The trouble I have with art competitions

I have in the past shared with everyone here what I received when I chose to participate in a few of the major photography competitions.

I’ve always believed that these competitions are evaluated based on each individual that enters talent and creativity. I have seen some entries that made me truly envious and others that simply made me question the reasons why they were awarded and the criteria that I failed to meet.

Last year I chose not to enter any as I did not think that I produced anything different or if higher standards than I did last. However looking at thinks more objectively brings a couple of questions to mind.

If you’ve entered any of the major competitions, you will realise that one of the criteria is the file size that are able to enter. It is usually 1000px or 1200px on the long side and anything below 2MB. Does an image that size allow the judges to truly see the details and quality of the image?

I’ve never judged any competition before and I do not profess to even know enough about photography in order to remotely think that this is enough to judge based on quality. I must confess that the Honourable Mentions that I received meant a lot and still mean a lot because it was to prove to myself of my achievements and progress in my own work.

The other major category in these kind of competitions are news or documentary. Although I’ve stopped reading the news a while back, I truly enjoy this type of photography. It showcases human beings and their emotions which we can all relate to.

However, for a while now an issue has rocked the competitions with speculations of late is the staging of images. We all know that most of my images are fine art which means the further away from reality as possible. So I can get away with a lot provided that they are entered into the right category.

However, staging images in order to win competitions is quite under handed in my opinion. For me, it is not about whether the images win competitions but it’s about the photographers ethics. Is it about the title or is it simply about the money?

We all know that the field of photography is saturated but am I the only one to believe that if you have talent then it will be recognised sooner or later. I’ve always been told that patience and hard work always pays off.

I’ve started writing this article a while and stopped because I didn’t want to come across as a sore loser. But after coming across this article on Petapixel then I knew that I wasn’t the only one that was concerned about these competitions.

So I leave it to you all to formulate your opinions but the question that I’ve got for you all is this.

Are these competitions worth it?

If yes, why?

Have you entered any if yes, then what was your reason?

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