About 5 years ago I entered International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY) and immediately regretted it. I’d recently bought my first digital SLR camera, had taken some entirely average photos, and entered the competition without much thought. Annoyingly, I’d entered an art competition when I have always believed that there is no competition in art. There can’t be. Once a certain level of technical competency is reached it’s entirely down to who is doing the judging and what image catches their eye on that particular day. On a different day they might choose a different image. A different judging panel would probably choose a different set of images. It’s a flawed concept. The winning images of IGPOTY/LPOTY/BIRDPOTY/OPOTY/SLPOTY etc are no better and no worse than many of those who ‘failed’ at the first hurdle. It just depends who is doing the judging.
I struggle with the money these competitions make, and I worry that perfectly good photographers, who consider not being one of those chosen makes them somehow a less good photographer which is very not the case. Hopefully their enthusiasm for this wonderful art form won’t wane.
Leave competitions to sport where you can have a winner and an also ran.
The photos are my entries for IGPOTY 2011. Oi… no laughing at the back!