Tag Archives: competitive photography

International iPhone Photography Awards

I learned yesterday that I had won another accolade for my Copenhagen image. The image received third place in the People Category in the International iPhone Photography Awards for 2015.

Apple image

3rd Place in the People Category of the International iPhone Photography Awards

I was also very pleased to see that these two images won honourable mentions in the Other Category of the competition. A very big congratulations to the winner Michal and all the other photographers who won categories and received honourable mentions.

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An Honourable Mention in the Other Category of the International iPhone Photography Awards

An Honourable Mention in the Other Category of the International iPhone Photography Awards


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Mobile Photography Awards

Last Wednesday, the results from the Mobile Photography Awards (MPAs) were announced. This was my second time entering the competition. Last year, I did not place. This year, I got two honourable mentions for the photographs below. This is a competition I really like. It is exceptionally well-organised and there is so much quality in the winning images and those which received honourable mentions. Mobile photography is innovative and has real momentum. There is a thriving mobile photography community and some extraordinary people driving it forward with passion. Daniel K. Berman, the founder of the Mobile Photography Awards, is one of these people. The MPAs, I believe are helping photographers to emerge and to gain recognition. And also, the competition is inspiring photographers to learn, to experiment, to innovate and to have fun.

Photography is a hobby for me. I remember reading something from Eric Kim (I tried to find the quote, but couldn’t) where he said that as a hobby photographers bring more passion to it than professionals whose income depends on it. Eric Kim talks a lot of sense and his Street Photography blog is, for me, one of the very best blogs on the net. I have learnt so much there.

And you know, he is right. As a hobby, it is about fun. And a lot of fun involves competition. By nature, we are competitive. We contrast what we can do and how we do it with the things others do and their methods on a constant basis. Photography is a fine example of this. I have learnt more from the photography of others than from my own photographic practice. Viewing and studying the images of others’ feeds and informs my evolution in what I want to see and how I want to see and present it. This learning can be considered a derivative  of competition. When I see and admire photographs, I want to be able to shoot like that, but I want to put my own stamp on it. I aspire to get to the level of expression these photographers have. It motivates and inspires me. It gets me competing if you want, and the process of imitate, assimilate and innovate begins. 

I do not agree with those who are against competition in life; those who say it is not good to foster a competitive spirit in children. I don’t agree. We need to learn to compete, to learn to win and more importantly to learn how to lose. Along the way, we can discover the fun, the enjoyment, the satisfaction that comes from pushing ourselves, from wanting to realise potential.

I have entered a few photography competitions now, about 5 in total. In hindsight, the hardest part is selecting the images to enter. I have learnt that it is best to trust my instinct on this. A hard thing to do. In submitting images, I find I am trying to second guess the judges and I try to enter images that I hope they would like. Then when the results are revealed and I learn I did not win, I tend to feel guilty and regret putting in images that I connected with.

And there is the thing. If you enter a competition, you want to win. You want all others to come after you. There is no other motivation. When you don’t win, you can feel despondent. You examine your work. You hold it up to that of the winners. You cast an overly-critical eye on it and wonder where the hell you are going in your photographic journey. But, this feeling passes. And it passes because the endeavour, the hobby, the passion you have for it cannot be diminished by the choices of a judge or judges. No, the passion, the desire to show what you see and to show how you see it surfaces and you get out and you shoot again. And you enjoy it. You get back to looking at others’ photos and they inspire you and the whole things kicks off again. You want to learn. You want to sharpen and sensitise that eye to see better. And you begin to dream that next time will be your time. You’ll win.

What a hobby photography is. What a community has sprung up in the past decade. Am I right to think that before photography might have been an often- lonely and solitary pursuit? Now, with all the social media sites for photography, there is a vibrant community sharing and learning.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this.



A new week

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Competitive photography

I was very pleased to learn on Saturday that three of my photos have been chosen for the shortlist of the Irish Times Amateur Photographer of the Year 2013. This is the second time (last year’s photo) I have been shortlisted and naturally I would love to win it, but looking at the quality of the other shortlisted entries it is easy to easy to see that this may prove to be difficult. The shortlist consists of 280 images for the seven categories of Monochrome, Portrait, Travel, Open, Nature, Street and Colour. I have two images in the Travel section and one in the Open one. Entries came from all over the world, with a young girl, Felicia Simion, a young Romanian girl, achieving the highest number, with a total of eight of her images being chosen.

Entering competitions is a nerve-wracking ordeal. First you have to select and deselect your best images for each category. This took me ages. I hemmed and hawed over which ones to choose, ending up choosing the ones which I felt would meet the descriptions of the categories best and also have the most appeal to the judging panel. In hindsight, and with the advantage of looking at the shortlist, I see that perhaps I should have gone with the images I liked best myself. I should have trusted more in my own gut instinct. In saying that, I do like the images they selected a lot, but if I was entering again I would choose some different images in some categories.

But that’s thing, competition is not what photography is about. I love taking photographs. I love looking at the images of friends on Flickr and I love looking at the work of established photographers. But I would find it hard to put photographs together and say which is better and why. Sure, I can say which I prefer, which ones I can connect with. But that is only one person’s opinion,  my opinion, my interpretation. And that may differ tomorrow and may change just by looking at another photograph. I can only begin to imagine what it must be like to shift through all the submitted images that a competition like this gets. I am sure that there were hundreds of other photographs every bit as technically good, as appealing as those shortlisted.

So, why did I enter? Because I want to see how my photography stands next to that of others. I am not a professional, nor even a semi-professional photographer. I have had no training. I still struggle to fully command the mechanics of my camera. I still make lots of mistakes and I love it. It is a great process of learning and I guess entering competitions and being shortlisted is another step in that process.

Anyway, I am very pleased and proud to have been shortlisted. Knowing that it makes my family proud and happy is the best thing though.

Here are the three images. For larger size, click on image.

the unbeckoned

The Unbeckoned


This one I was pleased was chosen as it is the style of photography I am most interested in. It was selected in the Open category. You can see more of these type of images here.


Shibuya Scramble Crossing

This is shortlisted in the Travel Category. The famous Shibuya Scramble Crossing in Tokyo.

Into the Hong Kong night

Into the Hong Kong night

This is another shortlisted photograph in the Travel Category. Taken in Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong.

Wish me luck!

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