My (Sad) Photo Contest History – 1

Recently I’ve been working on an organizational project as I prepare to get rid of a bunch of things in Boone’s annual Citywide Cleanup in a couple of weeks. Part of this has been organizing every (almost) picture that I have entered in a photo contest, both physically in a trunk and digitally in my website photo gallery.


Photo Contest Entries
150 or so Photo Entries

Almost every photo I’ve ever entered in in that trunk. Except for a few that I gave away. I thought I would share some of the highs and lows of my photo contest career. To start with, I have only entered 4 photo contests ever:

+ Iowa State Fair Photography Salon
+ Boone County Fair
+ Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest
+ Ogden Fun Days Photo Contest (this contest only existed one year – 2005)

I’ve entered 153 pictures in these 4 photo contests.

I’ve entered pictures of the following people in these photo contests:

+ Olivia
+ Jay
+ Willy
+ Humble Narrator
+ Derrick
+ Rebecca
+ Shannon
+ Alexis
+ Wedding Couple I don’t remember
+ Jill
+ Saydie
+ Kayelee
+ Jesse
+ Shorty
+ Mike Toot
+ Freedom Flight Participants

Plus I have entered pictures of both Karma and Naima.

My very first photo contest was the 2002 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. It was before they had standardized that pictures had to be matted on 11×14 foamboard. It was long enough ago that one of the pictures I entered was printed from a slide. I entered it because it was somewhat of a legacy contest. My Dad won a category in 1984.

At the time I didn’t realize what a tough contest it was and how hard it was to get even a single picture in. It was dumb luck (which in many ways all photo contests are luck because who knows what the judge likes) that I got one picture accepted for exhibition:


2002 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Odanata the Snake Doctor
Odanata the Snake Doctor

In some ways, this is maybe the most important photo contest entry I ever made. It is possible that 2002 me would have been so distraught that I might not have even entered another photo contest, ever.

This is the picture I entered that was printed from a slide:


2002 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Quietus
Quietus

I still kinda dig this picture. My other 2 entries weren’t even really in focus.

Then I didn’t enter another contest until the 2004 Boone County Fair, where this picture of Karma got a blue ribbon:


2004 Boone County Fair - Karma
Happy Karma

I did enter the Iowa State Fair, but didn’t get any pictures exhibited. But in the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest, I got two Honorable Mentions in the Black and White Division:


2004 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Light Train by J.C. Janson
Light Train by J.C. Janson

2004 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Shapes
Shapes

Then 2005 came and I “cleaned up” at the Ogden Fun Days Photo Contest:


2005 Ogden Fun Days Photo Contest - Earth's Laughter
Honorable Mention Color (This picture is now the favicon for this website)

2005 Ogden Fun Days Photo Contest - Giotto's Bull
3rd Place Black and White

2005 Ogden Fun Days Photo Contest - Chestnut Street
2nd Place Color

2005 Ogden Fun Days Photo Contest - Happy Karma
Best in Show and 1st Place Black and White

But my triumph was very short lived. Immediately afterwards, I had my biggest failures ever. I entered two pictures in the Boone County Fair Photography Contest and got no ribbons. This is hard to do. EVERYTHING at the Boone County Fair gets a ribbon. Well everything except me and a jar of moldy jam. My photography was the culinary equivalent of moldy jam.


2005 Boone County Fair Photography Contest - Black, White, and Marigold
The equivalent of moldy jam.

2005 Boone County Fair Photography Contest - Eye of the Beast
The equivalent of moldy jam.

I did rebound to get one picture in at the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon and that picture did get an Honorable Mention:


2005 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Colgate Smile
Honorable Mention

But that was bittersweet. It was my first ribbon at the Iowa State Fair, but it was a picture that I had already won a photo contest with, so that was the seeds of my rule of never entering a picture in more than one photo contest.

Also, this picture is still one of my all-time favorites and it has never gotten any love from a photo contest:


2005 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - My Giverny
My Giverny

I get why, but I don’t like it.

Then in 2006, I tried my luck at the Boone County Fair and this time, I got 2 Blue Ribbons, take that moldy jam!


2006 Boone County Fair - Internal Struggle
Blue Ribbon

2006 Boone County Fair - Scene from a Ditch
Blue Ribbon

I would also get 2 pictures exhibited at the Iowa State Fair:


2006 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Kentucky Appetizer
Kentucky Appetizer

2006 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Portrait of Self Portrait
Portrait of Self-Portrait

I would also have a good run at Pufferbilly Days:


2006 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Building 429
3rd Place Black and White

2006 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Grizzly McAlpine
1st Place Black and White

2006 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Outburst of the Soul
Honorable Mention Color

2007 wasn’t a great year for me and Photo Contests. I got shutout at the Iowa State Fair. I didn’t enter the Boone County Fair. I did enter Pufferbilly Days and believe a picture of a train wheel got a ribbon, but I’m struggling to find the documentation for that


2007 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Wheel

2008 also wasn’t a great year. I did get a couple blue ribbons at the Boone County Fair:


2008 Boone County Fair Photo Contest

2008 Boone County Fair Photo Contest

But once again I got shut out at the Iowa State Fair. But I did rebound to get a ribbon at Pufferbilly Days:


2008 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - The Last Refuge
3rd Place Black and White

2009 was also not a stellar year. I did get 2 ribbons at the Boone County Fair:


2009 Boone County Fair Photo Contest
Blue Ribbon

2009 Boone County Fair Photo Contest
Purple Ribbon

But got no other love at any other photo contest.

2010, I once again got two Blue Ribbons at the Boone County Fair:


2010 Boone County Fair -The Best Place to Seek God
Blue Ribbon

2010 Boone County Fair - The Girl in the Blue Skirt Alternate
Blue Ribbon

But once again, I was shut out at the Iowa State Fair. If you are counting, that is four straight years. The Iowa State Fair really hated me.

However, Pufferbilly Days started to show some love:


2010 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Open Mic Night
3rd Place Color

2010 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Black and White
1st Place Black and White

Then 2011 happened. But we’ll get into that story in the conclusion of My (Sad) Photo Contest History.

5 thoughts on “My (Sad) Photo Contest History – 1”

  1. I love My Giverny! I have a photo taken at f/1.8 sort of like that, it almost looks like abstract (similar to yours). I also seem to be alone in loving it.

  2. One good thing about My Giverny is that I am not alone in loving it, exactly. A friend of mine wrote a song about it while they were in college. An instrumental. Which, I believe is the only picture I’ve ever taken that has a corresponding sing.

    You’ll have to show that picture some day.

    Also, it is supposed to be impressionistic, rather than abstract, but that is probably a minor point.

  3. That’s lovely. I hope you have a recording of the song; that would be wonderful.

    Ah, sorry – I had this up on my phone at T-ball, so I couldn’t look for any pointillism or small components of anything very effectively. Not that you asked to see mine or anything, but I’ll tweet them at you and you can decide if you want to look. I had mostly meant “abstract” in that your really shallow depth of field with something the brain knows already to be small makes it seem dreamlike. If that makes sense.

  4. Thanks for sharing this collection – every one of them was like a wave from an old friend!

  5. Thanks Jen!

    Hopefully today’s continuation is like a wave from new friends.

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