Oliver the Photographer…And you can’t Win them All

This past week was the first Professional Photographers of San Diego of San Diego County’s (PPSDC) Image Competition.  These are bi-monthly competitions where entrants enter their images to be judge and critique by their peer of judges.  With each competition comes a great learning opportunity and even some victory.  This also was the year that I was in charge of running the image competition.  Which in its own right it is a victory in itself.

After attending, entering, and helping with the image competition over the last 2 years that I have been a member of PPSDC, I took over the reins of this very exciting and gut wrenching competition.  And from what I can tell thus far, organizing and running competition is a lot of work.  A LOT of work.  But that’s not the point of this post.

The purpose of this post is to talk about what happened at this latest image competition.  And I’ll just come and say it; I TANKED!  I tanked in a major way.  None of my images Merited on this night.  I’m not going to lie, it stung and it hurt a lot.  It hurt enough that I seriously wanted to just leave and tell everyone to go fuck it.  The insecurities that I had as a photographer once again showed its ugly head.  It’s ugly head spewing out the; you’re not good enough, that sucked, you sucked, do you really want to do this, you don’t have talent, and you just don’t have it anymore.  You’re a one trick pony.  And to top off it seemed that people that usually didn’t do well in the competition actually did pretty well.  And as much I am happy for them, I’m slightly more annoyed that they did.  I know this is coming from my insecurities and even some cockiness from my end.

Sitting there running the competition and seeing the scores and seeing others doing well made me feel small again.  I kept a straight face as much as I could.  But friends that do know me, usually can tell.  I don’t know if did that night but I think I showed it.

I think the thing that made it worst was that there are some people that got credit that I know they didn’t earn and most annoyingly I know that with such allocates it would be a “look at me, look at me” show.  And it being a couple days since, I know it did.  And too me that was the most annoying part.  I could attribute part of that to be jealous and that is true.  I was jealous.  But still, it was the fact that now it was just going to be shoved in my face not on purpose (well…that’s up for debate) but it was going to be presented in away that I feel that it shouldn’t.

But with this round of ranting and venting over…there are a few things that I did realized that night too.

For one, I understood, you can’t win them all.  And you can’t.  If you did, it wouldn’t make the times that you did special.  Right?  So I know that you need to go sometimes with a down so you can ignite the fire to start it up competitor mentally again and start the process to dominate it.

Secondly, you can’t rest on your laurels.  I think what happened in this competition is that I didn’t follow my normal procedure of getting input from friends that I usually ask if I should enter.  I rested and assumed on my end that my images still would be good like they where last year.  And when I think about it, they are good as last year but that was last year.  What I did wrong in this situation was that I was still producing the same old work and not innovating and creating images that won me the allocates that I did in the past.  I remember I told myself and other that I would always keep people guessing on my work.  And looking at what I entered, it was easy to pick out my work.  And on top of that, there wasn’t much imp ace in those images.  So they should not have merited.

Although, I should note, however it is not an excuse, that the judging that evening was a pretty tough.  Cut throat, blood bath, and massacre come to mind.  It was hard.  And those images never stood a chance.

Another thing I learned that night was that there are a lot of people that truly care, support, and genuinely want me to do well.  And that’s the biggest realization that I got from that night.  Truly the people that showed up, helped, messaged, and text in terms of “how can I help,” truly made the night best for me.  If they are reading this they know who they are.  And as I’m writing this my heart is healing and being filled with love and gratitude from those people.  I seriously love and appreciate them.  I hope they you know that.  If I could I would hug and give you each the world for just doing such a simple gesture.  With that I think I still came out on top.  The night ran smoothly as can be, it was long one but they stuck around, and afterwards we got to have a laugh and enjoy each others company.

But come November, I’m going to bring it.  And bring it BIG.  And along me with I’m going to make sure my friends that I support and truly believe also bring it.  I want them to also succeed and make their dreams come alive.  You can’t win them all but I surely will help those that I believe in without hesitation.  Buddies, I promise you this.

The following are the images that I entered.

Laser beam of light in Antelope Canyon

Laser beam of light in Antelope Canyon – 78/100

Long exposure of a rock lit by  Moonlight

Long exposure of a rock lit by Moonlight – 77 / 100

Seattle taken a dusk

Seattle taken a dusk – 79 / 100

Leave a Reply