In case you didn’t catch it, I have a bit of competitive spirit in me. I used to race and I loved the feeling of pushing myself to go farther and faster. It was never the thrill of winning that pushed me forward in a race, it was the thrill of pushing myself to do more than I did the last time. I could have come in last place and been elated if my time was better than it was the last time. In one of my last competitions, I was racing in the Alberta Winter Games in the relay. My teammates did not have a good race that day and I headed out on the course with most of the teams already finished. By the time I went out, a blizzard had kicked up and it was really discouraging but I pushed myself to do better than I had the last time on the course and I did. I crossed the finish line in absolute last place of the day, but my time on my leg was faster than I had ever done that distance before. I crossed the line and fell to the ground exhausted and hurting but so happy – I remember vividly the applause from my competitors, coaches, teammates and the spectators. It never mattered to me that we came in last place, it mattered to me that I pushed on, did the best that I could do and managed to improve what I did before!
This same spirit is still in me, only now it exists for me the form of print competition. This is how I push myself to learn, challenge myself and grow – if I didn’t do these things I could see myself becoming bored easily! I could do the same portrait pose, over and over again but I don’t want my images to have the same feeling in them over and over again. Each and every client is a different person with different likes/interests and I challenge myself in every session to do something different, something unique and personal to them. I never set up a session specifically for print competition, I only pull my images from existing clients or personal work because this keeps me on my toes. If I photograph every session as if I was going for national print competition, then I know that I will push myself creatively and keep my vision fresh. When I do this, I finish stronger than I did the last time.
The Professional Photographer’s of Canada recently held their national print competition. I submitted four images and all four images were accepted into the national print salon! This is my personal best result in national print competition and I know it will push me to work harder for next year’s competition. There were 244 entries and only 32 had all four entries accepted into the salon! With the images that are accepted into print competition, I also earn merits that count towards my master’s degree. It has been a goal for me ever since I left Hallmark to pursue my master’s degree and with this result, I am now so close to earning my master’s! It has seemed like a distant goal, something that would take forever to reach but with a lot of determination it has just become a goal I hope to achieve within the next year!
I am glad that I was able to race competitively when I was in high school. I learned so much about pushing myself and reaching for more, it’s something I don’t plan on ever giving up because the moment I do, that’s the moment I stop learning and growing.
My successful entries:
“At Day’s End”