Here are the 4 images I submitted for competition this year. They have had long way to travel, beginning in the state of KY back in January. From there they made their way to the Southeast District Competition in April. Then they got shipped to Nationals in Atlanta, where International Print Competition is held every year. Look at the images and then I will explain how and why I shot them below. They are titled, “First Shave”, “Alice in Wonderland”, “Dr. Jeckyl”, and “A Sweet Soul”.
So, the big question is . . . What makes an image IPC worthy? I mean I take tons of great pictures, right? Don’t answer. It was a rhetorical question! All the images submitted get judged on 12 elements. Impact, Lighting, Print Presentation, technique, style, creativity, originality, bla bla bla.
The first image is of my son, Zane. He’s 12 years old and has dreams of having body hair. Armpit hair, leg hair, facial hair . . . you get the picrture. I was inspired by an old Norman Rockwell painting in the barber shop and decided we could put a modern spin on it. I have to say we had a blast. I shot the image in the studio with a big soft box on my left and 2 kicker lights in the back. I think the judges liked his expression more than anything! It’s like I tell my little speech and drama kids, “It’s all in the eyebrows.”
Next, I wanted to try a “levitation” shoot where I convince the audience the subject was really in the air. There are about 10 images in this final print. If you look closely you can see my beautiful subject, Myra Jo Davis, in some of the background. Elements from Alice in Wonderland are also seen throughout the image. The Queen of Hearts is between her toes. The tea cup in her hand and timepiece around her neck. The biggest artistic challenge was cutting her out AND trying to make her dress see through. The judges picked up on all this digital artwork and rewarded me for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was so happy. Sometimes I wish we got extra points for degree of difficulty.
“Dr. Jeckyl” was a hilarious and fun shoot for me and Dr. Dawson. He came to my studio just so I could shoot some images for competition. Again, I could tell he had great facial expressions and we ran with the idea of a “mad scientist” type shoot. We threw some fresh sausage and ketchup into the mix and, voila . . . some fake blood began to look real. There are about 20 of images that could have made it to competition, but we are only aloud to enter each subject once. If you look closely on a big monitor, you will see 2 other images in the background I added to show him becoming more, MAD. (Insert Vincent Price laughter here! HAAAAAAAHAAAHHHAAAAAA)
The last image, “A Sweet Soul” was actually from a session shoot. Although with every session, I to create images that use the 12 elements listed above, rarely does it all work out with a child so young. It’s hard to pose 2, 3 and 4 year olds, but Tamaya Lindon just looked right into my camera. And, she had no hair bow, tears, crazy patterned clothing, or any other distracting elements. Simple is always best for children for competition purposes.
On average, I shoot 50,000 images a year, so trying to decide what is worthy becomes the most difficult part. Sometimes, I can look at the back of my camera and just know I have created something magical, only to pull it up in photoshop and it be out of focus!! Or, I have taken a “not so interesting” image alone, and pulled it up into photoshop and created magic. Either way, competition keeps me on my toes, helps me become a better photographer, and makes an otherwise boring winter, not so boring.
Thanks for reading my “behind the scenes” story and for celebrating my incredible accomplishments with me.