I live in rural Canada. We don’t have five star hotels, fine dining restaurants with real china, cloth napkins and fancily dressed waiters, there is no such thing as a Lexus or Mercedes dealer out here, and I certainly could not buy fine china or silk clothing in my town. Why is that I ask? I do not believe it is because the people out here would not like those kinds of things if they were available, as I know many people who travel long distances to purchase the right brand of makeup, soap or cereal. Could it be because we don’t demand those things out here in rural Alberta? Is the attitude “it’s good enough” OK just because of where we live?
It’s not the attitude I choose to adopt. I can pretend I am in a bubble and that my photography is good enough for my clients here. But I haven’t ever been stopped by that. Why can’t my clients have the equivalent of fine dining on royal china? It doesn’t matter to me that we are in a rural area, I want to have my work stand up to a national standard as it forces me to be better than I was yesterday. It can be completely intimidating putting my work out on a professional basis to a panel of master photographers who come from bustling urban centers. I don’t want them to see me as a country bumpkin, I want them to see me as a colleague. I work hard to maintain this standard for my studio and I am very proud that I am able to do this on a regular basis.
While attending the PPOC’s national convention in Banff, I was able to watch my studio portrait accreditation portfolio of ten images be judged in a room full of judges and onlookers. While I have to say, I always do let out a breath of relief when no one bursts out laughing at my images, I do feel great pride in hearing “portfolio accepted”. An accreditation is a professional review of a ten image portfolio by a panel of master photographers. It takes place at the national level and in my case, the judges deemed that my studio work stood up to this high standard of judging.
I will continue to push myself technically and artistically as it gives me an opportunity to provide a high quality product to my clients. It doesn’t matter that we live in a town of 500 people, we still deserve to experience five stars too!
A few images from my accepted “Studio Portraiture” accreditation submission: