What a whirlwind week! I have just come back from an amazing week at the Nikon AIPP Event which for the first time ever also incorporated the AIPP National Awards ( Australian Professional Photographer Awards – otherwise known as APPA)
The Awards were judged over three days, with over 400 entrants from around Australia – meaning there would have been well over 1000 prints to judge, as every entrant enters up to 4 prints.
This is my second year entering the national awards, and I’ll be completely honest, although I have been awarded silvers at state level , last year at APPA all my prints were judged in the “Professional Practice ” between 75 – 79 points. Although I was happy they had all been seen as professional, I was devastated I hadn’t managed to get an award. I took it as a learning curve – that the nationals were asking me to step up and get more creative.
I guess the thing to remember about the awards is that although every photographer out there is capturing amazing work for their clients, more often than not what the judges are looking for is something left of centre, something unusual that tells a story etc. They want to see something they haven’t seen before.
So how it works is 5 judges score a print out of 100 via the following criteria, and then the average is taken as your score. The images are anonymous, so the judges don’t know if they are judging a student or a fine art master.
This year I decided to push myself with more creative concepts, and was rewarded with two silvers at State level, automatically qualifying me for entry into the national awards – the APPAs.
The two silvers I received at state I re-entered with a few tweaks into the wedding category for the Nationals.
When I was younger I used to know a few people who were a little on the wild side, and I had the idea back then of the “alt project”, a portrait series concentrating on creative , interesting people who are not considered ‘mainstream’. I had finally started to work on a few of these portraits for exhibition, when the awards came around , and I decided to enter two of them in Portrait category.
Judging day arrived, and I turned up at 9am with coffee in hand to watch the judging process. Its quite a nerve wracking experience. Portrait is a massive category and this year had over 300 entries, so it was going to be an all day affair in two different judging rooms.
It was around lunchtime when my first image was judged. I had so many butterflies in my stomach, because I really loved the work I had entered, but was also aware it was quite unusual – I wasn’t sure if the judges would understand the story.
The judges spent a lot of time looking at my print, and when they sat down I received the following scores
90! I got a Gold Award! As you can imagine I was already shaking with emotion, when I looked up and saw on the screen that my other alternative portrait print was being judged in the other room!
I jumped up to go see to find it too had scored a Gold award!
Of course by this stage I was a total mess, my legs turned to jelly and my hands were shaking so hard it took me ten minutes before I could call to tell my husband. I think I swore a little bit 😉
To then get the added bonus of two silvers in the Wedding Category on Monday, all four prints were awarded. I couldn’t be happier, although for the first few days I think I was completely overwhelmed, and had to keep pinching myself that this had actually happened. I have included my two Silvers below as well.
I am very proud of my silvers – there is some amazing talent in the wedding photography industry and I am very pleased to have been awarded. Because of the four awards, I managed to get enough points to gain my associates ribbon, which is the first step in getting my Masters.
Even better was the fact that so many of my friends were awarded as well, and there was some truly beautiful work – so inspiring immersing myself amongst so much talent.
Finally the Gala night, where the winner of the categories were announced. Totally taken by surprise to find out I was lucky enough to have been announced as a finalist for the Australian Creative Photographer of the Year, something that I had not even imagined I could achieve. Congratulations to Charmaine Heyer for the win! Amazing work!
Congratulations to all the category winners and finalists!