One of the big events I look forward to each year is entering the Professional Photographers of Canada National Image Salon. This year marks the association’s 68th competition of professional photographers and my fourth time entering. It’s also the first time I’ve been eligible to enter the Master’s Image Competition, a competition-within-a-competition just for photographers who have earned their Master of Photographic Arts (MPA) designation.
Over the past three years, I’ve entered twelve images in the various portrait categories with mixed success: two scored excellence, four scored merit, five made it in as ‘accepted’ and one failed to hang in the show (a throwback term to when the National Salon was a travelling ‘show’ of physical prints) with a score of ‘not accepted’. Entering five images this year meant just that much more pressure considering the high level of coast-to-coast talent that would be entering with me. Ultimately, though, you can only create the best work you can, enter the competition and leave the rest to the hands of Fate. This year, I chose to enter the portrait (two in my regular entry and one for the master image), child portrait and figure study classes.
Title: Glory of the Game Class: Child Portrait Score: Accepted
This image was a lot of fun to create. Carter here is a big bundle of energy – a living perpetual motion machine – and he (almost) always has a smile on his face. I missed the commentary from the judges but I heard that one of them really took note of his spark and enthusiasm, which is great as it’s the most important part of the image for me. One side note here: this is the first time I’ve actually included an “Easter egg” in one of my competition prints. The image hanging on the wall behind him is an image I created of the Toronto skyline the night of Jack Layton’s memorial in 2011. There are actually two Easter eggs in here, but I have to keep the second one secret for a few more months …
Title: Morning Muse Class: Portrait Score: Merit
One of my favourite images created specifically for a client of mine last year, and it didn’t disappoint during the judging this year. Good thing, too, as this one leads my site’s landing page. 😉
Title: Transition Class: Figure Study Score: Accepted
Figure Study images are a bit of a staple for me in competition. As a former illustrator, the human figure has always been something I’ve been fascinated with. Muscle, line, curve … we are all living works of art (don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise!). “Transition” was a fun image to create: one 7’x6′ softbox behind her angled with a 7’x3′ mirror beside her and my subject positioned at just the right angle to get an almost full 360° view of her, all in one shot. In fact, the hardest part of creating this one was keeping myself out of the reflection. Geometry to the rescue!
Title: Collector of Souls Class: Portrait Score: Merit Title: Lor Madness Class: Portrait Score: Excellence
My fourth and final ‘regular submission’ was “Collector of Souls”, a portrait of fellow photographer Jim Kost. Jim has a fascination with wet plate imagery and even took my portrait with a 1936 Graflex (seen in the background). In fact, this portrait also has an Easter egg in it – the portrait he took of me is hanging on the wall directly above him. The judges really chewed on this image before settling on the merit score. To the judges who noticed all the small details and really “got” this portrait, thank you. You guys made my day.
The image on the right will be a familiar portrait to those who follow my work. “Lor Madness” is just about my favourite image of the past couple years and my ‘master entry’. Lor (Laura) is a local photographer and model, alternative to the core and a ton of fun to work with. Listening to one judge speak to this portrait, saying ‘the skin, the styling and the crop are all perfectly suited to each other’, gave me the warm feels. It’s about as non-traditional as it gets and its inclusion in the show (not to mention its score) means a lot to someone who wants to shake things up a bit.
So, there they are. The awards presentation will be April 27 in Niagara Falls so, with luck (lots and lots of luck), I might have a sequel to this story in a month’s time …
ps. I’d like to give a special ‘thank you’ to Craig, Joe and Brad for their insight prior to my submitting these images. Little details count and you guys saw the ones I didn’t. There’s a drink waiting for each of you at the bar. See you in the Falls …