I seem to have a long list of various competitions I might like to enter. Now that I'm considering not entering every single one of them due to entry fee costs (in total. All of them are within reason to me.), I'm purely wondering why I'm going to enter. Obviously some competitions are for a charity cause and I don't mind enter those so much.
How many of you enter lots of competitions? I mean shows in galleries and local spaces, not camera clubs.
Do you get lots of sales or attention when you do get into a show? I've only been in one show so far (a group one) but didn't get much "attention" (emails or sales) from it.
If you are doing this for a sport, go nuts. If you want to end up pandering to judges, enjoy yourself. If you need somebody else to tell you whether your photographs are good, indulge. If you want fulfillment, find a venue to show, share and discuss your photographs with people who just appreciate them...Evan Clarke
I would agree. I entered a couple of competitions. I did get a little upset when a staff member received a mention in dispatches. Also DOP seems to rear it's ugly head. "Oh thats a nice shot, down to the store for a a4 or a3 print. Maybe a little shop work before hand." I did get satisfaction though at one, The judge went " well well well how very nice,However nothing for you, you don't work here." A visitor walked in and selected my two works and parted with a thousand dollars just like that....
I only wish to do displays at galleries now. Hard to start with. However internet allows you to stay in touch with past customers.
Hope this helps
I'm in Fine Art, and am on faculty in Fine Art departments, and as such am required to show my work as part of the "publish or perish" deal that all faculty have. A good rule of thumb from my perspective is: if I am not getting at least one rejection letter a week, I am not sending enough stuff out.
You should be approaching galleries, entering contests, and doing whatever it takes to get your work seen by the public.
2 things to remember:
1- the work can't sell if it's sitting in a box at home.
2- If you're in a venue that gets 500 visitors in a month, you only need 1% of the visitors buying your work to get 5 prints sold.
Your cyanotypes are wonderful. They will find a market.
I have a website and I have a webshop. I don't produce enough work often enough for a gallery. Thems the facts. Hence the publicity offensive planning.
I've been steadily entering competitions, and have shown in several of them. The upside, I'm building a nice resume of shows. The downside, shipping and framing are generally on me. I won a Camera Club of NY competition two years ago, which was so great, and they gave me a solo show in NYC... big time, right??? Well, no sales, and getting the prints there was a pain, and the $300 stipend just barely covered the expenses. Fortunately, I already had the pix framed for a previous show. I considered those framing costs as an investment, and it makes it easier to submit to shows knowing the exhibition prints are framed and ready to go. Still... wouldn't have traded that experience for anything. So, after that I realized that I'm going to be very careful and selective about which shows to enter. I generally stick with regional competitions... the northeast of the US, stick with those that have some sort of benefit to winning other than bragging rights... like cash. Lastly, I don't make work to satisfy some juror, but I don't submit work to jurors that I think are a bad fit for my work. It's always good to know who they are.
And yes.. it's slow process, but it's how you can get your work out there.
I should add that I don't enter shows to win prizes. It's nice if I do win, but it's not my motivation. I would be very discouraged if it were. I show my work because I want to share it and to build my CV. Framing and shipping can be very expensive, but over time, my work gets framed and ready for the next show.
Originally Posted by Greg Davis
Just to be clear, my motivation is not necessarily to win. It's to get the work into shows for the most part, and I've had enough rejections that I've learned not to take it personally.
I just get annoyed with competitions that don't offer something in the way of award. It feels like a ripoff... you pay to play, and they get some great stuff to show on their otherwise empty walls. So, if the prize is, I don't know, a camera bag, and the entry fee is, say $50 then I'm likely to pass. Black and White Spider awards seem pricey to enter, and not much in the way of benefit, for example.
If the entry fee is more like $25, with, say a $300 award or that a winner's pic will be purchased for a museum collection, then I'd say that's worth it. It's important, it seems to me, to be sure that you know what you are entering, and if you are selected what you will need to do, and how much it might cost you to get your pictures on a wall.
Sorry, I wasn't trying to criticize you for any reason you enter, just iterating to the original poster that entering to win a prize may end up being very disappointing and discouraging. I think it's nice if I win, but it shouldn't be my motivation for entering any juried competition.