I wake each morning exhausted beyond most people’s comprehension, in pain and usually only having had around 4 hours kip. Should I have the opportunity, it would be easy to stop in bed, watch daytime tv and wallow in a vat of self pity but that would be a monumental waste of my life, and each day is far too precious.
Having said all that, it is often difficult to motivate myself to do any more than the basics of daily living and all too easy to tell myself that I’ll get my camera out when the weather’s nicer, or when I’m feeling less tired, or I’ll start my new project “tomorrow”. I admit I do often need a bit of a prod and am most motivated when under the pressure of a deadline.
Camera Club competitions, or International Salons, with an entry date are good motivators and keep me producing regular work.
In the past, I’ve also set myself the ambition of obtaining a PAGB distinction and once you have been given a date for your work to be judged you are under pressure to get your entry ship shape or risk losing your entry fee.
In the past couple of years I’ve branched outside the camera club world and entered more mainstream competitions, the biggest being the Sony World Photo Awards. These kinds of competitions are usually held around the same time each year, so you have a 12 month lead time and no excuse to avoid entering. The WPA has a deadline at the start of January – usually the first week for the Open competition which relies on one single image, and the second week for the Professional competition for those wishing to enter a series of between 5 and 10 photographs or a portolio.
I’ve entered the Creative section of the WPA Professional competition for the past 3 years and gotten absolutely nowhere. Undaunted, I’ve had another bash this year and have been working on my submission of 5 images for the past three months.
The concept started with the first image and just kind’ve grew from there. It’s on the theme of “A disabled experience” and the images are entitled: Courage, Hope, Loneliness, Tenacity & Faith. I don’t care whether they do well or if the judges like them. A little bit of myself is in each photograph, I’ve done them to the best of my ability and they tell my personal story, and IMHO that’s all you can ask of any picture.
I also entered for the first time last year the Fine Art Photography Awards and was gobsmackingly delighted to be nominated. The deadline for the 8th Edition of the FPA is 13th February and during the autumn of 2021 I began work on a 3 series entry with the theme of Blood Sports:
It’s been months of hard work just to enter these 2 competitions, but without these kinds of goals and deadlines I know I would produce vastly fewer images and would have no motivation to push my boundaries into new territory. Goal setting is vital, and even though I usually run right up to the wire and the last week before a submission date is ridiculously stressful and tiring, deadlines are vital for me to keep moving forward.