I entered my first photo competition. It was at the Mpls Photo Center, a place where I’ve attended some presentations openings and events, met some interesting shooters and took a weekend workshop. All good. And I just recently submitted a couple of photos for a b/w competition.
They say that photos are best when then tell a story. That’s not so easy. Unlike the writing, the narration of the idea delivered in such a different way. Sometimes a photo idea requires, like pages in a book, a number of images to convey its thoughts.
Just yesterday I received the dreaded, “We regret to inform you” email explaining my entries sucked. Oh wait, the email didn’t say they sucked. It said my entries were not selected for the exhibit but of course that in no way did it reflect the quality of my work. Wow, even written words can be misconstrued. Either that or they have that email software that allows you to retract an email you didn’t mean to send and replace it with another one. I mean I could swear the first time I read the email it said my work sucked.
So my work is great but it didn’t make the show. It won’t be hung on the walls for the exhibition. I suppose that means when I attend the opening for this event I will not be inviting anyone to come along with me. But I’ll definitely attend. I want to learn what the juror saw. I want to experience the stories others told through their images.
I’m going to go out on limb an guess why my work may not have made the cut. To begin, I’m just starting to understand this concept of storytelling through images. I have to admit that the juror George Slade seems a bit of a mystery to me. I mean he is very acclaimed, but he stumped me when he showed images he appreciated from a previous exhibition he juried in Seattle. I mean the photo that was on the screen most of his presentation was a tossed apple with a bunch of ants all over it. Another was a triangle shape made from the water behind a boat. These images seemed to be about scale and shape, though I did not fully grasp the story he was reading in them.
I’ve got to admit that I haven’t done much b/w photography. As such, I had little inventory to choose from when collecting pieces to submit. I actually had to scan one of the two pieces I took many years ago with my old film camera.
But I think there’s an idea still worth developing beyond this exhibit. It’s about seeing a diminishing one-point perspective, with a rhythm of inanimate lines that create movement towards the diminishing point, whose pattern is broken by a human element. So what’s my story and why might anyone care about it? These images say something to me about the intersection of the built environment and desire for order and control within the context of the human form, with all our nuances and imperfections.
Don’t see it? Maybe the two photos I submitted are just the bookends. Maybe this book is not ready to be judged by its cover alone. Seems I have some more photography work to do on help tell this story.