Over the years I've written a lot about entering prints in competition. While it's not something that appeals to everybody, it's something I wish I could convince everybody to do a few times. Here's why...
First, it gives you an opportunity to focus on your passion for imaging. Your bread and butter, for example, might be high volume school photography, but your passion might be landscapes. Entering your work in competition is similar to the importance of special projects. It helps keep you focused on your creativity, instead of the necessity of your business. For some lucky people, those are the same, but for most of us, there's another aspect to our love for the craft that doesn't necessarily pay the bills.
Second, feedback on your work is so important, even to the most established and seasoned professional. Actually winning and having your work recognized is terrific, but there's a lot you'll learn along the way. And, whether you agree with the opinions of the judges or not, it's simply another experience I believe can help you grow as an artist.
Steven Churchill is responsible for the Art of Photography Show and we first met many years ago. Since then I've watched the show continue to grow and over the last few weeks I thought it would be great to share his perspective on artists competing.
Entering prints in any kind of competition isn't for everybody, but even the most conservative and guarded personalities will typically find that little adrenaline rush you get, when sending off an image for competition, a kick.
The Art of Photography Show is an international photography competition, with the exhibition occurring each fall at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park. Now in our ninth year, one of the distinguishing characteristics of the competition is that our judge is always a highly acclaimed museum curator. Most photographers feel that having their work exhibited in a museum is the ultimate goal. Yet, getting exposure to museum curators is normally very difficult. This project provides that opportunity. We’re very excited that Julia Dolan is our judge this year, the Curator of Photography at the Portland Art Museum. In this era of "online exhibitions," we feel it's very important that photographers exhibit their work as "objects of art" in physical galleries. The San Diego Art Institute is a very elegant 10,000 square foot gallery, right next to the San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Photographic Arts.
A key point of the show is to provide a forum for independent photographers to exhibit and sell their work. The Opening Reception on October 12, 2013 will be attended by over 1,500 people (for free). That evening we will announce the award winning images and give away $10,000 in cash prizes, including $2,000 for first prize. And we'll be giving away thousands of copies of the Show Catalogue, which will feature the images and information about each of the exhibited artists. On the morning of October 13, Julia Dolan will give a curatorial presentation, talking about some of the work she selected and about contemporary photography today. There will also be several artist talks during the five week exhibition, similar to what we did in 2012. This document provides additional information about the show.
Marketing and promotion for the Art of Photography Show is extensive, with numerous cross-promotions, tens of thousands of announcement cards, as well as promotion to thousands of fans and friends on social networks. We will be sending a personal invitation to our list of over 25,000 collectors, luxury consumers and art connoisseurs to the Opening Reception and to all of our special events in the gallery. The purpose for all of the above activities, events and efforts is to promote the selected artists and to sell their work. And we truly love photography, so we are diligently working to elevate and promote this art form.
Just to share a few additional thoughts, we answer every phone call, reply to every email, review portfolios, share sincere feedback, speak at schools and art classes, and do everything we can to assist photo artists -- young, old, aspiring or established. You can read lots of testimonials from artists and attendees of our previous shows here. And please check out this short document by our Associate Producer, Lisa Smith, titled "So what's it really like? If my work is accepted, what happens next?"
The 2013 entry deadline is June 10th at 11:59 pm. Our Prospectus contains all of the information about how to enter your work. We are encouraging each photographer to submit images which are a unique expression of you, your vision, your creativity. No limits, no boxes you need to fit into. Though the title of the show is evocative of what the exhibit is about: The Art of Photography Show.