I recently joined a local camera club to try and get out to meet people who are also interested in photography and spending money on photography and photography related things. The club in my area is actually huge –one of the biggest in the country, in fact– and they have weekly meetings. Part of the standard agenda for these meetings is a photo competition, in which anyone can enter pictures in one of three classes –basically Rookie, Intermediate, and Super Fancy. There are also different types of competitions, like Black & White, Color, Photojournalism, Nature, Travel, etc. During the competitions a guest judge goes through each picture, comments on it briefly, and in the end picks 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners, in addition to a certain number of Honorable Mentions. So far this has been my favorite part of the meetings, because I learn a lot by studying other people’s pictures and listening to someone more experienced than I critique them.
Anyway, last night I entered the picture above in my first competition in the Projected (read: Digital) Color category. I think it’s a cute picture with decent composition, a nice curve, and some colors that go well together. No great shakes, but worth throwing out there and better than some of the pics I had seen entered into previous competitions. To my surprise, I won an Honorable Mention. The only annoying and slightly disheartening thing was that the judge kind of came across like he was giving it the HM as a joke. He laughed when he saw the photo, but I didn’t think much of it at first since it’s kind of a silly picture and a good chuckle isn’t outside of the expected range of reactions.
But then he started insisting that the duck had been pasted in with Photoshop (which I can assure you it had not) and that he admired my moxie or somesuch. He kept giggling at the picture each time he came back to it in the winnowing process, so I was both surprised and confused each time he didn’t eliminate it and finally awarded it the HM. It was like he was giving it the award on the weight of the joke and sillyness instead of its merits as a photograph. This feeling was reinforced by the fact that he made no comments about the artistic or technical aspects of the picture, as he did with a lot of the others.
So, in the end I’m not entirely sure if he was serious or not when giving me the award. I guess it doesn’t matter a whole lot, since I got my points for placing in the competition and it hasn’t deterred me from my intentions to enter future ones. It was just kind of an odd moment.