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CHIPSTIX.... (or comfort eating after an awards evening)

Saturday 6th February 2021 - The Guild of Photographers Awards Evening.

At the begining of 2020 I set myself one photography goal, which was probably quite handy considering the year to come, to earn a Gold award with The Guild of Photographers.

Well the year was a topsy turvy one, not only did we fall to Covid and the resulting restrictions, but we moved house and studio as well.

We only managed a couple of shoots in the new Ranch Studio before the November lockdown was upon us, but The Poodle Shoot earned me a gold award for Magic in her Chair, and the last shot I took off Dottie in the Hayloft also gained a gold.

As the year progressed entries into the monthly competition became harder and harder to find, but I managed to see the year out.

December bought news I truly wasn't expecting :

nomination for Image of the Year finalist 2020 in the pets catergory.

And then it was the wait until February for the results.

I held my own council, didn't post that I had mad the top 10 and just ran under the radar with the news - It's something that I do, keep myself to myself until I know a result and then either share or not, depending on the outcome.

A zoom room with the Ladies that Lunch with Lenses club was arranged and we all duly arrived.

So the results part of the evening got under way. Our region, Yorkshire and Humber, were runners up in the regional competition. Something that had initially been organised as a bit of fun to keep us occupied had very quickly turned into quite a serious competition, and it was amazing to make the finals. This really was a case of getting to know your neighbours and forming friendships that will last beyond the competition. We are all really excited for the end of lockdown when we will eventually be able to meet up for tea and cake (or maybe something a little stronger).

The results of the Photographers Bar were next - an award issued to those who consistently entered images of a certain quality gaining a total of 24+ points over an eight month period.

Three of our group achieved the bar this year, including myself.

Next onto the main awards, The Pet Photography category arrived and sadly this year I didn't gain either a runner up or winner spot.


Which leaves me with Chipstix and Wine Gums. My go-to comfort foods for any emergency.

I was quite alarmed that up until December the annual awards didn't feature in my thoughts at all. I have watched all the hype of the previous 3 years and cheered and clapped as accolades were passed out. But suddenly, my name came up on the screen, not once but 3 times. And yes I did earn the bar, but really and honestly by February that wasn't what I wanted.

In the face of failure, and I will call it that, we are supposed to smile, offer congratulations, puff up and say "it's all about the taking part" as the condolences flood in. But let us be honest, we are all "in it to win it" , we all want our name to be called as the winner and when it isn't ............ , what you most definitely DO NOT do is blog about it , or do we ?

Over 16,000 entries were submitted over 10 months. 170 of those went through to the finals. That's just 1%. Not bad really to have 2 images in the top 1 percent and two in for one category. Does it stop the churning tummy, or the wish to put the camera in a box and never get it out again, or the wondering what you need to do to make it over the next hurdle, because there is bound to be another hurdle after that one, and then another, and really, can I be bothered ?

An after awards night hang over.

Could I put my camera down ? No.

Do I love what I do ? Totally, Absolutely, Completely

We all have room for improvement, even those at the very top of their game, we all strive to become a better photographer, a better person - to be able to accept a set back or a critique and carry on. To prove to ourselves and our peers that we have what it takes to get over that hurdle and the next one and the one after that, and to keep on keeping on.

But we must allow ourselves to feel disappointed, because it is the disappointment that shows we care, that fuels the desire and drives us forward.

What I also know is that as a photographer of a specific genre, I will stay true to my work, to my "style", true to what I love taking pictures of and how I want to take and present what I see, at the end of the day photography is and addiction, and I'm not looking for a cure.

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Congratulations Caro. You should be immensely proud of yourself. I can totally understand feeling disappointment but failure, absolutely not. You strive to be the best photographer you can and your achievements are amazing. I look at your beautiful work and it is unique and “you”. That is what sets great photographers apart from those that follow the crowd. You never fail to inspire me and if I can learn from that and become a better photographer then you have achieved much more than you realise. I’m so proud of you and added bonuses of being my mentor and friend.

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