Best New Zealand Photographer!!!
Well that is a slight exaggeration!!! What is actually engraved on the back of this award is "Best New Zealand Entrant Monochrome".
This is an award I received recently from an International Salon/ competition which was held in New Zealand under the umbrella of the FIAP (Federation Of International Artistic Photographers) and attracted thousands of photographic entries from all around the world covering a variety of genres.
This award is very special to me. I have had people tell me to my face how easy it must be to gain such awards while shooting full time professionally with a steady stream of subjects on hand. This actually couldn't be further from the truth. Shooting full time to earn an income and please paying clients who have a particular brief to meet leaves very little time or head space for artistic interpretation. There is a business to run, correspondence to take care of, pricing, scheduling, maintenance of studio and equipment, invoicing, marketing and of course the actual shooting itself which sometimes is the smallest component of the whole process. The list goes on and on. It is very hard if not near impossible to fire up the artistic side of the brain while the other half is just trying to navigate you through the working week and then demanding a well earned rest at the end of it.
I don't shoot landscapes, I don't shoot families, I don't shoot children or pets (all the very popular money making genres), I predominantly shoot women and to me this award represents recognition of something which is largely under valued and that is the ability to capture and present women in an artistic and flattering manner which they also find empowering and endearing while keeping the shoot itself quite minimalistic.
This award was awarded to a set of four black and white (Monochrome) images all featuring individual women taken in my studio. No exotic locations, no trendy fashion, no lavish props etc etc. Just clean simple and timeless photography.
So, it's not impossible to run a successful portrait business and get internationally recognised awards for artistic flare, just near impossible.