The International Photographic Competition (IPC) just ended and I wanted to share my experience. The IPC is a fierce competition where photographers from all over the world compete for a coveted place in the Loan Collection – the best of the best! There are 2 intense rounds of judging that anyone can watch in person or live online. A panel of jurors select the top images from thousands of entries each year. The standard they use is called the 12 Elements of a Merit Image:
- Technical Excellence
- Color Balance
- Center of Interest
- Subject Matter
- Story Telling
This year there were 5,077 images entered, 2622 of those were “merit” images scoring an 80 or above, and 513 images “went loan” and will be featured in the Loan Collection book by Marathon Press.
This was my third year entering, and I’m finally starting to feel like I have a handle on how it works. Last year I got a bronze medal, meaning all 4 of my images merited. I was hoping to get the same this year, but alas I got 3 out of 4.
Here are my entries:
“Oh So Grand”
Originally entered in a state practice competition, it scored an 81. I got feedback from the judges, made some changes to the crop, clarity, and presentation, and it scored a point lower!
This was taken (you guessed it) at the Grand Canyon in April when I was there with my mom. I was at this spot for about 3 hours waiting for sunset, watching the light creep across the canyon. Beautiful!
“Rub-a-dub-dub Two Frogs in a Tub”
I’ve been photographing amphibians for a few years now. It’s been a fun project, and I decided to enter one in IPC in 2016 and got my first Loan Collection Image! I knew I had something special at that point, so I’m still working on my frog collection. This is Rico and Keith, 2 pet tree frogs belonging to my cousin’s kids.
My only “human” portrait to merit in a competition. Also my highest scoring image ever!
This is Bill Mayes in his workshop in Brevard, NC. Bill ran a summer camp – Camp Deerwoode – for boys here from the 1960’s to 1990. My husband (also Bill) went to camp here for many summers and eventually became a Junior Counselor. Last fall we stayed at Deerwoode and I got to see the magical place for myself.
While the 2 Bill’s were catching up, I worked a lot of different angles to capture a portrait. I love the sense of place and his organization.
“Gently Down the Stream”
This one did not merit. In retrospect, I think the title was maybe not a great one for this very contrasty image. Or maybe the judges didn’t like the composition.
This was taken in Gatlingburg, TN along the Roaring Fork Nature Trail.
I’m already working on my 2019 competition images and trying to challenge myself to be more creative! Congrats to all the photographers that entered this year!
Sarah Goldman is a photographer in Charleston, SC.