I am a serious and dedicated non-professional photographer. Most of what I do is based on photography. Recently I entered a local competition, called " In Focus. " I was fortunate to get four (above) of my six entries accepted into the show. About 400 people submitted images and only 180 or so were hung. I consider it winning each time I get an image into any show. Actually winning an award is "icing on the cake." In this case, I was happy to hear that I had won two awards for a leaf image and a frog image. A second place award in two different categories. I like to win awards because it is a verification that I am continuing to learn and grow in photography and it shows in my work. Being acknowledged for my photography work is what counts for me. I was curious, however, about why the young girl was not considered for an award as I thought the image was very well done. I asked the judge at the reception why the image was "not compelling enough for an award." His response was a bit of a surprise to me; he asked me if I had "more images like this" and said it reminded him of Grant Wood's American Gothic couple (although he could not remember the artist who created the image). I was confused and not sure how to answer him as the shot was taken from a plaza in Cuba and was not set up. I gathered that he thought I had set up the shot and perhaps I had more from that shoot. This young girl really was dressed this way and really did open a door and stand in it with her broom. Within a few minutes of photographing her a police officer shooed us away and told her to go inside. This conversation confirmed for me that judges "judge" blindly in more than one way. I think they often look at a photograph during judging and make assumptions that are not correct and then judge on the incorrect assumption. I guess I should be flattered in a way as the image he was referring to is considered famous and has risen to the statue of a "cultural icon." For me, the image is a once-in-a-lifetime image and it is now saved for eternity (or as long as I live anyway!).
I am a photographer, it is my passion, my avocation, and almost everything I do revolves around it.