Each year, at the Epson State Awards, members of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) enter their very best images into one of nine categories; Portrait, Wedding, Family, Landscape Commercial, Illustrative, Travel, Documentary or Contemporary, aiming to receive the ultimate award of State Professional Photographer of the Year.
For the first two years of your AIPP membership you are an ‘Emerging Member’, as I am. This gives you the opportunity to enter up to 9 images into the State Awards which puts you in the running for the title of State Emerging Photographer of the Year.
Each photograph is assessed by a panel of five judges. Each judge scores the print out of 100 and the panel’s average is the final score. The final score determines the following results:
95 – 100 Gold with Distinction
90 – 94 Gold
85 – 89 Silver with Distinction
80 – 84 Silver
78 – 79 High Professional Practice but not quite award standard
70 – 77 Professional Practice Standard
50 – 69 Below Professional Practice
This year, for the first time, draining my bank account but with some amazing support from Paul, Dave and Miriam at my local lab-Atkins, my mentor and the amazing photography tour goddess- Sue at Informal Photo Tours, and my family and friends, I put on my brave boots and entered the SA Awards (SAPPA’s). From my three photographs entered, all in the travel category, I received two silver awards, making me a Finalist for SA Emerging Photographer of the year and I would like to share them all with you!
The Jolly Man At Jobhai Palace
During my first ten days in India last year I was with Sue on her Live and Breath
Rajasthan Photo Tour. She did an amazing job of creating a (very flexible) itinerary to incorporate the perfect balance of sightseeing amongst our street walks and village visits.
Just under an hour from Agra you will find Johbhai Palace, built by Akbar the Great for his favourite wife (for producing a son), Jodha Bai. Wandering the grounds of the beautiful palace we met this jolly character, who turned out to be the ‘cousin’ of our tour guide!
We couldn’t miss the opportunity to grab a picture or two of this expressive man with his one betel-nut-stained tooth! And didn’t he absolutely love the camera (and maybe the attention too)!
I entered the above black and white photograph which the judges believed to be of high professional practice, but not award level- scoring it a 78. The suggestion for improvement was to print onto a softer paper stock as the one I chose, in their opinion, made the blacks too rich. Different fine art papers can represent the same image completely differently and it’s an extremely difficult task (for me) to choose the appropriate paper. With that said, the image isn’t quite strong enough for Nationals so I’ll just enjoy it for the memories it brings back.
Windows Of Jodhpur
If you know me then you probably know I’m really bad at being a twenty-something year old. On Saturday nights when most our out partying or even just relaxing in general, you’ll find me in my office, probably researching a new photoshop technique or listening to a business podcast. The one thing I am good at to confirm my age is sleeping in. I love love love to sleep in. While travelling, no matter if I’m in a tent by the sea, the smelliest dorm in Prague or in a 5 star hotel in Kolkata- I enjoy rising early to explore in morning light. Rajasthan was no different, excited to get out with the others in the amazing golden light.
This particular morning I was so grateful for my travellers energy. It was early in our trip and it was the day I fell in love with India. We hit the streets as the sun had just risen. Woman sat among piles of grass, selling it to the passerbys to feed to the street cows. Men laughed at the Chai stands. Manged street dogs searched among rubbish for scraps. We tasted tradition street breakfast. We chatted with old men. We watched children heading off to school- all stopping to ask for pens!
I wandered from the group most of the morning. Always behind or ahead. Being alone, weaving the paths between the blue walls of the city, off a tourist track, opened many doors. Literally. An elder woman invited me down her path to introduce her family to the tourist. Fathers asked for pictures of their shy daughters. And young children surrounded me reaching for my hand.
I mostly enjoyed the experience but occasionally, an image would unfold in front of me calling my camera to my eye. This black and white image above was one of those. I was enjoying the architecture, following the columns up when I saw this scene. Six small children, completely oblivious to me below them, watched as others passed below them. The older boy held a toy gun, playing a game of his own. A younger boy nagged him to share. A girl with long braided hair giggled with the boy beside her. And at the other end a dad lifted a baby to see beside his sibling. For a little while I stood still, enjoying the scene. I’m a lazy photographer at times, and so with my long lens on I began photographing the little stories in each window- but the rest of the story got lost. I forced myself to change lenses- hoping the kids wouldn’t disappear in the meantime.
Fifteen Minutes In The Almost Darkness
I stood here, in the almost darkness, by a beautifully decorated column, in this Bhutanese Dzong for around fifteen minutes. Monks darted about, running by me in the corridor, laughing with their friends. I stood just watching the ever changing group of young, cheeky monks. I was just about to head up stairs when one monk left the group to take a phone call. Of course I quickly lifted my camera, changed some settings and waited, so patiently. I wasn’t sure what I was waiting for but I just knew it wasn’t the image I wanted yet. Then the younger monk twirled his robe as they do, and headed off- that’s what I was waiting for.To me, this image sums up the wonderful Bhutan- an ancient civilisation trying to live in the modern world without losing its traditions.
Overall I’m pretty stoked with my results as a newby to the awards scene, not only stealing a couple of silvers beside some of the industry’s best but also becoming a finalist for SA Emerging Photographer of the Year. Congratulations to all who entered and especially to David Sievers who was awarded 2014 SA Professional Photographer of the Year.
>>Did you see we have an online shop where some of the above photographs are available? Check it out here: Shop