Chris’s photograph, “The Owl’s Great Loss,” earned Photograph of the Year, Electronic Imaging, in the MDPPA Annual Photographic Competition.
Chris earned First Runner-Up for Photographer of the Year in the Illustrative Category of the Maryland PPA for 2015.
Chris earned Second Runner-Up for Photographer of the Year in the Portrait Category of the Maryland PPA for 2015.
Chris earned his MDPPA Photographic Fellow degree in February 2016 for accumulated print competition exhibition merits and service merits.
By earning scoring in the top score in the Electronic Imaging category of the MDPPA 2016 annual print competition, Chris’s entry, “The Owl’s Greatest Loss,” was placed in the Loan Collection of the MDPPA. This designation means “best of the best.”
By earning scoring in a top score in the Electronic Imaging category of the MDPPA 2016 annual print competition, Chris’s entry, “Ouse River, York,” was placed in the Loan Collection of the MDPPA. This designation means “best of the best.”
Chris’s photograph, “Snowy Steath,” earned a Best in Show, “Maryland Photograph of the Year, 2015” at this year’s Maryland Professional Photography Association awards banquet!
Chris’s photograph, “I, To, Am an American,” earned Chris his first merit ever in the portrait category at this year’s Maryland Professional Photography Association Annual Print Competition! It went on to earn a merit (meaning, of exhibition quality) in the Southeastern Photographic Competition and the International Photographic Competition.
Chris’s photograph, “Unfading Heritage,” earned Chris a merit in the illustrative category at the 2015 annual Maryland Professional Photography Association Annual Print Competition!
In the world of professional photographers, competition is a means to growth as an artist. By submitting work to competitions at the state, district, and international levels, you get feedback that helps you sharpen your eye and focus your craft. While the CPP designation honed my skills as a professional photographer, competition develops one’s artistry.
What’s unique about photographic competition is that you compete not against other photographers, but against a set of 12 criteria; and your work is juried by a trained panel of judges. Scoring is on a 100-point system, and the break point between merely “good” work and work judged worthy of exhibition and “merit” falls at 79/80. That 80 score is a huge deal, and the judges don’t give it frivolously! To understand the meaning of “merit,” think “meritorious.”
The yearly competition process includes monthly and yearly competitions in our state MDPPA; the opportunity to submit up to 4 images at the district level, where, if you merit on any images, those automatically merit at the next level — the International Photography Competition; finally, you can submit also up to 4 images to the IPC. At IPC, submissions may go through a 2-stage judging process: The first is to determine if they merit; this places successful images or prints in the General Collection. Images that have merited are then judged again to determine if they are the “best of the best”; if they are selected, they are then placed in the Loan Collection and published in a yearly book.
PPA members are awarded one “merit” for each image placed in the General Collection, and 2 merits for Loan Collection prints. These merits accumulate and count toward one’s earning the Master of Photography degree. To earn this degree, you have to amass 13 competition merits plus 12 additionl merits earned through qualified professional development, teaching, and service to the profession. It’s a great system that really does reflect experience and growth as an artist and a professional.
Ideally, as the competition judges deliberate over your work, you are present physically or virtually to listen to their scores and commentary. I take careful notes about what I need to learn. In the process you find your vision and thinking gradually changed. You come to see flaws in your work that had never entered your consciousness. Is it painful? Oh, yes; however, it is also very fulfilling as you watch your work improve and your scores climb. I’m hooked!
Earning the Master Photographer degree is one of my current goals. In 2016 I completed the requirements and will receive it at the January 2017 convention of Professional Photographers of America. It is also a goal to have all 4 of my entries merit, with is extremely hard to do. Photographers who do this earn one of 4 Photographer of the Year designations, depending on how many of those prints also earn Loan merits.