Second PPOC Accreditation Awarded
As I mentioned in a previous post, last year I joined the Alberta Central Branch of the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC). I’ve been using membership in the group for professional networking, and as one source of inspiration and education to drive my craft forward according to my own creative and business goals.
Part of this happens by taking advantage of the opportunity to submit selections of my work for review by PPOC judges, which provides feedback on how the work is perceived by a panel of expert working pro photographers. Last year I was awarded a PPOC accreditation in my first submission, in the category of Pictorial / Scenic photography. This year I submitted again, in the category of Fine Art / Photo Decor. It was gratifying to learn this weekend that my recent submission was accepted by the national panel that met in Montreal, Quebec, and I’ve now been awarded my second PPOC accreditation. Woot! 🙂
What are the PPOC judges looking for when they review an accreditation submission? For one thing, accreditation is not a competition — each submission stands (or not) on its own. The panel evaluates a range of criteria, looking for above average impact, creativity, style, composition, presentation, color balance, centre of interest, lighting, subject matter, image file quality, technique and story-telling. Some of these are areas of technical mastery, and frankly they’re not something I’m overly concerned about; I find the technical stuff comes naturally to me given my 30+ years of background in technology. What I’ve really been pushing myself on the past few years, however, is the whole artistic side.
In particular, my frequent reference in articles & blog posts to focusing on the core aspects of subject, composition and light, rather than just tools & technique, clearly identifies where I think there’s the most bang for buck in improving one’s creative expression. Likewise, anybody following my notes and reports about the Arizona / Alberta photography exchange project I participated in last year, will know that story-telling through visual imagery is something in which I’ve developed a lot of interest.
I took advantage of the intense amount of work I’ve been doing on the Arizona / Alberta project, and submitted a number of what I felt were the strongest story-telling images from the exhibit in my PPOC package. Other images in the submission came from my open series of photographs from old abandoned mines, specifically the Brazeau Collieries up at Nordegg. Again I was looking for photos that didn’t just have technical or compositional qualities, but ones that told stories. Both of these projects share a similar vintage look and frequently nostalgic subject matter; so I felt they went well together while still showing a level of diverse material in the submission package.
Receiving the PPOC Fine Art accreditation is not about seeking adulation & atta-boys, or being a hot photographer who is “all of that”. Though I have to say, like any artist who puts his or her work out there, I’d be a liar to claim that external approval wasn’t appreciated. 🙂 But no, it’s not about having “arrived”, and it’s certainly not about defining success for my work based on what other people are saying about it. Mostly, it’s about checking up on one dimension of on-going — indeed life-long! — progress on my personal creative journey.
If you’d like to see the work I submitted for the PPOC Fine Art category, click this link to see a Flash slideshow. If you can’t view Flash animations on your system, you can instead simply view the gallery of images. Thanks for looking!
Do you photograph as a means of creative expression, and if so are you taking concrete steps to develop your creativity? Feel free to comment on what works for you…