The best, most life altering events, happen with just a little bit of courage and a lot of passion. That is what seems to be the driving force behind many of the most successful photographers in the world. But what is the use of passion and undeniable raw talent, if you are just sitting on it?
In reality you may have convinced yourself that photography is just a hobby, and nothing more, because the dream you have envisioned for yourself just seems to great. This kind of thinking would have left some of the most influential and successful photographers in the shadows, and some of the most memorable photographs would have never seen the light.
The Africa Photographic Awards are proudly brought to you as a gateway to the international spheres of photography – it is an opportunity for the best in the industry to support the development and progression of emerging photographers. This competition is the first of its kind to grace the African continent and will give African photographers agency to push the boundaries and beyond our borders.
Some of the Greats in the industry has been sought out for this event – all from different backgrounds, experiences and who embody different styles of photography. This is a non-profiting venture which aims to showcase African photography and provide a platform for African photographers – something which virtually hasn’t existed in Africa before.
So, why is it so imperative to enter competitions as a photographer?
Regardless of your experience, proficiency and previous accomplishments, you should be entering photography competitions for the following reasons:
Photography can be quite a daunting solo operation at times, particularly for younger photographers or those working on long-term projects. Award competitions can provide a form of ‘third-party approval’, providing practitioners with a boost of confidence, recognition and sometimes even funding to help facilitate their work.
Competitions can be a great way of inviting a little discipline into projects. The application process itself can encourage a better articulation of a project and provide you as the photographer, with an opportunity to consider your work more objectively.
The Africa Photo Awards has the best panel of judges, which mean your work will be evaluated and critiqued by the finest in the industry which is incredibly valuable for your future as a photographer. By simply entering, you will put yourself on the map, and winning could provide even more opportunity for exposure at an international level.
A competition like the Africa Photo Awards extends an invitation to photographers across the continent with the aim of building a community that speaks the same language. A certain standard of photography can them be set, and African photographers can unite in showcasing their work that is of the highest standard.
So, what do some of the judges have to say about the impending Africa Photo Awards?
In exclusive interviews, Michael Meyersfeld, Dennis da Silva and Jodi Bieber were asked about their opinions on the Awards.
In his interview, Meyersfeld speaks about his early love affair with photography, “I think I was about eight or ten when I first started, and that was under the stairwell of our home where I made contact prints from a Baby Brownie camera. It’s really been an absolute passion from that moment until now”. His current pursuit in achieving his Masters in History of Art has, “brought about another interest and depth to my photography”, which goes to show that one does not ever stop evolving and growing as a professional in artistry.
His work has developed and changed to a great extent of the years, where his newfound passion lies with abstract photography and expressionism and has been described as being, “inclined to be felt and experienced, rather than be understood”. He keeps the logistics of his photographic process simple though, and refrains from creating work that appears congested and overedited because, “all it does is put more layers of self-doubt” – wholesome advice. He adds that one needs to know what one is photographing, why one is photographing and what the reason is, so you don’t go around like a “happy snapper” shooting endlessly.
Although he has actively been involved in the industry as a professional photographer who is recognized worldwide, he still believes in seeking out the opinions of certain people, saying, “you need people to confirm its not a shot, it’s not gonna work”, which is exactly what the Africa Photo Awards will offer: a way of knowing whether your work is at a certain standard and of a calibre that can compete at an international level.
And his thoughts on the APA’s?
“I think to bring together international photography where the language of photography is shared amongst this whole great continent, is possibly one of the most amazing things that has happened in recent years – it is a very important beginning of something fantastic.”
Human form, emotion, culture, urban living, poverty, landscape, vintage, nature, movement, expressionism, humour, history.
The brain behind the operation that is the Africa Photo Awards, Dennis is highly respected and recognized in the industry, especially for his work in black and white hand-print and has decades of hands-on experience in all forms of processing film and printing, and continues to print for photographers, artists, collectors, galleries and museums around the world.
Dennis has been a judicator in many prestigious photographic awards, both locally and internationally, so what are his thoughts on the APA’s?
“We hope we get people that enter with the highest standards of photography, from professionals to amateurs.” He has envisioned a platform to showcase Africa’s best work that has been photographed and hope to receive entrants with the highest standards of photography.
When she first started Jodi envisioned more for South Africa and for herself as a photographer. She knew what her passion was from the start and made strategic decisions to follow her dreams and pursued the opportunities which presented themselves. A simple decision to attend a photography workshop was a highlight in her career that made a tremendous difference to her future endeavours and successes.
She has given lectures all around the world about her work and has published numerous books on photography. Her travels have given her some perspective on the platform provided to African photographers, “I think that African photography is not in the world of praise, but definitely in the world of documentary and art.” She goes on to say, “we are very powerful photographers that are doing exceptionally well in the world.” She believes that the APA’s will bring people who are deserving, but has had less exposure, to the forefront.
In conclusion, the ultimate goal of the Africa Photo Awards is to provide a gateway to the international realms of photography, where African photographers will receive the merited exposure and recognition for their work. The judges are all looking for a deep level of commitment to the subject matter and will focus on elements such as the passage of time which must be visible and evident, as well as context, otherness and the gaze. Take note of what inspires them and be encouraged in entering photography competitions- because who knows what your future in photography can hold when you decide to be brave and bold?