A few months ago I decided to enter the APPA awards for the first time. The awards are run by the Australian Institute of Professional Photography and are the most prestigious awards in Australia. I have not entered in past years for a number of reasons, but this year I thought it was my time. Entering awards can be a really terrifying prospect, but it is a worthwhile process. While you do set yourself up for ridicule from industry leaders it is a fabulous way of knowing how your photography measures up to the best in the industry. Having clients happy with the images we create for them is always the best response to our work, but knowing if it’s amongst the best work out there is priceless as an artist.
This year there were some utterly amazing entries. Entries that completely took my breath away and made me feel really inferior. The APPA’s are slightly different to other competitions such as WPPI, each photographer can enter up-to four entries, choosing those four entries is a task that can often lead to a lot of stress. How can you select just four images from tens of thousands created over the previous 12 months? What if you select the wrong images? What if you overlook your one chance at Gold? Then there is the printing process, it has to be perfect. Luckily I have wonderful friends who own RAW Ink Printing and I was confident leaving my images in their hands.
I selected four images that I loved. Two wedding images, one family image and one portrait image. Entering the image of Miss Keighley on my chair was a risk. A risk because it’s not the type of image that would normally win this competition, it’s colourful and happy and is obviously of a gorgeous little girl. In previous competitions the judges have tended to reward more moody and dark images. To make it even more of a challenge I decided to do something different, to print it on Metalic Paper instead of the glorious Art Paper that my other prints were printed on. My dear friend Andrew at RAW Ink encouraged me to go completely left of field instead of playing it safe, everyone plays it safe and I thought it was a good idea to take a risk. One of the main reasons why I entered “Miss Keighley Turns One” is because this is very typical of the type of print that I would offer my clients. And after all, I shoot for my clients, not for judges. The other images that I entered were what I considered to be some of my favourite images. One of Mark and Danaye on their wedding day in a stunning wheat field in Golburn, an image of Kellie and Yannick in the Hunter Valley and lastly one of my favourite images of Steven and Ben shot in the rain and fog.
Watching the judging was fabulous yet nerve racking. I really enjoyed listening to the judges opinions on what they loved or hated in an image, I enjoyed making my mind up about an image and then seeing how it scored. It was fascinating stuff, but every now and then I started to fear that one of my images would come up and I would have to sit and listen to it being critiqued! The thought terrified me so I decided to have lunch with my friends instead. Just as I returned to the judging I saw two of my images up on the screen at once! I felt sick. There was some confusion about the scores as I wasn’t standing in front of the room that was currently judging and couldn’t see all the judges points. It was only today that I was able to know for certain what the final marks were.
My hope for entering these awards was that one of my images would get a Silver Award. Anything in the 70′s is considered to be the standard of professional photography showing proficiency in professional technique, but an 80-85 is a Silver Award and exceeds the standard of professional practice with a high levels of imagination, craft or skill. In the end my image of Kellie & Yannick in the Hunter Valley scored a 79, just one point below a Silver Award while all three remaning images were awarded Silver Awards. To make it even more exciting the image “Miss Keighly Turns One” was the highest scoring image of mine, which just goes to show that the style that I love to produce for my clients exceeds the standard practice of professional photography!
Congratulations to all my wonderful friends and colleagues who won awards this year. Here are my three award winning prints!