Placing 2nd and 422nd in the same contest

Following the success of my image Unexpected Gust at the Miami Street Photography Festival back in December 2015, I chose to enter it into a public contest run by Photocrowd.com under the category of Full-length portraits.

Competitions at Photocrowd have two winners, one which is judged by an invited expert and the other which is rated by the Photocrowd community.

The expert invited to judge the full-length portrait category was Michael Grecco, award-winning and internationally renowned photographer of celebrity portraits, advertising and editorial commissions, private collections, and fine art. 

It was exciting to hear that Michael had selected Unexpected Gust to place 2nd in the competition.

Unexpected Gust placed 2nd in full-length portraits category, judged by Michael Grecco.

Unexpected Gust placed 2nd in full-length portraits category, judged by Michael Grecco.

I chose this as second place because it does a great job utilising the full body as an expressive and communicative tool: the outfit the girl is wearing compliments her surroundings and helps define her location, her hand expresses everything you need to know about the crux of the moment, and the scarf over the face and dog out of frame lends itself to enough mystery to keep the image intriguing. The light in the photo keeps the viewer’s eyes moving and the colour is both energising and comfortable.
— Micheal Grecco

Whilst it was a pleasure to have been awarded with that accolade, what was perhaps most interesting was that whilst Michael deemed my image was worthy of 2nd place, the Photocrowd community had placed it 422nd through individual ratings. The massive difference between these numbers is huge reminder of how subjective photography is. 

Critique can be a gift and a curse. Hearing that your image is great can really boost your confidence but on the contrary, hearing that it is terrible can have the opposite effect. I guess it's important to remember that everyone has different tastes and opinions to what makes a successful photograph.

This contest has taught me that an opinion is just that. Who is to say whether my image deserved to be placed 2nd or 422nd? I like that it was able to divide a crowd though, perhaps enough to initiate a discussion. I think it'd be really exciting to see that.

Check out the rest of the winners and entries to the Photocrowd Full-length Portraits contest.