Anyone who follows me understands I am completely invigorated by the awards process and the vibe and energy that comes from entering awards. It gives me a chance to try new things, to push myself and it tends to make my brain operate on a different frequency. This is something that all newborn photographers, family photographers, actually any photographer should aim to do – it allows you to see differently.
This year SWPP and The Society of Photographers have kicked off this part of my photography year, and I’m just on such a high from this whole process.
Late last year I decided I wanted to challenge myself beyond the realms of a print competition. I wanted to take a broader view at my photography journey as a whole and challenge my abilities in regard to curating and presenting a body of work, rather than individual prints. The goal to become a Fellow of The Society of Photographers was something which has been slow burning in the background, and this was the perfect opportunity to combine the two goals and achieve something incredible.
This process was completely daunting and to be honest, it was really stressful. I needed to ensure the body of work was consistent, it had flow and it needed to make sense aesthetically as well as subjectively. And of course, the prints needed to be perfect. Thank goodness for Canson Infinity and The Print Foundry who completely had my back.
Looking at my work from previous years, I realised I had, without intention, captured motherhood. The relationship a mother and baby share is one like no other on earth. It’s a primal, yet emotional needs-based connection which is so strong, it is difficult to quantify in words, let alone imagery.
I decided this was my challenge. I went through my work and selected my strongest 20 images which would not only work together visually but would also ensure that connection told a story of strength, love and beauty. It needed to be a perfect and inspiring story of early motherhood.
The judging process I thoroughly enjoyed. Watching how the judges look for precision with the layout, including consistency plus symmetry was so interesting. As nervous as I was, sitting there watching the judging process, I was also immensely proud and completely honoured just to be there having my work reviewed by such an incredible collection of photographic specialists and artists.
Being accepted as a Fellow to The Society of Photographers is an incredible honour and I’m so thankful for this opportunity. Some of the other photographers also receiving a Fellowship were Gary Hill, Clive Hall, Lisa Saad, Imelda Bell, Peter Jones, and Michelle Whitmore. Such an inspiring group of photographers; the work on display was amazing.
I have more to share on my time at SWPP, however that might need to be for another day when I can get my head around that story as well.
For now, I can certainly say if this is the start of 2019, I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings. It’s going to be a great year.