Landscape Gold Award Winning Photograph | The Societies Competition
The end of September saw hundreds of professional photographers from around the globe uploading their images to The Societies competition, which is managed in monthly rounds. There are a number of genres ranging from portraiture to wedding photography, macro to sport and travel, and beyond. I don’t always get the chance to enter but September’s round is the fifth round I’ve taken part in this year, and I was bowled over to win my 5th Gold Medal of 2015. Although I’m a portrait photographer I believe that exploring different genres can be very valuable in helping to expand your creativity. Plus it’s fun, and it helps you to avoid becoming jaded.
The Landscape wing of the competition is very popular as you can imagine, and I don’t enter it very often. I’m not a traditional landscape photographer and my photographs will always follow my own pared-back style rather than mimicking that of others. This is something I try to instil in my students and any other photographer I may be mentoring or advising. I feel we should aim to work intuitively and instinctively according to our own creative point of view , rather than attempting to copy whatever we might perceive to be a winning formula. This is another problem with competitions – whilst some photographers swear by second guessing the prevailing style which is favoured by the judges, I’m not convinced that’s the best way forward. Does that mean that your image is entirely of your own making?
With regard to my pet and animal photography as I began to win competitions and distinctions I saw so many photographers blatantly copying what I was doing, from the lighting to the animals and the poses. This happens in pretty much every area of the photography and art world, it’s par for the course. But when a direct and obvious copy of something you’ve made it entered into a competition (as opposed to something which you have ‘inspired’) and wins a prize, it can be a little galling. This is one good reason for constantly moving forward and exploring different challenges and evolving your own style. This doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel, it just means listening to what is in your head and interpreting that in your photographs.
The image below was taken on a local beach during an outing with one of my students who was visiting from London. You don’t need to be anywhere fancy to explore the landscape and all that it offers, simple as that landscape may be at times.