Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sour Grapes?

Halifax Transit by Iguanasan
Halifax Transit, a photo by Iguanasan on Flickr.
Tonight was the final meeting of the year for the Sackville Photography Club and the meeting where we get the results of the club's annual photography contest. There were some excellent images entered into the contest and I sincerely hope that no one takes offence to my comments.

Last year I came in third place but this year I didn't manage to make a mark. Intellectually, I know that it's a fair and honest contest.  A friendly contest for the club but I can't help but feeling a bit down about the results. It doesn't help that my family doesn't have a clue that I even entered a contest let alone that tonight I got the results and I'm a bit disappointed about them.

I wasn't going to write this post tonight because I'm not looking for pity but I felt that others might feel the same way about any contests they've tried and I wanted to share my feelings in the hopes that it may possibly help them get through their own self-doubt.

I worked hard for each and every photo. Those images mean a lot to me but, apparently, not as much to the judges. I know that doesn't mean my photos are crap, but it's still a very hard to swallow that I didn't manage to even place anywhere in the results.

The photos I entered into the contest were some of what I thought were my best images. The judges thought the other images were better. That makes me think that I'm missing something, that if I could just understand that little piece of what I'm missing I could win every time. I'm reasonably certain that it is ridiculous thinking but it doesn't stop me from thinking it.

In fact, I certainly understand after tonight why people don't enter contests. If you don't enter, you won't be disappointed. I wish I had something useful to say on why you should get back up on that horse and try again but I don't. I will, however, get back up on that horse and try again next year. I won't give up.

I still wonder what I'm missing...what elusive bit of "stuff" is preventing my images from making the right impression? Maybe I'll figure it out next year.

If you are having this issue, don't give up. Keep trying. Intellectually, I know you need to keep trying. I'm not sure why yet but I hope to find out some day and if I do, I will try to share it with you.


Anonymous said...

I look forward to each and every photo you post. Sorry you didn't win this year, I'm sure you have in the past. Sandee

Iguanasan said...

Thanks, Sandee. I appreciate your appreciation :)

Anonymous said...


Curious to know; which images did you submit?

Iguanasan said...

That's a good question, Anonymous... they were

1) (in Macro)

2) (in People)

3) (in Digital Darkroom)

4) (in Print)

5) (in Travel)

6) (in Animal)

7) (in B&W)

8) (in Nature)

Anonymous said...


Thanks for sharing. I will give you my opinion, but keep in my that it is just that; my opinion. Also, everyone looks for different things in photographs, so it's hard to "judge" without knowing the boundaries of the contest.

There is nothing "wrong" with your images. However, they seem to be more of a technical exploration - very well executed - that one would find in a photography book. The judges, having seen these types of images often, are looking for something else within that context.

For example, interesting light, thematic relationships, geometry, immediacy, etc.

The Parliament image has great light, but IMHO, the framing doesn't work. The people who take these kinds of images spend days trying to get the shot just right, and sometimes the site limitations have to be worked around to get the shot.

Don't worry; I dislike every single one of my images!

: )

Anonymous said...

I would have submitted these;

Much stronger images.

Iguanasan said...

Good selections as well and your point is well taken. It's definitely hard to pick your own. All I can generally see is the mistakes I've made. Maybe next year I'll have someone else choose the entries :)

Anonymous said...

Any change of heart now that some time has past?

Iguanasan said...

@Anonymous, I guess the answer is yes and no.

I'm not giving up because of a little disappointment but I had no intention of giving up when I wrote that post anyway.

I still think my images can be have a stronger impact and I will continue to work at making them better.

I'll just have to see what next year brings. Maybe my images will make the cut next year and maybe they won't. Either way, I will enjoy the experience of making the images. That's the most important thing.

TeresaA said...

Hi Glenn
I know how you feel- I didn't win anything this year either. However, I made a choice to submit images that were a bit different so I paid the price. Or they sucked. Take your pick :)

I do agree with Anonymous' choices (except for the bird shot- your choice was better IMO).

All you can do is submit your stuff. I do find that I probably am not a good chooser of the 'right' images for myself. Too close to them I guess.
I find the feedback I get from forums and flickr more useful in many ways than in contests. In the end it's an opinion in a moment in time.
I however love your photography. And there's no point in arguing with me, I'm always right.

Iguanasan said...

Thank you very much and I never argue with a lady :)

Cheers, Teresa!

TeresaA said...

ha! My grandmother despaired of me ever being a lady! :)