Many photographers comment that if their work didn’t get accepted to an annual competitions, they won’t apply again… or if they didn’t get into Review Santa Fe last year, they won’t try again. Two points on this: first, judging panels are rarely if ever repeated – rather, there is a new roster of industry professionals each competition, grant, exhibition competition. DO try again. Fresh eyes (and more mature work on your part) may make the difference between acceptance or rejection. And, secondly: many of the most important grants given to artists are judged by an ANONYMOUS slate of NOMINATORS (No Strings Foundation, United States Artists among others). How is your work to be nominated if you don’t get it out there? Submitting to juried competitions is an excellent way to begin the dialogue about you and your work. Photographer Alec Soth was the first recipient of the Santa Fe Prize, an annonymous nominations procedure brought his work to the eyes of the final Judge; winning this grant proved pivotal in morning his career forward in many ways, not the least of which was attendance at Review Santa Fe where he met Nathan Benn who suggested he apply to Magnum Photos… and as they say the rest is history.

We can’t talk about your work if we don’t see it.

Please carefully consider which juried events are worth your investment of time and money, edit and sequence your entries carefully, and write well about your work.

I believe I speak for my professional colleagues when I say “we look forward to seeing your work!”


1 Comment »

  1. […] In an earlier post I reminded artists that many important grants are awarded through an anonymous nominations procedure, noting that if we don’t know about your work we can’t nominate you. I want to add this thought: when considering entering competitions, which takes time, and money – I urge you to ask yourself if the JURORS are individuals that can move your career forward. Do your homework – not just on the competion sponsors but perhaps more importantly on those individuals who will spend time looking carefully at your submission. Observe their professional affiliations (i.e. the magazines they edit, the gallery they direct, the collection they may serve as curator for, and so forth). Based on what you learn, if you feel they would respond positively to your work, DO invest in putting your work in front of them – and doing this via juried competitions can begin a professional relationship. […]

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