You wanna be judged or voted?



The internet is full of all kinds of photo competitions, and to be honest, when I come across something that jells with me, it is hard to resist trying… Aren’t you a bit the same?

Yes, you are tempted to try and enter, but the dilemma still remains: some competitions include viewers’ votes as a way of “getting ahead”, others are directly judged by a professional jury. So your image is tested and approved (if so) by a completely different set of standards and opinions and first and foremost by people with a completely different level of competence. After all, it is so relative and subjective to say if a photo is good or not, isn’t it?

So, what to do? You wanna be judged or voted? Have you ever been struggling with this issue?

Let’s just look at the pro’s and con’s of both situations…

If you are a fledgling photographer like me, you are probably drawn in both directions here… I guess, this does not apply if  you are an “established professional” (whatever that might mean).

On the one hand, you surely want to see if your image catches the eye of your audience, since this is your purpose. Or, is it, really? Who is you audience? Have you decided that? Or you are still in a process of discovering who you are, and what you represent in “photography”? That’s ok, nothing wrong with that – it is a process you have to go through!  Let us not be quick to judge if you are still battling finding yourself…

On the other hand, you most probably are eager to get the approval of some “big shots” or at least someone, whom you know for sure already knows what he or she is doing, since you see the fruit – “professional work”! Are you willing to face the truth: you wanna be patted on the back by someone you look up to, who says, “Well done, you nailed this one!” That IS a thrill, no doubt – recognition like that should be!

I don’t know where you stand, but one thing I know: merely crunching the numbers on a “Vote for me” site is pitiful and meaningless, never go for such cheap praises! Nothing is easier on social media sites than to get a “like”… So, please do not harass your friends daily or send a spam email to everybody on your contact list and beg for a vote! I am not saying that it is forbidden to let those friends who are interested in following your “photographic career” know that you have entered a competition, but that’s it!  Yet, to wait for some celebrity to tell you that “You are definitely gonna make it” is also a futile thing. How long are you going to wait for somebody to discover you, before you get serious with what you want to do? Whose WORD is it really that you depend on? If you are waiting for an ultimate approval from someone outside, you are wasting your time.

Get dirty with more work, more trial and error, if necessary, more risk of failing or succeeding, and you will discover your own inner voice in this gruelling process. It is this journey itself that will give value to the end result. It is by such a concerted effort that you gain the right to speak out and tell a story, and people WILL listen, they WILL look. It will be compelling!

So, I guess, now that I have given myself such a world of good advice, I am no longer going to wait for any outsider to be the “Sceptic” and pass a judgment, I will be my own “Judge”, I will be my own “Critique”…

Will you join me?

 

 

 

 

 

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