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:
2nd Place Class 25
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:
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:
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:
I got one picture selected for display at the Iowa State Fair:
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:
I had two pictures selected for display at the Iowa State Fair:
My Pufferbilly Days entries were also selected by popular vote that year:
1st Place Photoshop
1st Place Photojournalism
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.
I had one picture selected for exhibition at the Iowa State Fair and it earned a ribbon:
Honorable Mention Class 18
My Pufferbilly Day entries were once again selected by popular vote:
1st Place Nature
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:
You can see them all from the out of focus to the award winners. The good, the bad, and the moldy jam equivalent.