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General Blog

Is Simple Too Simple?

Early morning in the Phobjikha Valley, Bhutan.

The Canon AIPP Australian Professional Photography Awards(APPA) are coming up soon and, as usual, I'm struggling to work out what to enter.

Over the years, I've realised that entering competitions becomes a game. I've won lots of acceptances and silver awards, so I am pretty comfortable that I can take a half decent photo from time to time. Now the challenge is, can I show the judges something they like as much as I do?

The four photos that leave my studio for APPA, packaged in a weathered print case, are four gold awards in my mind. I imagine all the other entrants are thinking the same about their entries.

And I imagine there are a lot of photographers who are disappointed when their prints come back with scores lower than gold, and severely disappointed when one or two are lower than silver! It's not that the photos aren't any good (I tell myself), just that the judges didn't appreciate my brilliance on the day. The challenge when picking your photographs, I think, is to distance yourself from them and imagine how a judge will react to them. For instance, for me, the photo above brings back wonderful memories of an early morning in Bhutan, but I don't believe it is strong enough for a gold award. So, does that mean I'm not happy with the photograph? Definitely not. I love it, but it's not going to take centre stage in the context of a photo competition. In isolation, it's 'lovely', but when placed against hundreds of other images, it doesn't have the immediate impact needed to impress the judges. At least, that's what I think.

For a book, for an audio visual or even for a large print on the wall, I'm more than happy with this image. But for my competition entries, I will continue to look through my files and hopefully find something with more immediate impact.

If you're interested in visiting Bhutan with David Oliver and me in 2016, please take a look at our online brochure here.

The Better Photography Magazine Photograph of the Year competition is now open. Entries close 15 September 2015. You can enter the competition and also see the top 50 winners from each of the 6 categories in our previous competitions on our dedicated competition website -

There's not much difference between the before post-production (above) and after (up top). A little more contrast and I have highlighted the road at the bottom.


Peter Eastway Uses

Peter Uses

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