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Finally, I can call myself an Award Winning Photographer

 
It is with immense pride that I am sharing with you my experiences over the past week.  As many of you already know each year I attend a photographic convention organised by the Societies, this year being my 8th in a row.  It is through this convention that I have made incredible friendships, learned vast amounts of knowledge pertaining to all facets of my career and gained extensive inspiration that has brought me to where I am today.  And now, after 8 years of working towards this achievement I can finally say I was successful and more so than I ever could have imagined. 

 
I not only walked away with 4 merits from the 20x16 print competition which was judged earlier in the week, but I also received the awards of Pet Photographer of the Year as well as Portrait Studio Photographer of the Year and rounded up the evening taking 2nd place for the Overall Photographer of the year.  With nearly 14000 images entered throughout the year by photographers from around the world I consider this to be an incredible achievement and one that I will never forget. 

(by the way, that's Maggie Philbin there - she hosted the evening)
 
 (here I am with 3 of my favourite people from the Societies)

The week began with the 20x16 print competition which I eagerly sat through in its entirety to see my images be judged by a rotating panel of 5 judges from a pool of 22 highly esteemed photographers from around the world.  I didn't anticipate just how nerve wracking it would be but how thrilling at the same time.

(this is an picture of one of my merit images being judged)
 

In this competition I choose to enter 7 images and was fortunate to receive merits for 4 of those images, one receiving a score of 85 which I was thrilled with given the highest score given amongst the 574 images submitted was 88.


(Me sharing my second win with my great friend, Bev)

Then came the awards night which is honestly a night I will never forget and comes in as one of the best days of my life, second only to the day my daughter was born.  The buzz and excitement throughout the evening was incredibly.  I already knew that even if I didn't win I was still having a great time as often the anticipation is half the fun.  But thankfully I did get the experience of a lifetime when my name was called out not once but 3 times.  I will never forget the feeling of hearing my name called out and the cheers and clapping that quickly followed.  Then walking up to the stage and seeing the crowd full of my dear friends, many standing and waiting for me to walk by.  Winning these awards would not have meant nearly as much had I not had everyone with me to enjoy the moment.

(This is Adrian Henson.  We each won 3 awards that night.  Our table was awesome!)

And in true Oscar form, I'd like to take a minute to thank all those who've been there for me over the years as without them I not only wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today but I also wouldn't be having nearly as much fun.  So here it goes (with great fear that I will be missing someone). 

First, to all those within the Societies without whom none of this would have happened.  Phil, Juliet, Terrie, Colin, Ben and the rest of your lovely family thank you for organising such a great event and making us feel apart of your family. 

Second, to my wonderful photographer friends.  Faye and Trevor Yerbury, thank you for all your inspiration over the years as well as always being ever so helpful whenever I've wanted feedback or advice.  To Bev and Barrie Downie for being great friends and companions throughout so many conventions.  To Jon Jenkins and Richie Walton, thank you for all your support and encouragement.  You've made me want to keep trying year after year.  To Susan Renee whom I missed dearly this year.  You've been such a good friend and help ever since the first convention all those years ago.  To Dennis Orchard for all your advice and companionship over the past couple of years.  I'm so glad I got to share that trip to Malta with you.  To John Baikie for being my good luck charm and companion on the night as I nervously awaited the results.  And to Island Dave, the glue that holds us all together, always a pleasure to see you.  The convention wouldn't be the same without you.  A big thank you to all my many great friends, both new and not so new (didn't want to use the term old) whom I look forward to seeing each and every year.  I already can't wait until next year. 

And finally to my wonderful husband Andy who made my night even better when he told me he actually had tears in his eyes as my name was announced (for anyone who knows Andy that sort of thing NEVER happens). Without your patience and tolerance of what can sometimes be a very difficult profession none of this would have ever been possible.  I am so glad I could share that night with you. 


Here are the winning images:
 Portrait Studio Photographer of the Year & Overall 2nd Place Photographer of the Year


Pet Portrait Photographer of the Year
 
Now lets see what 2014 brings!

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