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The 'infamous' tree photographed on Easter Island many years ago by Peter Eastway.

Some photographers enter competitions without much success and then give them away. They say the judges don’t know what they’re talking about or don’t understand them – and that could be true. However, I remember one of my early ‘misses’ which started on Easter Island.

One evening I found a wonderful gnarled tree sitting atop a low cairn of rounded rocks with a beautiful sky behind. Back home, I had a custom print produced and I was in awe of what I had created.

I entered the photograph into APPA and sat in the judging room, waiting for it to come up. When it did, the judges gave it a quick score of 74 (well below the Silver I had hoped for) and one of the judges said it was ‘just a nice little travel snap’.

I couldn’t believe what had happened. I was disappointed in capitals. Why couldn’t the judges see what I saw?

Five years later, I’m cleaning out my studio. I find a bunch of old print entries and start throwing them on the rubbish pile – when I grab back my Easter Island print and look at it with fresh eyes. My view has completely changed and I actually think the judges were overly generous.

I might not have earned silver that year, but in the continuing process of entering competitions, it was a great lesson.

Maybe you weren’t successful in previous competitions, but if you look back at your work, do you now agree with the judges? We won’t always, but one or more set-backs in our competition careers are to be expected – and they can actually help us improve in the long run.

Perhaps it's time to give competitions another go?

Entries into the 2018 Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards close on 31 October 2018, so there's still time to enter - and who knows, you could be part of the $17,000 prize pool too! For more details, visit now!

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