I’m frustrated. Extremely frustrated.
I’ve come back from another competition night at my camera club, where I failed to pick up a single award (I entered three images) despite favourable comments from the judge.
This has been a constant theme this year. For the last two months (and for most months this year), I’ve also failed to pick up an award. The last awards I picked up were two merit awards at an inter-club competition in July, where the judge had previously overlooked everything I’d entered in a regular club comp. Those same images won me merit awards in June (awarded by a different judge).
I am in the A-grade category at a large camera club with an extremely competitive contingency, and I produce strong, comp-grade images (I’m very fussy about what I enter), but I cannot even get in the top 50%.
Of the 27 images I’ve entered this year over a period of nine months, I’ve picked up awards for only four images.
I constantly see very ordinary images getting awards, in spite of less favourable comments from the judges. Yet images which get good commentary (be they mine or other people’s) get overlooked. Even the quality of A-grade entries in general has really gone down over the last few months; I’ve seen stronger B-grade images than some of the material that’s appeared in A-grade.
The problem with club competitions is that the goal posts are constantly moving. There are different judges, with different biases. On one night I saw one judge pan one of our B-grade members’ images (which in my view was badly composed and motion blurred, and lacked anything visually or conceptually strong), yet the same image appeared in the following month’s competition and won an award from a different judge!
I am thoroughly confused.
Even in an online competition in which I participate just about every week, I have only managed to win once, and it was a tie. I appear in the top five quite frequently, but cannot manage to get the top spot.
I really have no idea what it takes to succeed in photographic competitions.
So, to that end, given the fact that:
- there’s no consistent playing field with competitions;
- my lack of success is seriously discouraging me and eroding my love of this hobby; and
- the levels of competitions I enter don’t amount to a hill of beans as far as photographic accolades are concerned,
I’ve decided to completely withdraw from entering any competition at any level.
I’m completely over it, and it’s just not worth it.