Every so often the opportunity comes up to enter in a competition. I try to be a bit selective about what I enter into, partly because the process is time consuming/can be expensive, partly because I want as much ‘bang for my buck’ so to speak, should I happen to win. I haven’t won anything yet, but I think it’s important to stay involved and keep entering.
My reason for this is simple: in a competition you have criteria to meet. If you can meet the criteria, and do it well, at your best level, then you’re making sure you’re on top of your own game as well as furthuring yourself, but you’re also helping progress the photographic industry. Entry into competitions and awards processes is kind of like exhibiting, it’s not mandatory at all, but if you are seen to be chipping away at it continually, then you are demonstrating a broader commitment to the industry as a whole, not just to your own business.
So, ‘Head On’. Oh my lord, to win this exhibition would be outstanding. To sit in the finalist group would be an honour. The reason for this is that Head On is, in my view, is Australia’s premier portrait competition. It has no political agenda because it was founded by an individual, Moshe Rosenzveig:
‘Moshe is a photojournalist, commercial photographer, educator and an award winning television producer/director, whose career in the visual arts and the media spans 25 years.
Moshe’s television work has been screened on SBS TV, ARTE, and other overseas networks. His photographic work has been published in major local and international magazines.
Moshe’s recent personal photographic work has been exhibited in Sydney Now at the Museum of Sydney 2008, at the 2004 Sydney Festival, in Art and About 2003, 2005 and 2006, and in Cross Projections 2004 and 2005.
As well as doing photography Moshe is currently teaching photojournalism at the University of Technology, Sydney. He is also a speaker and a regular contributor to Digital Media World.’
Now, he’s the dude. His only agenda is to get quality photography out there, seen, acknowledged, exhibited and awarded on a yearly basis.
In terms of ‘bang for my buck’ I mean that this competition has national exposure, the exhibition is shown at the Australian Centre for Photography (in Sydney, no, not Canberra), there are fabulous prizes offered by high profile sponsors, and the event itself attracts wide media exposure and appeals to a wide audience. They also usually get someone reasonably famous to open the event and that always pulls the punters too.
The competition is open for all Australian residents, and it must be a portrait or portraits that you are entering. Other than that, there are not really any other criteria to meet. As I’ve been photographing people quite a lot lately, I figured I might have one or two in the archives. I’ve decided on the two images you see here. On the left, John, aged 4, an amazing young man I met briefly in Harlem, New York. I had a mad photography session running around a public garden with him and his friend Meryl, who had brought us together. From one frame to the next his expression changed extraordinarily, his spirit was just incredible. I still can’t look at those eyes for too long. When I was initially working on this image I had a time limit before I had to close it and come back another time. Those eyes just penetrate, and the way he opened up his neck and gazed straight down the lens….uugghh, chilly. The other, Maya, well this child I could probably photograph all day long. Again, an amazingly soulful child. In this image she was simply watching ducks out on the lake behind me, but her face….her face….I mean how does a 3 year old come up with a face like this? Just amazing. So it’s with thanks to little John and Maya that I would like to honour their little spirits and enter them in this competition. For me, these images are compelling, thought provoking, intriguing, and make me want to know more about the subject. I think, I hope, they do the competition justice. We’ll see.
Do you enter competitions regularly? Are you contemplating sending your work to a competition and don’t know what to choose? Want me to critique something you’ve got?
As always, I love your comments and they are welcome here.