Yesterday I went to Burslem School of Art for the Prize Giving at the Open For All Exhibition run by Photographers Collective North Staffordshire. I had entered three photographs and was awarded Highly Commended which entailed a certificate and a very nice box of home made sweets. That was the first prize for anything I had received since I won the Leek Schools Art Competition in 1965, with a painting of a Port Vale player scoring a goal. So I was suitably delighted.
Two of the photographs have appeared in previous blogs and a third came from November of frosty leaves (above), which someone actually wanted and many seemed to like very much. Which again I was very pleased about.
What made this ‘competition’ special was that it was limited to 6”x4” photographs (postcard size), which meant it was open not just to those who had smart cameras and the money to pay for large prints, but to all. All three of mine were taken on my Sony Experia phone and cost nothing to print as I took up a special offer. Looking at mine, the one so many liked, it really needs to be larger, and I will look into seeing the quality if enlarged to A3, the others are smaller in detail.
It was an interesting show and the format certainly brought together a wide range of experience and abilities, it also, as Tony said, made people look closely, not just walk by. Photos could be sold but I put on mine that if people wanted one then send me an e-mail with an interesting reason, only the leaves has been ‘scooped’ up.
I’m not a fan of competitions, I remember being on the selection committee for the Raymond Williams Award for Community Publishing, which had a considerable financial prize. There were around 120 books entered, three stood out for me as worthy winners and fitted the criteria. When we eventually got together, all four of us had a completely different shortlist, in fact two had chosen books which I felt didn’t even fit the criteria. Eventually we agreed on a winner, a collection from a writers’ group which none of us had shortlisted and we all felt was a compromise!
I don’t think anything like that happened in the Burslem event.
It’s an odd thing ‘winning’ or in my case being ‘placed’. I am not competitive, and yet I love watching sports which are totally competitive and desperately want to see my team win, or on TV teams I don’t like lose, it is often the only time I truly let go, certainly not when I am creating art, that just creates more stress, I do not really enjoy the process of writing or creating art, as it never comes out as I initially envisaged it, perhaps if it did I would not want to create again!