After recently joining the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP), I was delighted to have two of my images awarded a Silver Award at the 2015 EPSON Queensland Professional Photography Awards over the weekend!
The AIPP runs the annual prestigious Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPAs), providing professional photographers with a platform to expand their creativity, evaluate their progress against others in the industry, and network with the community. I had the pleasure to attend the APPAs judging in September 2014 and was truly inspired by the photographs on display and the artistic feel in the crowd.
In order to qualify for the 2015 APPAs as a new Emerging Member of the AIPP, I needed two of my images (printed in a very specific manner on fine art photographic paper) to score 75/100 or above… Easier said than done when I was only submitting 3 images and these images would be judged by highly recognised professionals in the field! And moreover, of the 3 images, I already knew that one print had come up a bit ‘soft-focused’ and would not be very welcome by the jury… So the pressure was definitely there for me.
I sat in the back of the judging room and waited, a bit anxious… It wasn’t long until one of my images came up – the second print being judged in the ‘Science, Wildlife & Wild Places’ category! I instantly felt the adrenalin pumping through my veins. I felt sweat forming on my cold forehead as the judges scrutinously inspected my print. The five judges sat back on their sits and silently typed their individual scores: 78-82-80-84-80. “And we have an average score of 81, Silver Award!” announced the mediator.
81. Silver Award. Everything had gone so fast and I couldn’t believe my eyes… This first image of a sea turtle meant a lot to me as I had captured it on my birth day on the beautiful Lady Elliot Island in the southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. I could feel it had ‘something special’, but never would I have guessed that it could one day be judged of higher professional standard by highly recognized photographers!
A lot more prints were judged. Among them the beautiful works of Canon Master and AIPP Master of Photography Darren Jew. Darren had been exploring the Antarctic Peninsula earlier in the year and the images he decided to submit were truly awe-inspiring…
Finally came my second print. An image of a whale shark appearing out of the blue that I had captured only a week earlier during the Ray of Hope Expedition to Myanmar & Thailand. Funnily enough, this image was initially not intended to be submitted, but at the last minute I had decided to ‘give it a try’…
The judges stood up once again… A couple of them went away, and then came back to my print, their heads about a mere two inches from my image… What were they thinking?? Was something wrong with my print?? As they sat back I could not handle the pressure anymore, but fortunately the score screen read: 82-78-80-86-87. A Silver Award again! With an average score of 83!!!
That was it… I had qualified for the 2015 Australian Institute Professional Photography Awards. So much relief! I could now enjoy the rest of the prints on display and relax…
The third print did not score as well – 69. As I expected, the fact that it had come up a bit blown out during the printing process did not seduce the judges. But I learned from it! I learned that next time I should make sure to check the final prints before completing my submission, and I left with a smile, inspired to do even better for the national event in September!