The Kansas Professional Photographers Association’s 2017 Winter Expo has come and gone. This KPPA event was no less amazing than any of the other’s that I have attended over the last three years. This bunch of hard working, and very talented, photographers really know how to put on a “show”!
The weekend kicked off in a darkened room where image after image (nearly 130 in total) were projected on a wall for all to see. While we enjoyed the images the judges were hard at work. This was the judging. The Judging! That once a year, stick your neck out there, and have your work torn apart by some of the best photography judges in the country, judging. Photographers from all over the state entered their best in hopes of taking home a heavy little piece of glass, a piece of ribbon, or maybe even a wooden plaque! These photographers included little ol’ me. Sometimes I have a hard time realizing that I am actually “one of them”. That my images can hold their own against the crowd. Among those nearly 130 images that were being judged were four of mine. I entered an image titled Tiffany, one titled Step by Step, one with the title of Walk A Little Slower Son, and one that I called Intensity. And I waited…
The judges were tough. They really know their stuff and aren’t afraid to tell you like it is. Just listening to the judges discuss an image, whether it’s yours or someone else’s, is a great learning experience all of it’s own. We sat as silent as we could. This large group of creative minded individuals all hoping for the same thing. Hoping to hear a nice high number when our image comes around.
The highest score you can receive is 100. This night the highest score given was 89. When I heard how tough the judges were and saw photographer’s whos work I admier and consider to be amazing art getting scores in the 80s and high 70s I didn’t think I stood a chance. I knew then there was no way I was going home with any of that glass, none of those ribbibon, and certainly not a plaque. Not this year; Id have to be happy with the awards earned in the past. But still I listened and watched and waited. Waited to hear what would be said as my work appeared.
Whoa! I wondered if I had heard right! Did I really hang in there and manage scores that were right there with some of those “big guys”!! Oh yes I did! Just so close to that piece of glass, just so close.
Intensity, a black and white image of a mountain lion isolated on white, received a score of 78. That’s OK! I’ll take that!
Step by Step, an image of a beautiful tiger walking straight at me, received a score of 79. Better! Just so close to that coveted 80 points of those images that are deserving of a merit.
Walk A Little Slower Son, a soft image focused on a single pink rose with an elderly mother and her son walking among the flowers fading into the distance, received a score of 79. Plus a fraction or two of that last point. So close!! I was told that this image nearly brought tears to the eyes of two of those tough judges. You can’t put that on the shelf!
Then there’s Tiffany, a big old hairy gorilla shot in profile as she thoughtfully looked off into the distance. Tiffany and I had a nice long visit that day and I told her I’d do my best to make her famous! She seemed pleased with that thought. Well Tiffany; I got you an 81! Yep; you were “in the running” for that glass.
When the scoring was done this group of photographers, some of us very happy with our scores other’s maybe not so much [but still better for having taken part in this amazing experience] moved on out of the darkened room and into a fun filled night. We shared a meal, spent time visiting, learning, and laughing. While the judges continued to work. They had the difficult job of taking all those images, that had scored 80 and above, and deciding which would take home what awards. These higher scoring images were once again put through the ringer in a head to head competition and awarded their places.
The rest of us would have to wait once again until the following night when, at the annual banquet, the winners would be announced. I was so happy to see friends who have worked so hard be called up to the front and handed those awards. I was proud to know that some of my friends were receiving even higher awards than just our state image competition. It was an amazing evening, with great food, beautiful images, and again laughter, and learning.
and learn we did. With a weekend filled with amazing speakers I filled a notebook full of notes. Notes about Photoshop techniqes, image storage, photography tips, and even marketing!
No. I didn’t bring home any glass, or ribbon, or wood this time but what I did bring home is something even far more valuable.
Each and everytime I attend these events my skills improve. So look out everyone!! I may have missed the mark this year but I have dusted off those old awards, made room on the shelf for more, and have sharpened up my skills for next year. Yep; next year I’m bringing home some of that glass again!! You just watch me.