This past week photographers around the world were glued to their computers watching the 2019 International Photographic Competition. Otherwise known as the IPC, the International Photographic Competition is sponsored by the Professional Photographers of America. To those of us in the business, IPC is the Olympics of photography competitions.
Photographers may enter up to four entries in each of two categories, Photographic Open or Master Artist. For the Photographic Open, images are judged on the 12 Elements of a Merit Image, which include things like impact, technical excellence, creativity and story telling. Images in the Master Artist category are also judged on the 12 elements, but additional emphasis is placed on the quality of the artwork done in the production of the final image. Images are awarded scores based on these judging criteria. An image earning a score of 80 or higher receives a “Merit” award and is accepted into the General Collection. Images that score higher than 85 are then judged for the prestigious Loan Collection, which will be published later in the year.
This year I entered four images in the Photographic Open competition. I was thrilled to have all four images earn merit awards. I was even more excited that one of my images was accepted into the Loan Collection, which meant I ended the competition with a Silver Medal. With this years results, I also earned enough merits for my Master of Photography degree. Next year I plan to enter the Master Artist Category and start working on my Master Artist degree.
But more important than the awards are the benefits I have gotten from entering competition. Competing has pushed me to grow as an artist. It has inspired me to try new things, expand my creativity and pay even greater attention to the technical details of my work. It has also helped me to become part of a greater community of artists who push each other to learn and grow. I am so grateful to PPA and to the many friends I have made who continue to help me become a better photographer. I think the most fun part of IPC for me this year was being part of a number of “watch groups” where friends watched for each other’s images to be judged , cheered each other on and celebrated each others successes.
Competitions can be nerve-wracking. As an artist you feel like you are putting your heart and soul out there to be judged by others. To all of the photographers who entered, whether or not you earned the scores you desired, I congratulate you on working hard to grow and daring to put yourself out there to be judged! To everyone who helped me this year, a huge Thank You!
Above is my Loan image and below are the three images that earned merit awards in the 2019 International Photographic Competition. The loan image was created for a client. The second was an image I took for the Fairfax County Animal Shelter’s 2020 Calendar. The third image is of a sandhill crane that I took on the golf course in Florida. The fourth is a baby crocodile that I photographed while on safari in South Africa last year.