Recently I entered a photo contest on an online forum.Â There are no prizes in this competition, just the pride of entering a photograph the artist feels best represents the theme of the week.Â The voters, who determine the winner, are members of the forum, not obscure â€œjudgesâ€ with even obscurer tastes.Â I like that.Â I also like the feel of the forum because it seems weâ€™re all trying to learn and grow our photographic skills.
Iâ€™d entered the contest a number of times prior and did pretty well.Â I have yet to enter a photograph that garners the most votes, but Iâ€™ve been happy with the results as a whole.Â Until last time, that is.
Without going into details, I spent an afternoon setting up my shot.Â Once I had everything arranged I sprinted behind the tripod and started clicking the shutter.Â A few moments later Pudgy, our cat, decided to check out my composition and jumped in the middle of my, um, artistic vision.Â Noooooo!Â I rearranged the items, shooâ€™d her from the room, and took more shots.Â After a little tweaking of contrast and so on, I submitted my work.
The contest runs about a week, and then the votes and results are made known.Â When I entered my picture the contest was about midway through its run. Many of the photographs were lovely, really lovely, but I felt they were not consistent with the theme of the contest.Â My heart beat faster thinking I might have an edge this time. Â After all, I was following the rules AND being creative.Â How could I not do well?
During the next few days I began to notice new entries with an idea very similar to mine.Â Some even had the same props!Â Oh oh.
When the contest ended I checked to see how my photograph had faired.Â Not a single vote.Â Not.Â One.Â I was crushed.Â Those photographs that suspiciously echoed my vision did very well, which pushed me further under emotionally.Â As much as I tried to be optimistic about lessons learned and trying harder next time, I felt, well, used.Â My husband reminded me that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I just couldnâ€™t get my head around the results. Â Why had I tanked?
As I thought about the situation I remembered that once those similar photographs started appearing, my self-doubts grew quickly.Â I even said something like, â€œOh sure, I had the idea and now others will take it and make it better.â€Â I put the negative energy out there, and, surprise, surprise, thatâ€™s exactly what I got in return.
I entered the contest again yesterday.Â But this time Iâ€™m going to set my intentions to render positive results.Â I may even go crazy and Â turn the good feeling vibration to â€œeleven.â€Â (Yep. A Spinal Tap reference.)Â I canâ€™t control what others do, but I can control my own actions.Â That is a lesson Iâ€™m apparently still in need of learning no matter how old I get.