A Jig at the Big Dance – 2013 Australian Professional Photography Awards

Social media is currently going crazy with news and wahoos as a result of the most important photography event on the calender in Australia, the Canon AIPP Australian Professional Photography Awards.

It was my first year as an entrant and I travelled down to Melbourne to soak up the atmosphere, learn, be inspired, and rub shoulders with some of the finest Australian and international photographers.  I did all of that, and more, and what an incredible experience it was!

For three days, I sat glued in my chair watching some amazing images being judged.  As the panel chair said “next print please’, my heart skipped a beat and hoped that mine would spin around.  When it didnt, I was able to relax and marvel at the thought process and craft that had gone into the image being presented.

I was very pleased that I was achieved a Silver Award for my Autumn Blur image which was created in Queenstown earlier this year.  It was taken late in the afternoon and the golden light was streaming through the trees.  The image was achieved in camera by using a slow shutter speed and panning upwards.   My other two images scored respectfully at 77 and 78 and both of them had support from judges scoring them in the silver award range.  Scores in the 70s are regarded as a good standard of professional practice.

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Autumn Blur

Tony Hewitt took out the big gong, taking out both the Landscape Photographer of the Year and the overall 2013 Professional Photographer of the Year titles.  Here is a link to the category winners.  The gold and silver galleries should be posted on the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) website soon.

So what did I learn?   Well, in my humble opinion, the type of image rewarded is one which has to be super special, it needs to be something new, one that will evoke an emotional response, convey a sense of place, or one which will challenge a judge to interpret the story or meaning.  In short, turning up to capture  amazing light at sunrise or sunset for a landscape shot just wont cut it.  All types of images were awarded, from the very simple and perfectly executed, to more complex images where judges were challenged to interpret what the picture conveyed to them.

I was particularly impressed with the way the judges critiqued the images.  They articulated the reasoning behind their scores during challenges and conveyed respect for both the artist and their fellow judges whilst doing so.

I really enjoyed networking with other photographers and continue to be amazed at how supportive the AIPP and its members are at encouraging newcomers to the industry.

In conjunction with the awards, the biggest Digital Show in the Southern Hemisphere was held at the venue, the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.  There was no shortage of expensive camera equipment to look and touch and I enjoyed spending time at the Kayell stand learning about the the different Canson art papers available.  During the judging, it was interesting to see the different choices that photographers had made to print their images on for the competition so that they could achieve a look and feel which suited their images.

I would have liked to buy a big whopping Canon lens but my modest purchase at the Digital Show was a book on plastic cameras, which hopefully will help me make my bad photos look good!  There is a comp run by the Soho Gallery in New York every year that I hope to enter one day.  It is called the Krappy Kamera comp and embraces all things not quite right !  I love the mystery and intrigue of these type of images and hopefully my plastic Holga that I won whilst attending a photography workshop in Santa Fe will finally be unwrapped and unleashed.

Finally, a big thank you to the fellas at Living Image Fine Art Printing, Darren Jew and Andrew Merefield, who ensured that that my images were beautifully printed and matted for APPA.

Big congrats to Darren for taking out the Science, Nature and Environment category for another year.  His image of a little humpback calf is simply gob-smackingly awesome.  It scored a Gold with Distinction and the capture has me mesmerised everytime I look at it.

Melbourne put on its usual charm for the weekend, with weather ranging from four degrees to sunshine and rain. I loved the charisma of the trams, the old buildings, the vibrance of Southbank, and of course, the marvellous coffee!

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Flinders Street, Melbourne

The whole APPA experience has inspired me to be more thoughtful and creative about my photography and I look forward to lining up next year for another dance at the big jig!

Next print please!

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