In 2011, my main focus was to enter photographic salons with the aim of both improving my images and, in the process, to achieve internationally recognised photographic distinctions. This investment paid off in 2012 with awards by both the Federation International de l’Art Photographic (AFIAP) and the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (DPAGB).
I’ve exhibited in several local group shows this year. Three of my images were published in the Guardian Weekend Magazine in 2012. 18 images have been selected for the IX gallery in the last 12 months. As well as numerous features in groups, seven of my images have been featured in Fotoblur’s Community Gallery, and I was honoured to accept an invitation to be one of Fotoblur’s three gallery administrators.
In addition, I joined the judging panel of Best Shots international photographic competition which runs through until April 2013 and was invited to give a talk on architectural photography.
Last but not least, in the post last week I received copies of Issue 63 of Advance Images Photography Magazine, the first and reputedly the premier English language photography magazine promoting the art of photography, published in Malaysia. This includes an 8 page interview featuring my work in the Artistic License series, including 15 colour and black and white images. What a wonderful way to finish the 2012 photographic year!
Success in any competition is a great confidence builder. Photographic competitions are no different.
Having your work selected by independent judges, particularly people whose work you admire, boosts your self-esteem as a photographer no end. It can kick start flagging enthusiasm and act as a spring board which helps you take your photography to the next level.
Well, it worked for me! After winning the Abstract section of the International Color Awards 2nd Photography Masters Cup I was hooked…..more competition success followed: Royal Horticultural Society Photographer of the Year, Urban Photographer of the Year, International Garden Photographer of the Year, Black and White Spider Awards….Different competitions, different subjects, each one widening and deepening my photographic experience and adding to my portfolio. The prizes were an incidental bonus!
This year however, I’m doing something a bit different. Rather than entering competitions, the boot is on the other foot. I accepted an invitation to join the panel of judges in the Best Shots Photography Competition.
It’s a bit overwhelming to see my name alongside some of the great and good of UK photography – Joe Cornish internationally acclaimed landscape photographer; Amanda Berry BAFTA Chief Executive; Roger Tooth Head of Photography at The Guardian newspaper; Prof Michael Malony, Britain’s most decorated press photographer; J Collingridge International Architectural Photographer of the Year; Jonathan Beer, a still life and product photographer with an international clientele of manufacturers and advertising agencies, as well as American Steven Braker, a commercial photographer who has worked for Time Life and Sears Roebuck, amongst others.
Best Shots is a bit different to most photographic competitions in that it supports a charitable activity. The aim of the competition is to raise funds to support “The Station”, originally a Victorian railway station in Richmond, North Yorkshire, now restored to provide a wonderful venue housing a cinema, restaurant, heritage centre, meeting rooms, offices, six local artisan food producers and a large gallery space where art and photography are exhibited.
Quite by chance, we visited The Station in April 2011 when staying with friends who have a house in Richmond. It never crossed my mind that in 2012, I would be playing a small role in helping raising funds to support this self-sustaining charitable business at the heart of a wonderful community….
The competition has ten different categories: landscape, portraiture, still life, food and drink, sport, photo art, travel, animal life, phone photos and “young snappers” for those age 12 or under, so something for everyone. Each category will share up to £1000 in prize money (£500 1st prize, £300 2nd prize, £200 3rd prize) plus extra prizes are awarded throughout the competition, which closes on 30 April 2013. This month, December 2012, the photographers with the three highest scoring images will each win prizes a Hama Olbia Camera Back Pack.
The 100 “best shots” will win a place in the exhibition which opens at The Station on 14 July 2013, before traveling to Scotland where works will be on show at Kellie Castle, near St Andrews. From there, it will move on to Wales where works will be displayed at Oriel Plas Glyn Y Weddw, a gothic Victorian Mansion on the Llyn Peninsula and finally back to England, at Michelham Priory in East Sussex.
Members of the public visiting the exhibition will be able to vote for their favourite image. The image voted ”Best of the Best” will win an extra £1000!
You can register now and submit your images at any time up to the closing date by following this link: http://www.bestshots.co.uk/how-to-enter
You can submit up to 5 images for just £30, or one image for £10. For that, you get a chance to win prizes, have your work exhibited at four beautiful venues throughout the UK, support a worthwhile cause AND have individual feedback on your images from members of the judging panel.
Looking forward to seeing your best shot
This had been a good year for getting work published in the Guardian Weekend Magazine! ”Purple Haze” in June (when the weekly theme was ‘purple’) and “Four Square in August (when the weekly theme was ‘square’). I completed the hat trick in October with “Lady in waiting” (for the theme ‘signs’).
The strap line reads “How convenient: signs that transcend the language barrier at the Cinematheque Francaise, Paris”
Since then, opportunities to take and make images have been limited by other priorities: supporting my husband while he has second line chemotherapy (six cycles of treatment which started in October and is due to finish in February 2013) and working with the rest of the family to help my mother -in-law get the help she needs following a long spell in hospital. However, I am still actively involved in photography in a different way – as one of the judges in the Best Shots photographic competition which opened at the start of November and runs through until the end of April 2013. More of that in my next post!
As summer comes to an end, I realised that a couple of months have passed without a single post. Time to catch up, with the first of several bits of news!
In my last post, I talked about finding the right “home” for an image, and how Purple Haze had been selected for the Guardian Weekend Magazine. Well the Guardian has turned up trumps again, this time giving a home to another of my images “Four Square” which took pride of place to images on a theme of (you guessed it) Square which was published last Saturday.
In the past, I have simply reproduced the published image. This time, I have scanned the whole page, so you can see the fun that someone had with the layout. Isn’t this good way to display the group of selected images on the square theme?
Unlike many photographers who work in a particular genre, I hate to restrict the subject matter of my images. As a result, I have a very diverse portfolio and have to think hard about where to share my work. For example, photographs which are likely to be accepted in salons patronised by organisations like FIAP and the RPS are unlikely to find favour on fine art photography sites, and images which are popular in stock libraries will rarely do well in a photographic competition. I often have images which I like very much, but find it difficult to find the right “home” for!
Purple Haze was one such image – a view out of airplane window taken as we flew back from Marrakech at twilight, last month. A minimal, almost abstract, image where colour is the key component. Although it appealed to me, it’s not the sort of image to share on most of the online photography sites I use. So it was with great delight that I read two weeks ago that “Purple” would be the theme for photographs in a future issue of the Guardian newspaper’s Weekend Magazine. And it was with even greater delight that I found out it was published in today’s magazine, some 11 months after “Hot Dogs” appeared in the same publication. I had found a home for it!
“Un-posed, un-staged photography which captures, explores or questions contemporary society and the relationship between individuals and their surroundings”
This definition of street photography is on the London Street Photography Festival website. I don’t think of myself as a street photographer. However, when I read these words I realized that many of images I have taken of people in public places fall under this broad definition, being spontaneous captures, with minimal interaction between the subject and photographer. I decided to put together a small group of images from a larger body of work, inspired the British seaside.
There aren’t that many places in the UK where people of all ages come together in the same place with the main aim of enjoying themselves, regardless of the inclement British weather. We flock to the beach sometimes alone, often with family and friends, armed with buckets and spaces, windbreaks, blankets and folding chairs, a flask of something hot to drink and a bite to eat, a newspaper or magazine to read, MP3 player to listen to and stay there until the light fades or the rain gets too heavy……A photographer’s paradise!
As we’re in the depths of winter here in the UK, I thought it would be a good time to remind myself of summer seaside holidays. So here’s a selection of my “street” images from the beach at Southwold, a charming town on the Suffolk Heritage Coast – a bit of a change from the urban images usually associated with street photography
As 2011 comes to an end it seems like a good time to take stock of my photography and remember what’s happened over the last 12 months….
Being one of the featured photographers in Issue 9 of Fotoblur Magazine (Spring 2011) and having work selected for Issue 12 (Winter 2011) have to be amongst the highlights of the year. You can read the interview here Photographer Interview: Linda Wride and check out the latest magazine here: Issue 12 Preview
My work will also be included in the soon-to-be published Urban Photographer of the Year book, along with all the winners of the 2008, 2008 and 2010 competitions.
Mustn’t forget having an image published in the Guardian national newspaper’s weekend magazine in June!
Fourth Dimension – a solo exhibition in March (another highlight of my photographic year!)
Artspool – group show in May as part of Oxford Artsweek
Coast – group show at the Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot also in June
Horti-CULTURE - group show, The 03 Gallery, Oxford Castle in July
Art4Wards – group show, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford in August
London Salon of Photography Centenary Exhibition – group show, London, in September
Oxford Photographic Society Annual Exhibition – group show, Town Hall, Oxford, in October
AOP Open Awards Exhibition – group show, Truman Gallery, London, in October
Touring exhibitions: Royal Photographic Society Members Exhibition
Honours and Awards
Associate of the Royal Photographic Society (ARPS) June 2011
Highly Commended Welsh International Projected Image Salon 2011
Two FIAP gold medals: Bor International Salon (Serbia) and Banja Luka Interanational Salon (Bosnia Herzegovina)
FIAP patronized International Salons
35 acceptances of 22 different images in 11 different salons from 5 different countries
Two nominations (one in Abstract and one in Architecture) in the 6th Annual Black and White Spider Awards
One nomination (Abstract) in the 5th Annual Photography Masters Cup
Some of the images that form part of the bodies of work above have already featured on the blog. Here are some of the others:
In 2012, I will try to carry on changing the world one image at a time……
Happy New Year to you all and good light!
Recently, a thread on a photography website where I post images caught my attention. It described a photographer’s feelings when, after a long series of rejections, one of his images was selected for the 1X gallery, bringing his grand total to three “successful” images in three years. As today’s blog is more about the thoughts his post triggered in my own mind rather than his work, I shall refer to this photographer as “T” rather than giving his full name.
In his post, T compared the 1X approach (where curators select gallery images) to Fotoblur, where every image posted by members appears in the general Community Gallery and feedback on individual images is given as and when members feel moved to do so. He found the positive feedback from the Fotoblur community “intoxicating and addictive” even though he felt he had been rewarded for commenting on other people’s images rather than the quality of his work. On the other hand, whilst the stream of 1X rejections hurt, in his view it was a price worth paying for publication and helped him learn to be a better photographer. In his words, “Rejection, if we can handle it, is the engine that drives greater effort, more work, and deeper introspection.”
As someone who has long posted images on Fotoblur and more recently on 1X, this post made me reflect on my response to selection, rejection and feedback. In terms of selection, without doubt having an image published in the 1X gallery is a great thrill and honour. Likewise having work selected for Fotoblur’s ”featured” gallery and published in the magazine, both of which are curated. As T says, such joyous events sustain us through the lean times when few, if any, images catch the curator’s eye for reasons that we will never know, since no feedback is given as part of the curation process.
When it comes to rejection, after the initial feelings of disappointment and frustration on seeing the message “Not selected for the 1X gallery at this time”, my response is to grit my teeth and become even more determined to develop and grow as a photographer. In that respect, I suppose you could view rejection as a spur for improvement – a stick rather than a carrot.
However, “rejection” is not a word which springs to my mind when posting images on Fotoblur, even though images which are not “featured” or published could be considered as rejects, by default. I think this is because of two features on Fotoblur – feedback from members about images posted in the general community gallery and the facility to “follow” a photographer whose work you enjoy and admire. I think of these features as being a supportive “carrot” when it comes to learning to be a better photographer, and something which balance out the implied rejection if an image is not featured or published.
Whilst they may not be the curators, the feedback from Fotoblur community members provides huge support and encouragement, and I value it highly. It does wonders for the self-confidence, which in its turn makes me more ready to experiment and explore different ways of working – or take a chance, if you like. Even if it isn’t “featured”, having an image on the “Community Favourites” pages means you have triggered a reaction in many viewers and reached a diverse range of people. On reflection, I realize that sort of response is important to me.
Of course, there will always be those who promote your work in the hope that you will promote their work in return. This type of horse-trading approach does not appeal to me any more than it appeals to T. Personally, I comment on images that catch my attention and “speak to me” regardless of the author. I do not read comments on my images posted earlier until AFTER I have commented on images submitted by others. In this way, I try not to be influenced by kind words or flattery, but just focus on the merits of the photograph in front of me. I hope that others do the same when looking at my photographs.
I was delighted recently to see that my image “Sky Geometry” not only made it to the front page of Fotoblur’s Favourites, but for a brief but wonderful period occupied the Number 1 slot!
The “followers” network on Fotoblur is different again. This may sound silly, but when people started following my work I began to look at it more critically with my own eyes, thinking about how it might appear to others and not just my own feelings about a particular image. Suddenly I wasn’t showing photos to family and friends any more. Strangers on the other side of the world were looking at my images and forming a view on my work. I would agonize over which image to post and which to hold back; if the image wasn’t up to scratch, I wouldn’t post it.
It’s only natural that self-imposed standards change over time. There are pictures in my photo stream which I would not post today, but I leave them there as a reminder of how much I have learnt over the last few years. And of course, not all my decisions about which images to share are sound. There are some photos which pleased me at the time, but now have little impact and I begin to wonder what I first saw in them. But I guess I’m not the only one with that experience.
720+ people currently follow my work, which is amazing. “Glass Ceiling” was the image in the Community gallery when the number of followers passed the 700 mark, which I still can’t quite believe.
Having followers doesn’t make it any easier to decide what to post in the gallery – if anything, I am more self-critical than ever. The bar goes up each time I’m notified about a new follower – for me that’s a real incentive to create better images. I would like to thank each and every one of you for keeping me on my photographic toes!
I’m not suggesting that the “carrot” approach supported by one photographic website is better or worse than the “stick” approach of the other. The right approach is whatever works for you at that particular time. There are quite a few photographers (including one of the curators) who, like me, post images on both sites. Perhaps we need a mixture of stick and carrot to help our photography along. And sometimes we need a bit more of one than the other in order to move forward. Perhaps the trick is knowing which one to use, when!
Which brings me back to the original forum post by T which set this stream of thought in progress. His post seems to suggest that the strategy to run with rejection paid off eventually, with two images being published on the 1X gallery within a week of each other some five months ago, around July 2011. Out of curiosity, I also took a look at T’s photo stream on Fotoblur. The exact same images were posted there in 2010, one in September the other in November last year, some 7- 9 months before they appeared in the 1X gallery. With this in mind, I can’t help but question whether rejection helps people learn to be a better photographer, or just better at deciding which images to submit in the hope they will be published……
Back in September, I was excited to read that Issue 12 of Fotoblur Magazine will focus on where photography began, with black and white images. It had been many years since I last messed around in a darkroom, but seeing work in the Fotoblur community gallery inspired me to venture into digital monochrome. In doing so, I rediscovered the world of black and white photography. It therefore gave me great pleasure to see this morning that one of my monochrome images has been selected for the magazine and to read the following message :
Dear Selected Photographer,
Having your photo selected for our upcoming issue of Fotoblur Magazine means you represent our vision to not only build the web’s most talented community of photographers but to create a photography publication like no other.
The selection of your photo is supported by your fellow community members through the thousands of votes they made in support of your work and is a testament to your creativity and talent as a photographer. Congrats for being one of Fotoblur Magazine’s contributing photographers.
International Color Awards Press Release:
CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY NOMINATE UK PHOTOGRAPHER LINDA WRIDE AT 5TH ANNUAL PHOTOGRAPHY MASTERS CUP
LONDON (November 2011) – Photographer Linda Wride of Oxford, UK was presented with the 5th Annual Photography Masters Cup Nominee title in the Abstract category of at a prestigious Nomination & Winners PhotoShow. The live online ceremony webcast Sunday, October 29, 2011 was attended by photography fans in 83 countries who logged on to see the climax of the industry’s most important event for color photography.
The awards international Jury included captains of the industry ranging from Hasted Hunt Kraeutler in New York, Brancolini Grimaldi, David & Goliath, Simon Studer Art Associates, Stills Gallery to Christie’s in London who honored Color Masters with 272 coveted title awards and 1099 nominees in 18 categories.
“It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 13,321 entries we received this year,” said Basil O’Brien, the awards Creative Director. “Linda’s Image “Swirl,” an exceptional image entered in the Abstract category, represents contemporary color photography at its finest, and we’re pleased to present her with the title of Nominee.”
See the 5th Annual Winners & Nominees at http://www.thecolorawards.com/gallery
INTERNATIONAL COLOR AWARDS PHOTOGRAPHY MASTERS CUP is the leading international award honoring excellence in color photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in color photography.