Hobbies are fun and is there a more fun hobby than photography? Is there a more fun form of photography than iPhoneography (iPhunography)? I don’t think so! And like all hobbies competition forms a part of it. Competition allows us to learn; allows us to set goals and work towards achieving them. Sure, we can’t all be successful and we all can’t be winners, but to paraphrase the old adage – we might not achieve our dreams, but in trying to we achieve things otherwise impossible.
I entered the international Mobile Photography Awards (MPAs) in 2013 and was really pleased to get two Honourable Mentions (HMs). (click on here and here to see them.) I wrote:
This is a competition I really like. It is exceptionally well-organised and there is so much quality in the winning images and those which received honourable mentions. Mobile photography is innovative and has real momentum. There is a thriving mobile photography community and some extraordinary people driving it forward with passion. Daniel K. Berman, the founder of the Mobile Photography Awards, is one of these people. The MPAs, I believe are helping photographers to emerge and to gain recognition. And also, the competition is inspiring photographers to learn, to experiment, to innovate and to have fun. You can read the full article here.
While I was initially disappointed and felt like giving it all up, I realised that it was quite an achievement to get two HMs and that I should be pleased with myself. I was, and I set about trying to improve as a photographer, trying to improve with the iPhone as a camera. I set myself a target to win a category in the 2014 MPAs. Unfortunately, I did not win a category and have to say I was (and still am) very disappointed not to have. However, I got six HMs across four different categories. This was second in number only to the winner, Shel Serkin (more about this great photographer later) who got seven HMs. I should be pleased. I am pleased, but I want to improve even more and is it shallow of me to want to gain recognition, to win something? Perhaps. Not all of us can be like Vivian Maier, however.
Reading what I wrote last year, still holds true:
And there is the thing. If you enter a competition, you want to win. You want all others to come after you. There is no other motivation. When you don’t win, you can feel despondent. You examine your work. You hold it up to that of the winners. You cast an overly-critical eye on it and wonder where the hell you are going in your photographic journey. But, this feeling passes. And it passes because the endeavour, the hobby, the passion you have for it cannot be diminished by the choices of a judge or judges. No, the passion, the desire to show what you see and to show how you see it surfaces and you get out and you shoot again. And you enjoy it. You get back to looking at others’ photos and they inspire you and the whole things kicks off again. You want to learn. You want to sharpen and sensitise that eye to see better. And you begin to dream that next time will be your time. You’ll win.
So, once again, I start off on this dream. I find that now I am more aware of what I want to see, how I want to see it and how I want to shoot and with this I am building a more coherent body of work. But I keep coming back to the same thing; the fact that I love photography. I am deadly serious about it, but it is such fun.
If you have some time, click here to review the different categories in the MPAs. There is some stellar photography there. And then take some time to review the work of the Grand Prize Winner – Shel Serkin. Shel is a street photographer based in New York. Shel’s work has always made me stop, examine and admire. He appears to connect with those he photographs, even though most are candid shots, and reveals something in them that in turn connects with ourselves. If you follow Shel’s work, you will see that he gives the characters in his images names – Wendy, Moe, Chloé, Jonah. In doing so, this, with such clever ease, sparks your imagination even more and you find yourself constructing much more than you can see in the given image. Shel is a true artist. Here is a gallery of 50 images of his I put together a few months back. Enjoy!
Here are my images which received the HMs in the competition.
This was taken in Tokyo last year. You can read more about the image here. This received an Honourable Mention in the Street Photography category.
This received two Honourable Mentions. One in the Street Photography category and one in Architecture category.
This, taken in Korea last year, received an Honourable Mention in the Architecture category.
This received an Honourable Mention in the People category.
This received an Honourable Mention in the Black and White category.
And there are always the disappointments – how did this not win!? :-)
Kiss the future….
Well – you are lucky that you have the luxury and money to be able to travel and capture images in such far flung places. And as you mentioned, the satisfaction is in the process, not winning awards- beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And in my opinion? I did not think a majority of the category winners in the MPAs this year reflected the strongest images chosen from the HMs. A few categories I thought did not even have strong HM selections.
Look forward to seeing images from your next journey.
Thanks Tracy. Indeed, I am very lucky to get to travel.
I thought there were some great images in the MPAs. And the winner was truly deserved. Although his images in the people category were worthy winners in that.
Which categories didn’t you like?
A bit late but better than never: Congrats Brendan!!
Thanks, my friend!