Churchville Photography Club is no stranger to hosting photography contests. The club has been hosting these competitions since the 1990s.
“This year marks around the 30th anniversary of this tradition,” said President of the club, Alex Spielman. “Showcasing the club’s dedication to promoting photography and fostering a vibrant community of enthusiasts.”
The first contest saw “a modest” 25 entries. “But the popularity grew steadily, reaching its peak “pre-COVID with over 400 images and 100 entries,” said Spielman. This year, the club decided to go in a different direction, making this contest the club’s first-ever all-digital competition.
In addition to being all-digital, this competition has opened its doors for nonmembers to participate, which isn’t the first time the club has made this decision. “Approximately half of the participants in previous years were nonmembers, demonstrating the club’s commitment to engaging the broader community and fostering a love of photography beyond the club’s membership,” said Spielman.
Opening the contest to nonmembers, allows the club to “connect with the wider photography community, increasing awareness of the club’s activities and potentially attracting new members,” Spielman said. By doing so, the club is able to reach a “diverse pool of talent,” which “elevates the overall quality and variety of entires, leading to a more enriching and inspiring experience for all participants.”
The club’s main objective and motivation behind limiting this contest to digital-only, is “accessibility.” “The club aimed to reach a wider audience and remove any barriers to participation,” Spielman said. “Additionally, the digital format offers convenience and flexibility for both participants and organizers.”
Previous winner Laurie Haas Santoro, said she would approach the all-digital contest the same way she had approached the previous print competitions, but believes there is a bigger benefit to the all-digital contest. “My approach would be the same as a print competition; however, the good part of digital as opposed to non-digital is I do not have to print my image and ... worry if the image prints correctly as seen on screen,” she said.
Santoro placed first in the “Wildlife” category in both the 2018 and 2019 print competition. She prepares for a competition by looking over the categories and placing an image in her mind as inspiration for each category. Additionally, she likes to read both positive and negative comments from the judges. “The critiques make you a better photographer,” Santoro said’.
This year’s contest will feature five categories that were carefully chosen by the competition committee: Landscape, Wildlife, Architecture, Open, and Student. The submissions are judged on composition, technical quality, and creativity.
The club as well as the photography community is looking forward to the upcoming contest. Spielman describes this as an opportunity for aspiring photographers. “Getting showcased in this online forum provides valuable exposure and recognition, potentially leading to new opportunities and collaborations.”
Visit https://churchvillephoto.club/ to learn how to participate.