The 2012 International Loupe Awards are now in the final stages of judging and if you entered any images into the competition you may have already received an email with your results. If you did enter this year I wish you all the very best and hope you do well. This is the third year I have entered the Loupe Awards (formally known as the Aperture Awards) and I feel it will also be my last. There are now so many online photography competitions that I have decided next year to enter only those competitions that actually judge the final ‘printed image’ (rather than on screen jpegs). In 2013 this will include the Australian Professional Photography Awards, the Victorian Professional Photography Awards and the International Travel Photographer of the Year Award. There may well be more competitions out there that do judge the ‘print’ that I am not aware of but I am going to limit myself to just these three. My decision to abandon the remainder of the competitions is multi-fold and is something I have been pondering for some time. I have found over the last twelve months that I just do not have sufficient time to devote to these competitions in order to ensure I am conforming with the all the different rules. Secondly the cost to enter many of these competitions has become excessive and I feel that the spirit of the competition in many cases has become lost in the revenue generation machine. Thirdly, more and more of these competitions are proving nothing more than ‘rights grab’ attempts and I feel these particular competitions are muddying the waters for the legitimate ones. Finally the sheer number of photographic competitions has diluted the market and I feel somewhat devalued photography by turning it into a competitive sport. I do not view photography as a competitive sport with my peers where the aim is to out score them. I enter photographic competitions because I want to better my own photography and to continually raise the standard of my work. I am in essence competing against myself and the results I received in the last competition.
Whilst the International Loupe Awards are not a rights grab attempt they have become excessively expensive to enter in my opinion. As a result, this year I decided to enter only two images into the awards. The first photograph was from my last Antarctica expedition and the second from my summer Iceland workshop earlier this year. I chose these particular photographs as I felt they were somewhat striking and more likely to get the judges attention and stand out from the crowd. It seems I managed to split the judges with two of them scoring the image from Antarctica in the 90′s (including a 95 Platinum Award) and another at a Bronze of 77. Unfortunately the lower score did pull down the average and resulted in a solid Silver Award; which is still a result I am very pleased with. Silver in the Loupe Awards is regarded as a high quality image worthy of recognition in the competition. More importantly for me it tells me my work is consistent since I have consistently received Gold and Silver awards in three years I have been participating. I have no idea as yet what my second entry into the Loupe Awards this year has scored as I have not yet received notification via email.
My decision to abandon the International Loupe Awards next year has nothing whatsoever to do with the Silver Award this particular image scored; or indeed any score any of my work has ever received. Since I have received my share of Gold and Silver awards in the Loupe Awards I feel I have gone as far as I can with this competition and the judging of jpeg files on back lit monitors. I really do not feel like I have completed an image until I have made a print and held it in my hands and as such if I am going to have my work judged in competition my preference is for it to be on what I consider to be the ultimate output – The Print.