I Got a Photography Achievement and I Don’t Care. Why?

Do you ever win anything? Probably from entering a contest or competition. Usually if you win, you’ll be happy or proud or anything of the sort. Make sense, doesn’t it? Of course I feel the same way to. Or so I thought. At least until couple of days ago. So here’s how the story goes.

So about couple of months ago I entered a paid international black and white photography contest for the first time. The reason I entered it because this is one of the few photography contest that specialize in black and white photography. Of course the idea didn’t came in a spur of the moment, I already wanted to entered this kind of contest for a long time. So I did exactly that. I feel my photography good enough to enter a contest in that high caliber. I stole my mother credit card (I paid her back in the end) and entered the competition.

Couple of months later, about few days ago, I received an email said that they announced the winner. So I just click it and saw the winner gallery. At first, I didn’t saw you photo and I though I didn’t win. At least until the next hour because I was in denial. I checked the email back and it said that I have to login into my account on the website to find out if I win or not (which I didn’t read before). There I found out that I actually won. Then I checked back the winner gallery and my photo actually there around the corner so small. That’s why I didn’t realize I won at first.

The one in red circle is mine

There I won a honorable mention for architecture category. Usually when you achieve such a win, you should be proud. Especially when you won something in your first try. But I don’t. Actually the quite opposite, I’m disappointed. Even though this is my first time entering such photography contest and it is a quite of achievement. First thing that came to my mind is:

“honorable mention. So what?”

So why do I feel that way?

As a student of psychology, I learn to always identify my own affect and to understand them. Which I did.

So what I think happening is this. My purpose of entering doesn’t match with what exactly happened. The very definition of disappointed.

There only one reason I entered the photography contest:

“I want to win.”

I define “win” as to get the prize, which is money. And yet I failed to get it.

Another reason I disappointed probably because of how little I feel when I saw another photographer photos which I feel far more better than me. It make me feel inferior and little. Even though it took me a long time to get to my level of photography. I realize there are thousand thing that I should learn.

So there you have it. It sucks. But that’s life.

15 thoughts on “I Got a Photography Achievement and I Don’t Care. Why?

  1. I ran my first 10K foot race when I was 59 years old and I thought I came in last. My more experienced friend said, “No; there are two million people in this city who are still in bed.” Your honorable mention is much better than not trying at all.

  2. You are obviously striving to better your skills. You could reframe your thinking (CBT). In entering the competition your efforts and skill set have been acknowledged., The same effort that has brought about progress in you photographic skills an style. You recognise there is still room for you to grow and hopefully you will use that as motivation to improve. Even people at the top of their fields can improve. You have been shortlisted along with those who you see as great photographers, hopefully this tells you something…don’t be so hard on yourself! I find your entry atmospheric and interesting. Given your subject this can be hard to achieve in monochrome but you pulled it off well!

  3. Agrandaize, I love your post, partly I think, because you are so straightforward and honest. I used to enter the County Fair regularly for a number of years. I always won at least one ribbon, from Honorable to Red. I don’t think I ever won first, although I may have. I did get some small cash once or twice. The MOST USEFUL thing about entering this competition was to see my photos hanging beside all the others. At home, with only my own taste and my own photos with which to compare, I always loved my work and thought it was wonderful–that’s why I entered. But when I would see my work hanging on display beside hundreds of others, I knew immediately what was wrong with mine or where I needed improvement. Once in awhile my hard effort was rewarded and apparently the judge saw in my photo what I was aiming for and could see myself. Mostly entering competitions is a wonderful learning tool that can be of great value in improving a photographer’s work. Hopefully the entrance fee you paid wasn’t too high. Keep at it young man!

  4. Unknowingly you taught one lesson today. I used to participate in monochrome challenges for quite some time. Then I realized mine are never better than other ( one should always compare own photographs and get better but we do not follow the quotes all the time) and I stopped working on them. May be it’s time for me to learn more than just quit.

  5. Your Honorable Mention is first a step in the direction you want to go. Your photo is beautiful and so many artist never receive acknowledgement even after years of entering contests. You are not competing against anyone else, only yourself.

  6. Your photography is far from inferior and there will be other days and other contests
    should you choose to enter them.
    In the end the “win” is about what you captured, the dedication and effort you put into
    it, not that of others, not who posts the most videos or photos, nor who is sponsored
    and who isn’t.
    I suppose one could say winning is about recognition, and it is to some extent, but I
    tend to think recognizing our own self worth has a greater value.

  7. I think you are looking at this all wrong. In a large international contest there can be several thousand entries, from which a very small amount are awarded prizes. By the time judges have culled out the obvious issues and are down to the wire with still maybe 15-20 remaining, any one of which could win, they are out of objective criteria and have left only their personal likes, THat it made it to the point of getting an honorable mention is in fact a big deal in such a contest.

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