First off I’d just like to say a big congratulations to everyone else who was successful in this year’s competition. Some of the images I’ve seen have been world-class, and I’ve been getting a case of ‘imposter syndrome’ looking at them all.
I’ve been fortunate to have had a good amount of success in national photography competitions over the past few years, with multiple images awarded in the British Wildlife Photography Awards, the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year etc.
However up until this year I’ve never had any success with the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year competition. It is one of the most prestigious competitions of its kind in the world, and it gets tens of thousands of entries every year. It is brutally competitive, and every year there are many exceptionally fine images which don’t make the final cut. Indeed the chances of an image being successful are so low that I’ve only bothered entering perhaps 3 times. No matter how good your work is, it’s a lottery.
It was lovely to get the email letting me know one of my images had been Commended this year. It’s one of my favourite ever mountain images, and it holds some personal significance which I won’t bother going into just now. I also had another image shortlisted, even though in my opinion it was one of my weaker entries.
Photography competitions are funny things, and I sometimes find myself disliking them a fair amount. There’s a couple of things which don’t sit right with me with LPOTY, such as there never having been a female overall winner (!) I have specific qualms about most of the big national competitions, but I’m not going to go into details.
That having been said, in general I think they are a positive part of the photography world. I think the process of entering competitions can help you refine your work, and get a clearer idea of which of your images have immediate impact, and which are ‘growers’. From my own perspective, as someone who now makes most of their living from photography, success in competitions has helped me get here. My first Highly Commended image in the British Wildlife Photography Awards gave me a big confidence boost, and encouraged me to work harder at what I needed to.
It’s a slightly odd feeling, but success in LPOTY this year has been largely overshadowed by more exciting things currently happening in my photography world! More on this soon.
If you love photography I strongly encourage you to have a look at the winning and commended photographer’s images, there is some stunning work included. The book will be available soon.