I am so incredibly honored to share some VERY exciting photography-related news with you!
This year I began competing, and after entering my first major competition, I was named a Bronze Medalist in the Professional Photographers of America’s (PPA’s) 2018 International Photographic Competition. This is a big deal for me, folks. It’s the most prestigious photography competition of its kind, and 5,073 photographs were entered by photographers from all over the world!
I’m so excited by this process. I learned so much through preparing images for the competition, and critiques that I received back from the judges. I feel that it really helped my skills to grow exponentially. I’m very honored to have merited all four images when entering for the first time. Only a little over half of the images that were entered received merits. It’s not as easy as one might think.
In my personal opinion, story telling is the hardest part when you work full time as a portrait photographer. I fall in love with my client images for so many different reasons, and I don’t often think of it as telling a story. I only created one image specifically for the competition, and the rest were pulled from my every day work.
The image that I created for the competition was the one titled, “Never Again.” The week that I was planning to create the image was very shortly after the Parkland School shooting, otherwise known as the Valentine’s Day Massacre. I had planned to photograph a friend’s daughter, who was in high school. I live in the same county where this tragic school shooting occurred, and there wasn’t a second that went by that I didn’t think about it. I was initially inspired, like so many others, by the speech that was televised by Emma Gonzalez, a grieving Parkland student. She emitted such strength and bravery, and I was inspired by her to create the image “Never Again.”
The entries were judged against a standard of excellence by 32 highly-regarded jurors, and about half of them were selected to be included in the prestigious General Collection. Only 10 percent were chosen to be included in the Loan Collection, which is published in the “Loan Collection” book. Marathon Press also publishes the “Showcase” book, which includes 365 images from the General Collection.
My award-winning images will be on display at the Georgia World Congress Center, in Atlanta, Georgia, from January 20-22, 2019. It’s part of the International Photographic Exhibit, which is held in conjunction with Imaging USA—an annual convention and expo for professional photographers.
The photograph entries are not judged against each other. Instead, they’re judged by a predetermined standard of excellence. The judges examine each image carefully and give points for each standard achieved. The highest honor an image can receive is to be accepted into the PPA Loan Collection. You must get a minimum of 85 points to be included. The Loan Collection is a big deal because it means your photos go out on tour and are displayed at photo exhibitions, conventions, and other photography events.
Each of the four images I entered achieved a high score in 12 different elements, making them worthy of Merit—a mark of quality and honor. Out of over 5,000 photographers, I was one of only 208 to be named a Bronze Medalist!
Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is the largest international non-profit association created by professional photographers, for professional photographers. Almost as long-lived as photography itself, PPA’s roots date back to 1869. It assists 30,000 members through protection, education, and resources for their continued success. Find out more at PPA.com.
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