… YUP! That’s me! Runner-up 2011 ACT AIPP Epson Emerging Photographer of the Year!!
It’s been an incredible year for me, to say the least. I have met and been surrounded by so many positive, creative, inspiring and just really really wonderful people. Like, really lovely people. And I just feel so darned lucky. I can’t help but think back to one year ago at my very first AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography) Print Awards last March. I entered four prints; I walked away with nothing. I was devastated and crushed, and felt incredibly vulnerable. I rang up He-Pobke to tell him the disappointing news, but he wouldn’t have any of it: “Chris, be proud that you entered. It took guts to go there. And think about everything you’ve learned this time around.” It was hard to see the bright side of everything… but looking back on that short 12 months ago, I know now why I had to experience that. So that I would work hard, shoot creatively, be passionate, and try again.
So I did, with much reservation.
I didn’t attend this year, mostly because I was traveling around interstate, but partially because I remembered how painful it was last year. Instead, I photographed a wedding on the Sunday (Day 1 of judging!) and worked on Monday (Day 2 of judging). And I also drained my iPhone battery out within the first three hours from all the SMS messages I was sending to everyone who was there watching. “Did you see any?” “Hello, are you there?” “Is anyone out there?” It was even more nerve-wracking than being there in person. Hour after hour, no texts. No responses. “Surely I must’ve bombed,” I thought to myself. “Oh well. It’s just not meant to be again.” And then the texts starting coming in: “Silver with Distinction!” “Silver!” “Holy crap they’re pushing for a gold!” and on and on it went. (My heart is palpitating just reliving all of this.) It was a very proud moment for me.
I do want to say one thing about awards though: it is both an affirming (if you win) or devastating (if you lose) process. It’s a double-edged sword. For me, success is not about awards (even though I was jumping up and down by myself in my office like a maniac). It really and truly isn’t. Success for ME is about progress. Did I take more risks? Did I think about each and every shot more? Did I think about perfecting my craft? Did I attempt to cultivate more genuine + heartfelt relationships with my clients? And awards or no awards, I know that in the past 12 months, I can honestly answer an emphatic YES to each of these challenges. So while I’m ecstatic (and humbled) to be recognised through these awards, ultimately, I am most proud of the journey I’ve made as a photographer over this past year.
And to those who have asked, my award-winning prints are as follows (in no particular order)… (Any thoughts as to which two scored the highest?) :)