AUSSIE STREET Finalist 2023

I don't really enter photo contests anymore. In fact I pomised myself in 2020 to never enter one again. I had good success entering contests in the past and didn't need any more validation (and let's be honest validation is the driving factor or motivation for most photographers. Me included sometimes...). And most contests are money making schemes with questionable ties to organizations that somehow always find their way into your inbox. But some contests, especially those who are part of a Festival that has an actual physical venue where you can go to and meet a community, are definitely worth participating. Festivals that are made by the community for the community help grow and strengthen the community and offer real value in forms of Artist Talks and Workshops and Exhibitions. 
AUSSIE Street is one of those examples where good people are doing great work to bring photographers together and share the love of Street Photography with not only their city but the world. So I entered 4 Images of mine just to see what will happen and then had one Image be amongst the finalist images that where also exhibited in Sydney, where the Festival was being held. 

The photo that made it into the finalist list. It is no surprise to me that this photograph didn't win first prize.
It is a lucky shot that everyone can take. I just happened to be at the right spot at the right time. And the hand guestures where a lucky bonus.
This photograph was taken in Cologne in 2018 while on a Lunch break during a video shoot for a physiologist. The lesson learned from this photo is "always have a camera with you" :-) 

Now what does this mean? Becoming a Finalist? It is nothing then a pat on the back from the community and a nice feeling that the work you put out has reached a level that is being recognized by some of the top photographers in the field. Will you get jobs from winning a contest? Become Famous maybe? Not really. It does help having a few success stories in your bio when you want to teach workshops though.
For me contest are fun but not something I will regulary pursue. But I will definitely attend future festivals because the exchange with the community is what makes these festival great. Thanks AUSSIE STREET for the good experience. Even though I couldn't be on the other side of the planet this time.

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