My (Sad) Photo Contest History – 2

When we left off, I had just won 1st Place in Black and White and 3rd Place in Color at the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest, but had been completely rejected by the Iowa State Fair for the 4th year in a row.

Whatever I was selling, the judges were not buying. I was despondent, but not discouraged because I knew I had entered some great photos, but they were not what the judges were looking for that year.

2011 comes around. I decided to retire from the Boone County Fair Photo Contest and to start a new way of picking pictures for the Pufferbilly Days. I also had what was probably the peak of my photo contest career at the Iowa State Fair. I got all 4 pictures exhibited. This is extremely hard to do. Thousands of people enter the contest every year. Only 5 of us got all 4 pictures exhibited. You can do the math. It is a big deal.

These are the pictures that were exhibited:


2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - I Recommend Pleasant

2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon
2nd Place Class 25

2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Must Be Truth

2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Drenched in Loneliness
Honorable Mention Class 13

For the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest it was the second year of letting other people select my entrants. Dawn, Derrick, Jen, Scott, Russell, and Rebecca chose my entries. Dawn’s choice got 2nd Place in Black and White:


2011 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Radiant Beams
2nd Place – Black and White

I was pretty excited for 2012. I thought I had cracked the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon Code, but there is no code. Some years the judge like you. Some years they don’t. In 2012, they like one of my pictures:


2012 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Truth Perception

That year, I decided to retire from the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest.

Then shortly after that, I decided to retire from Photo Contests altogether.

But in 2017, the itch came back. I decided to put on a Washington Wizards Jersey and come out of retirement. Hard. I decided to enter all 3 contests again. I got all Blue Ribbons at the Boone County Fair:


2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

I got one picture selected for display at the Iowa State Fair:


2017 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Little Apple

I had the following people select my entries for the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest: Jim Robbins (yeah that is a long story), Micky, Michelle, Amber, Laura, and Dawn. However, none of the pictures earned a ribbon.

In 2018, my Boone County Fair entries were determined by popular vote:


2018 Boone County Fair
Red

2018 Boone County Fair
Purple

2018 Boone County Fair
Blue

2018 Boone County Fair
Blue

2018 Boone County Fair
Blue

I had two pictures selected for display at the Iowa State Fair:


2018 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Peep

2018 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Christmas Eve Morn

My Pufferbilly Days entries were also selected by popular vote that year:


2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - INRI
1st Place Photoshop

2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Freedom Flight
1st Place Photojournalism

2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Abandoned (Mill Creek)
3rd Place Hidden Treasures of Boone County

2019 would also be a successful year. I moved to having individuals select my Boone County Fair entrants. Shannon, Michelle, and Logan selected my entries.


2019 Boone County Fair
Purple

2019 Boone County Fair
Blue

2019 Boone County Fair
Red

2019 Boone County Fair
Blue

2019 Boone County Fair
Purple

I had one picture selected for exhibition at the Iowa State Fair and it earned a ribbon:


2019 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon Entry - Green Little Vaulter
Honorable Mention Class 18

My Pufferbilly Day entries were once again selected by popular vote:


2019 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Hocks
1st Place Nature

2019 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Drops
1st Place Photoshop

In 2020 the pandemic hit and all photo contests were cancelled. Which was sad and I think it was avoidable because in a digital age, I think they could have found a way. For example the Iowa State Fair still held its Fine Arts competition.

Which brings us to 2021. I’m currently working on my next embarrassing failure at the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. However, I am not going to enter the Boone County Fair this year. There is a reason for this decision. A very good reason. However, I’m not going to share the reason until it becomes official or it falls through. Things seem to fall through quite often these days. No decision has been made on Pufferbilly Days yet, but Pufferbilly Days has been moved to early August this year. I’m not crazy about the decision, but I’ll give it a chance.

If you want to peruse all 153 Photo Contest entrants in this long weird journey, click on the link below:

Photo Contests

You can see them all from the out of focus to the award winners. The good, the bad, and the moldy jam equivalent.

4 thoughts on “My (Sad) Photo Contest History – 2”

  1. These are all fantastic – as usual. It’s fascinating to see your growth and change as an artist.

  2. What I’m hearing is I need to get back into more Godzilla pictures. Gotcha!

  3. What size prints do you typically submit? I’m afraid 8×10 would make my prints grainy, but 5×7 seems too small. Thoughts?

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