As someone who loves photography more than anything in the world, but is still somewhat winging it and finding my own style, competing in a competition like this was an insanely nerve wracking experience for me, and one that changed my life.
I woke up the morning of the competition after only 3 hours of sleep, a bit hung over, and made my way to Gastown. It seemed to me that Angela and Morton could sense that I was a bit of a mess, but they didn't say anything about it, just got me my competitor's lanyard and my roll of film, and told me to sit tight. So I did, next to a really nice fellow, Tagh, who had participated in previous years.
There were 60 of us. We were to be there for 12 hours, and given a new theme every hour, on the hour, at which point we had to go out and take only one picture on our roll of 12 black and white film to interpret the theme.
This is extremely intense! I am old enough that the first pictures I took were on a film camera. After high school it was an old clunker Pentax that I lugged around Europe with me. But I honestly couldn't remember the last time I had shot film, let alone only allowing myself only one opportunity to capture the moment.
There were times I decided on a shot too quickly, and times when I was a blank slate - no ideas. There was also a time when my camera seized and Morton had to put it in a black bag, roll up my film, fix the camera, and re-expose the images in the dark. That was scary!!
Overall, I'm happy with my set. Most of the photos turned out slightly dark, a few of them are not too interesting, and a couple of them flopped completely. But I think that's part of the beauty of this competition. Not only does it force you to be creative in a short period of time with limited resources, it humbles you.
Most of all, I had so much fun and met people who after bonding over the difficulties and the beauties of doing this insane competition, I feel like I have a new little family of sorts. These people feel the same way about photography as I do! They eat, sleep, and breathe photography - just like me!!
I had the opportunity to be a model for other participant's shots:
And then... a month after doing the competition... the exhibit! None of us had the opportunity to see the photos before the general public did, so when I got a text from my friend telling me I had won Best Photo I was in disbelief. I walked in and the winning images had been enlarged and there it was... one of mine! And somehow the judges had decided that it was the best. I cried a little.
My images and the rest of the particpants images can be seen here. I'll write another blog post that has all of my images in it, what I was thinking when I took them, and how I feel about how they turned out. Stay tuned!