I stirred at around 8:30 this morning and my mind was hazy. I glanced over at my phone and it had blown up. Turns out it was just some messages about a dinner on Sunday and nothing to do with photography, but still, pretty exciting.
Five hours earlier I was shovelling a yiros into my mouth somewhere on Hindley Street having just been denied access to the Casino for “showing visual signs of intoxication” (cut me some slack, I get about two nights out a year and I had something to celebrate!). I felt pretty lucid and sharp, sharp enough to challenge the bouncer to a sudoku race to prove my sobriety, but their mind was made up. I secretly think they knew it was my lucky night and didn’t want me to bankrupt the casino like Rainman. Would an intoxicated man send a message to his wife at 2:45am saying “still our and about, having fun and being safe xx“? Didn’t think so.
Anyway, 6 hours before the yiros, something extremely exciting happened – I was crowned the 2017 AIPP SA Wedding Photographer of the Year! I was a finalist in 2015 but this year I managed to go one step better with a more consistent portfolio of images. I’ve been entering the awards for some years now, the way it works is you enter up to 4 prints in a category and each image is awarded a score between 50 and 100 by a panel of 5 judges, if there is a big scoring discrepancy a judge may challenge the score and everyone has a chat about it and re-scores. This year, for the first time, I was actually on the judging panel for a couple of categories, Family and Portrait, and to be honest I was way more focused on that side of things in the lead up than on my entries. On one hand, it’s a great responsibility to fairly and carefully judge prints that photographers have put their heart and soul into, and on the other hand, it’s terrifying sitting alongside judges who are vastly more awarded and experienced than yourself, knowing that you if your scores are too far off the mark you might be called upon to defend your score and convince these big names of the industry that they perhaps they might want to reconsider their score. That was the fear anyway. The reality was that on about the third print I judged I scored it way higher than everyone else and challenged the result, I made my case and by and large people agreed with me! Not so scary after all!
After my morning of judging it was almost an afterthought that Wedding was being judged that afternoon. I followed the feed online and was stoked to see all four of my entries do well. I thought I might be in the mix to be a finalist which was really my aim, mainly because I wanted to update my email signature, which currently reads “2015 AIPP South Australian Wedding Photographer of the Year Finalist” – I couldn’t keep flogging that dead horse into 2018. It turns out that all the stars aligned, and that my good luck omen of going to the dinner in the suit I wore at my own wedding did the trick (no one even noticed the little holes the moths had made).
When I finally made it home this morning I was one exhausted man, not just from that night but for all the days and weeks leading up to it. But you know what? It was totally worth it to have this trophy to proudly display at my home studio.
Ooops, I don’t think I won the Commercial Photographer of the Year, there must have been some sort of late night mix up. Maybe that bouncer was right after all.
Massive congratulations to everyone who entered, especially the other category award winners and overall winner Kelly Champion. You can check out all the winners here.