Art type awards are pretty subjective on what people think is good or bad, compared to what is technically correct and what takes skill and the right moment. So to be honest I'm not a big fan of NZIPP or the IRIS awards, hence I never entered before (the majority of the event/award categories are photoshop editing and composite imagery rather than a photo) but I thought what the heck, let's see what this thing is all about and it would be a good experience none the less.
So off the bat it was a hugely expensive process, from the high cost per print entry, the hidden handling costs which were huge and then actually getting around to actually printing and mounting my images. I ended up submitting three images in total, I would of loved to of entered more but when it is around $200-250 per print things start to get quite expensive.
I narrowed it down to three images in the end. The first being the barn image of Ché + Adam dancing at Tarureka (pretty iconic photo spot which everyone gets done at Tarureka, beautiful place, some simple versions had been entered previously and had been awarded silvers so was a good bet). The 2nd one was from Brigitta + Fred's wedding at Wharerata running in the rain, I loved that moment, and the image and that wedding so I had quite a bit of emotional connection to it. Both these images just missed out on getting Bronze by a couple of points, with one judge wanting Brigitta as a high Bronze so that was great to know (there were five judges, with the highest and lowest scores removed - but with the ability for judges to challenge and fight for either a higher or lower score). The final image I entered was from Leonie + Mark's backyard wedding. It was just after the ladies had finished getting ready and they went straight into an impromptu pray. During that shot I just tried to be discrete and quiet as possible but also document that moment. I love being able to document these moments, and to capture it was ace. One judge had this image as a Silver, and tried his best to fight for it to bring it up from a bronze, in the end it missed silver by a couple of points, but to have the one highly respected current wedding photographer judge get the emotion in the image and what it takes to only be in that space and moment but also capture a tear was great.
So to come away with a Bronze (which was nearly a Silver) and just miss out on a couple more, meant it was a successful event personally, I learned heaps, I realised competitions like these are fun and I met a bunch of other awesome creatives. Would I enter again? Probably not, it's too expensive, it' s not really a photo competition and it's not really relevant in this day and age in its current format. Maybe if the judges were more relevant, the actual focus was on photos rather than some composite photoshopped picture or there was more defined distinct categories maybe I might look at it again. But in it's current state it doesn't really have a place in the current wedding industry but in saying that, congrats to all the award winners and other creatives who took the plunge, it takes a lot of courage and humility to have you work displayed in public to get judged.
Now back to smashing out real photos for real people and smashing life, yeoooow!!!!