It is the summer of 2016, and for the eighth consecutive year, I’ve entered photos in the New York State Fair’s Photography Competition in Syracuse. Whether you’ve read my blog for a day or for years, you know that I treat the NYS Fair’s photo competition as one of my “photo majors.” And essentially, I start planning my 2016 entries almost the day after the 2015 photo competition ends.
Yep. I’ve been working on these entries for a while now.
I can’t just reach into a hat the week before my submission deadline and say, “I’m taking these six images, lah de dah.” You know it doesn’t work that way. Not for me, at least. Some of my pictures were in the “short list” for 2016, and at the last minute, I tossed those photos out of the mix. Some photos were placed back IN the mix for one reason or another. Some of them might end up in other competitions – just because picture “A” is in this list doesn’t mean I can’t enter it in Altamont or Durham or the Big E or elsewhere.
But right now, to whittle down my available entries to six pictures, it’s like a competition version of Lifeboat – you have eight passengers and the boat will only hold six. Who gets tossed?
And with that in mind… And with lots of consideration and contemplation and this-photo-is-out-no-wait-it’s-back-in-plation…
Here are the six images that I’m submitting for Syracuse in 2016. They include:
THE PEW OF HOLY INNOCENTS
The pedigree for this image – I photographed it inside the Church of Holy Innocents on North Pearl Street last year, when someone inadvertently left the door to the church wide open. My blog post about the picture is here. Yeah, I figured it would only be a matter of time before I entered this picture into Competition Season 2016. A little urban exploration, a little ruin art, a bright stained glass window and a godawful Barcalounger… Oh yeah, and this was part of Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy’s art show earlier this year.
LAUREN AND THE LEAVES
Last October, I asked my modeling friend Lauren if she would participate in this little photo shoot. She tossed the autumn leaves in the air, and I snapped away with my trusty four-lensed NIMSLO camera. I blogged about the photo shoot here. I had some success with my lenticular print Vivaldi’s Pond last year, so let’s see what a full-fledged lenticular magic motion single-image capture picture will turn out. I’m entering this picture in the non-traditional category. Of course I’m entering the picture in that category.
THE SARATOGA AND NORTH CREEK RAILROAD
This will be my “Pride of New York” entry, as there is a specific category at the Fair for such entries. It combines several of my favorite images – railroads, forests, skyscapes – into a stirring, strong concept. My original shot of this Adirondack scene can be found at this link; however, I grew unhappy with the picture and took it out of my short pile. Still, something told me I should re-conceive this piece and re-crop it and re-print it. And it looks better for the efforts. I really have a lot of faith for this photo, and I hope it turns out well.
//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsThis is a tough one to enter. I really like the contrast, and I still want an infrared photo to earn some love at the New York State Fair. And it was a toss-up between this picture and another infrared construct, If You C♯ You Won’t B♭, which I’m saving for another photo competition. So here’s hoping that this unconventional view of the walkway to the paddock at Saratoga Race Course will work in competition this year.
THE PIER AT ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH
//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsThis is a tough one to enter. In fact, it was a last-minute choice between this picture and one of the “cup of flowers” pictures I bantered around. Again, the “cup of flowers” photo will find another competition. I really like the contrast in this picture, I love the flame-red color of the wood, and it’s a tangible and wonderful memory of the best part of my summer Florida vacation. I blogged about capturing this photo here. But I’m entering a photo that was taken by a cell phone. A freakin’ cell phone… Then again… I got THIS picture out of a freakin’ cell phone. Okay, so it was a BlackBerry cell phone, so there’s at least that…
NIAGARA 1970 1995 2016
This picture is New York through and through. The camera that captured this image was manufactured in Binghamton. Films (both of them) came from Rochester. Subject matter – right there at the Falls. And the photographer? From the 518, natch… I’ve tried to capture the essence of a Niagara Falls experience – the boat, the rainbow, the falls, the swirling water, the dreams, the desires … chronicled the whole adventure in this blog post. Will this work? I hope it does.
So now… time for the overview.
- Film cameras – Nimslo (Lauren and the Leaves), AGFA Chief (Niagara 1970 1995 2016), Minolta X370S (Backstretch).
- Film used in film cameras – Fuji Superia 400 (Lauren and the Leaves), Kodak Verichrome Pan (Niagara 1970 1995 2016), Kodak Instamatic Gold 200 (Niagara 1970 1995 2016), Kodak HIE Infrared (Backstretch).
- Digital cameras – Nikon Df (The Saratoga and North Creek Railroad, The Pew of Holy Innocents), BlackBerry PRIV (The Pier at St. Augustine Beach).
- Locations – Five photos were taken in New York State; specifically, three in Saratoga County (Lauren and the Leaves, The Saratoga and North Creek Railroad, Backstretch), one in Albany County (The Pew of Holy Innocents), and one in Niagara County (Niagara 1970 1995 2016). Okay, technically my feet were in Niagara Falls, Ontario, but the subject matter was all New York State, baby… The other photo was taken in St. Johns County, Florida (The Pier at St. Augustine Beach).
- Lauren and the Leaves could be my first entry that features a human model to make it to the wall since Action Under the Basket in 2009. It could also be my first lenticular print to reach the walls since Vivaldi’s Pond took an Honorable Mention in 2015. It could also be my first picture that was shot with my four-lensed Nimslo camera to make it to the wall. It’s also my second entered photo with my model-friend Lauren, who previously appeared in the 2012 entry Her Stolen Heart.
- The Pier at St. Augustine Beach could be my first entry created by a cell phone to make it to the wall.
- Backstretch could be my first successful infrared photo to make it to the wall; my previous attempt from last year – Aerochrome Falls – did not get past the first round.
- The Pew of Holy Innocents could be my first “urban ruin” entry to make it to the wall. It it also has a chance to claim my third consecutive HDR ribbon, after Lane 2 and Low Tide at Sunrise also claimed Honorable Mention HDR silks.
- Niagara 1970 1995 2016 could be my third “splitfilm” photo to make it to the wall, following The AGFA Bridge Over Ansco Lake and Coca-Cola Relieves Fatigue, Sold Everywhere 5c. But my previous splitfilms – Jessica: Instamatic Dichotomy and The Lenten Meal – missed the wall completely.
And now I turn this over to you, my loyal readers. You’ve picked the winners in the past, you’ve seen success in my photos that I might have previously missed. So now you’re the judge. You’ve seen these six pictures. If you had your choice – and you could pick one photo, or two photos, or up to three entries – which of these images do you think have the best chance to make it to the walls of the Harriet May Mills Art Center during the 2016 event?