I’ve been aware of the awards for my entire photographic career. Back in my uni days I’d go along and watch but was always too scared to enter. It has taken me this many years to finally build the courage to enter on a consistent basis.
Why? I don’t think I have much courage. I’m still scared; terrified that my work will come up in front of the judges and it won’t do well. But you know what I’ve learnt? That it doesn’t really matter as long as you learn from the feedback. It makes you a better photographer for giving it a go; for not being scared, by forcing yourself to have that little bit of courage to put yourself out there.
Most importantly, the awards have given me the courage to enter my personal work. The stuff I do for me; the stuff I’m really proud of but scared no one might like, as there is no client saying “I love that”. That’s what I want.
I have to write this post this way, because I need to remind myself to have confidence in what I do; to stop questioning if I am entering the right thing or if I should even enter. And, this year, taking that step, entering what I considered to be my best personal work of the year paid off. And you know what? It worked! The judges had lovely things to say about my urban landscapes and gave me feedback well beyond my expectations.
Somehow I managed to score amongst the highest scoring prints of the category, making me a finalist and then the winner of the Victorian Landscape Photographer of the Year. So my thoughts? You really have got to be in it to win it. It’s the third time I’ve entered (after many years of spectating!) the Victorian Professional Photographer of the Year Awards (VPPY) and the second time I’ve taken this title in the landscape category.
I wanted to share this part of my story with you, including my insecurities, as I was so impressed this year to meet so many students and emerging photographers giving it a go, entering and putting themselves in the game. To them I say well done! I wish I’d had your courage back then. To those who I met, watching shyly from the sidelines, too worried to enter, to scared to give it a go, I say just do it! Do it next year as you’ll never know unless you do.
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