make each year it can get fairly impressive. I expect, though, that everyone will have a slightly different take on this...
    Maybe it's because I haven't done a lot show submissions, although I am also involved in putting on several general art shows each year, but I'm not convinced that advice is totally reliable. Not to say it's bad, but I have occasionally seen what appeared to be a judge giving short shrift to work similar to his own. Maybe he wanted to avoid accusations of bias, maybe to distance the competition -- who knows?! :rolleyes: I suppose if you can get the opportunity to see previous shows the person has judged, the idea could work, but in my experience many groups try not to repeat judges very often so tracking previous results could be difficult. For my club's open juried art
    shows we try not to repeat a judge for at least six or seven years. And since we normally have two judges, when we do repeat, we try to pair them with a different person. We hope that's a way to keep things mixed up a bit.

    I believe I've seen some indication that judges who are educators -- say art school professors -- may tend to be a bit more diverse in their selections and less anchored to one style. I also like shows juried by more than one person, I think that provides more balance.

    The idea of shooting "for the contest" is scary. We have a few events around here that have themes of a sort. Sometimes they are just looking for something within a geographic region. That I can see, but as I play it, if I don't have anything that fits the requirement, I pass. In some cases, if a theme intersected with some of my favorite(?) subjects, I might make a special effort to come up with shots if I had time. So far I go with my own interests and self-amusement which is probably one reason my work isn't being snapped off the walls -- I can understand a B&W of the twisted rusty remains of a 19th C industrial ruin doesn't work in to too many suburban living rooms.

    DaveT

  10. #10
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reellis67 View Post
    This is the main reason why I no longer do this type of thing, but it's not just limited to camera clubs. Many juried group shows suffer from the similar problems. I regularly speak with artists working in non-photographic media and, at least in their experience, it is apparently not at all uncommon for judges to allow their own personal preferences to skew their judgments. I mean, no one is totally impartial - we all have some influences that cannot be completely set aside - but still...
    This is what I have seen enough times to come to the conclusion of my first post on this thread.

    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

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