As an accredited photographer with the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC), every year I get to participate in our National Image Salon, and this year I'm excited to announce that I had 4 images accepted into the competition, and am a finalist for Commercial Photographer of the Year!
It's a place to show new work, flex your creativity, and sometimes a place to work on accepting rejection. Each member is allowed to enter up to 4 images in their choice of 22 categories, and the they are scored over two days by trained professional judges. Images are judged using a rubric paying attention to everything from impact of the image to technical excellence, and are awarded with one of 4 scores: Not Accepted, Accepted, Merit, and Excellence.
Everyone enters hoping that the judges will favour their photography, vying for Best in Class awards and, if you're lucky, a shot at Photographer of the Year. Sometimes though, it doesn't go that way - the first year I entered as a member, I got 4 not accepted images across the board. Not my finest moment, but last year I pulled up my bootstraps and entered again. I managed to get 4 images into the competition, making me a finalist for Commercial Photographer of the Year in 2019.
I love entering competition. It always pushes me to create new work - sometimes specifically for competition - and the comments from the judges are always a good learning experience (though sometimes an extremely frustrating one!)
Our competition was held a couple weekends ago, and I am thrilled to share my results with you now! I've also included some behind-the-scenes of shooting some of them, because as they say, sometime's it's fun to see how the sausage gets made.
Product Illustration - "A Splash of Nütrl" - Excellence
This was a creative shoot I made for an art show I was part of in 2019, and for which I created high-speed splashing images - one of my favourite things to photograph. The setup was a giant fish tank set up in the bathtub in my apartment, with a wonderful assistant who dropped the can and lemons into the water about a hundred times to get it right! The final image is a combination of over 6 different photographs.
What can I say? It's a glamorous life sometimes.
Architecture - "Convergence" - Merit
I took this image at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts when I was there for the PPOC Conference in 2019 (more on that here). I loved the lines and the different materials used throughout the building and snapped this abstract from under a staircase looking up towards the ceiling.
Fashion - "My Lips are Sealed" - Merit
I shot this image in my parents' basement with my friend Rachel - a willing model and one I've photographed a few times, once in winter and once for a school project. I was testing out my brand new (at the time) lighting set and the concept was an homage to Old Hollywood black and white portraits.
Sadly I don't have a BTS shot of this setup because it was on an old phone card that got corrupted, but let me paint the picture for you: a black bedsheet is tucked into the Murphy bed to hang behind the stool Rachel is sitting on, and I am standing on the other side of the sofa with my camera on a tripod. To Rachel's immediate left is an unused treadmill, and to her right is a stack of storage bins. One light is precariously placed just in front of the sofa and aiming down at Rachel, who is being very patient as I learn to use the new lights.
Fashion - "A Breath of Fresh Hair" - Accepted
This was a creative test shoot with model Sian R. from John Casablanca's Vancouver, with makeup by Rachel Cipkar. It was shot in my current home studio, the necklace is thrifted from Value Village, and Rachel is standing just out of frame tossing Sian's hair to get the "breezy" effect.
A little BTS, including another setup we did that day.
I'm SO thrilled with the results from this year, and honoured to be included as a Commercial PoY finalist for the second year in a row, alongside some of my mentors and closest photography friends.
Now.... to start planning for next year!