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Layers of Realism

Layers of Realism
Black and white has so much to offer the genre of garden photography. In fact, the thought process behind many black and white images reveals how photographers are encouraged to engage with subjects in a nuanced, emotional and somewhat deeper way, accessing a rich narrative of artistic story . . . telling. But why? Rachel Chappell helps us answer this as she talks us through her award-winning black and white photograph, from Competition 11.  What drew you to shoot this image in black and white? I wanted to create an image which was distinctly minimalist but still had enough detail to be interesting. Although the image is all about movement with the long wavy lines I also wanted it to be calming and restful. I had been looking at the black and white landscape work of Cole Thompson and Michael Kenna. Both of these photographers use black and white quite expertly and are not afraid of using both true black and true white to dramatic effect. How did you achieve the desired effect? I am sure the day was not windy but looking through the lens close-up there appeared to be a small gale blowing! Also the part of the grass I was interested in was at the top of a very long and bendy stem. To ensure that I could compose the image as I wanted, and to have a range of aperture options open to me, I set up my camera and tripod indoors. The grass stem was clamped in an old clamp stand (remember those from science lessons?).  As I wanted a minimalist effect I placed a sheet of plain white card behind the grass. Ultimately I chose the mid aperture of f/9. Working at a close distance of around 6 inches this allowed me to have some sharp areas but also some softer edges. I often like the combination of hard and soft edges to tell a more rounded story and leave some work to the imagination. Did you use any special equipment? I do a lot of macro work and the lens I use most of the time is a 105mm macro lens. This allows me to get up close to the flowers and isolate the part of the flower which I am most interested in. My best bit of ‘special’ equipment is a small 4 inch square of card wrapped in silver foil. I can hold this in one hand without creating too much draft as I reflect the light back onto the grass. What plants do you think work best for black and white photography? I feel that creating a black and white photograph allows the photographer more scope to tell a story. The removal of colour takes away a layer of realism which allows you to take a different approach and put emphasis on another aspect of the image. Flowers which photograph well in black and white tend to be those with definite features of shape, texture, lines. When working in black and white it is even more important to be aware of the light and composition as it will add to your story. If your story is about lines, as it was in this image, then the composition needs to be arranged so that lines really stand out. -- Ready to tell your story? Enter the Black & White Photo Project now
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Black & White Backlight

Black & White Backlight
With the Black & White Photo Project deadline rapidly approaching it’s good to revisit genre specific skills and  take a look at some interesting techniques to complement your style.   In this post, Digital Camera magazine’s Claire Gillo takes a look at backlighting.   Light your object from . . . behind to create a magical halo effect   Backlighting looks extremely effective when shot in the monochrome medium. By lighting your subject from behind, you capture a silhouetted object with a halo outline. Once you remove the colour from the image, the silhouette and halo effect is enhanced even further.     For this tutorial we used an external flashgun and picked a wild flower from a hedge. We also had a reflector to hand to bounce some light back into the top part of the subject. You may also need to do this depending on the size of your subject. We also placed our flashgun onto a pile of books to bring the light closer to the flower.   There are many different techniques you can use when backlighting a subject. In our example we’ve kept it simple, but if you want to add in an extra touch, you can also try spraying some water onto the subject. If you use a fine-mist spray bottle, the small droplets will ping out against the dark background. If you try this technique, just make sure you keep wiping your flashlight with a towel because after a few sprays it may get a little damp!   1) Pick the right subject   You want to pick an object that will silhouette while describing an interesting outline. Flowers are good for this technique, but you want to avoid the usual pretty full-faced type. Seed heads or weed-like species work best, and anything with spikes or hairs that are going to catch the light are preferable. Put it in a vase so it stands upright, and place it on a flat surface. We secured our flower in place using some Blu Tack and a vase.   2) Set up the background   Set up a dark background behind your subject. We used a thick brown blanket. As long as the background is dark in appearance, it doesn’t matter if it’s not black because we can easily fix this in processing later. It’s best to use a thick material like velvet that will absorb the light rather than a shiny surface that will reflect the light. If necessary, angle the background to eliminate any stray light reflections.   3) Set up the camera   Next set the mode dial on your camera to manual so you are in complete control of the exposure. Set the shutter speed to 1/250 sec because this synchronises with the flash light. Also, set the ISO low to 100 for optimum noise-free results. Now we can balance the aperture setting with the flash. In this example we set the aperture to f/16 to keep the subject completely sharp from back to front.   4) Set up the flash camera settings   We want the background to be under-exposed. And we’re going to use the camera’s built-in pop-up flash to trigger the external flashgun. Under the Built-in flash setting, set the flash to the wireless function so that the external flashgun and the camera are communicating. Set the pop-up flash to fire so it doesn’t have any impact on the final result. We’re only using it to fire the external flash, not to light the subject from the front.   5) Set up the flashgun   Set the flash unit to the Slave setting and put it into manual mode. We can also control the intensity of the flash through the built-in flash feature on the camera. We set ours to fire at 1/16th of its full power. The setting you need will vary depending on the power of your flashgun, and its distance to the subject. Angle the flash head up and place it behind your subject, like in the picture above. Finally, we’re ready to start shooting!   6) Fire away!   We had to use a reflector to bounce the light back into the top part of the flower. Without the reflector, we found the top part of the subject was under-exposed. If you struggle to hold the reflector and take the shot at the same time, get an assistant to help you, or mount your camera on a tripod. When you take the shot, make sure the main focus point is sharp on the centre of the flower. Check the exposure using your camera’s histogram.   7) Convert to black and white   Open the image in Adobe Camera Raw by double clicking its thumbnail in Bridge. In Camera Raw, convert the image to black and white using the Convert to Grayscale setting. Our flower has some green parts, so we can use the green channel to boost the outline. In the Basic panel we want to enhance the Blacks and boost the Contrast. Once you’re happy, click Open Image to bring it into the main image editor.   8) Dodge the top of the flower   Although we used the reflector to enhance the light at the top of the subject, we’re going to do a bit of dodging and burning to help enhance the end result. Duplicate the background layer, select the Dodge tool and set the Range to Highlights and the Exposure at 10%. Run a small brush around the top of the flower, building up the effect slowly. Now go to the Burn tool and set the Range to Shadows. Paint in the centre to darken the silhouette.    Enter the Black & White Photo Project now
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Cerrado Sunrise, the Winner of the International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 11

Cerrado Sunrise, the Winner of the International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 11
A huge thank you and congratulations to all of our winning photographers who have once again captured the incredible beauty, diversity and importance of plant life, from the wilds of Patagonia to the English country garden. A special congratulations goes to Marcio Cabral, of Brasilia, Brazil, who is . . . the overall winner and the International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 11. Marcio is recognised as one of the top landscape photographers in the world and holds a world record for the largest underwater panorama. The winning image entitled, Cerrado Sunrise, was shot in the vast ecological region known as the cerrado in Brazil. Marcio said: “Paepalanthus chiquitensis Herzog is my favourite wildflower and I have been photographing it for more than a decade. These wildflowers have an incredible effect when photographed at sunrise or sunset as they reflect sunlight and this generates a striking effect that looks like the flowers have been individually illuminated. Although this location has a large flowering field, it is not easy to find a perfect spot with the flowers lined up to fill the foreground. I visited this site for a week until I was able to capture this formation of clouds before the sunrise.” Marcio’s love of the region holds strong botanical significance as well as many photographic opportunities. Prof. Ana Maria Giulietti, the world Paepalanthus specialist and Honorary Research Associate in the Americas team of the Identification and Naming department at Kew Gardens said: “Individual plants are found with flowers and fruits throughout the year, especially after the rainy season. The flowers are pollinated by beetles, wasps, and flies. Once the plant has reproduced or set seed, it dies. Featuring large populations and a wide geographic distribution, Paepalanthus chiquitensis is not considered endangered. However, the accelerated advance of monoculture plantations on the cerrado causes concern for the future. The implementation of the National Plan for the Conservation of Everlasting Plants is a crucial element to reverse this process and reduce the impacts on the natural populations of these plants.” Apart from possessing interesting access points to discuss conservation in South America, the image is technically brilliant, showing superb control of contrast and exposure with flawless composition. Judges felt a real connection with the image and the endless filaments and flowerheads stretching into the distance beyond. The scale and impact of their presence added to a sense of timelessness. This feeling echoes the fact that conservation and living in harmony with plants and nature is a process that doesn’t have an end point. We must continue to carry this sentiment far into the future, wherever we go. See the winners on your coffee table. Buy the book here
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The Botanical Year Starts Here

The Botanical Year Starts Here
It’s almost February and that means it’s almost time to reveal the winners of the International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 11. Winners will be made public and available to view online from February 9 2018, with the exhibition at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew opening to the public on . . . February 10. If you’ve never been to the most prestigious flagship exhibition of garden photography in the world, then you’re in for a treat. This year will feature the most ever framed prints supplied by UK based pro lab, One Vision Imaging, and include garden photography from classic categories such as The Beauty of Plants, Breathing Spaces and Wildflower landscapes as well as two new main categories, Abstract Views and Outdoor Living. Also new to this exhibition will be images from the mobile phone only category Gardens on the Go,  a new Still Life Photo Project, plus the winner of the special Portfolio category My Garden Stories. And of course, Captured at Kew, with the largest selection of winners exhibited to date. The photography on display will aim to broaden your understanding of the natural world and inspire you to see our green planet with renewed beauty and importance. Expect to see images from around the UK plus countries all over the world such as: Ireland, USA, Germany, Denmark, Croatia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, China, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. Each image will have a story to tell and offer a new perspective on plant life through the exciting and growing genre of garden photography. Conservation will be, as always, an important theme of this competition year so watch out for interesting interpretation provided by the Kew Science team. This exhibition is vital to the IGPOTY mission as we continue to work with Kew to share the wonder of plants. So discover your inspiration for 2018 with the finest images of plant life in the world at the birthplace of botany.  The exhibition will be on display in the Nash Conservatory until March 11 2018. Entry is included with the price of admission to the Gardens. The next venue to host the exhibition of Competition 11 will be RHS Hyde Hall, which opens on March 21. For more information about Kew visit kew.org
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Threatened Beauty

Threatened Beauty
Central to IGPOTY as an organisation is to display photography that has meaning and purpose. The images we exhibit lead a global conversation in how we think about plants and gardens, the importance they have on our lives as citizens of a diverse green planet and the responsibility we share in . . . ensuring they exist around us for generations to come. Botanic Gardens Conservation International then are natural partners. If you haven’t heard of them, they are the largest plant conservation network of botanic gardens in the world. Its members include the largest, most renowned gardens on the planet – Kew, New York, Missouri, Singapore, Sydney and Shanghai – but they also include many smaller gardens situated in the world’s plant diversity hotspots. And just as the BGCI joins together organisations that are passionate about plant conservation, IGPOTY brings together individuals who are passionate about representing, interpreting and documenting plant life through photography. To strengthen and reinforce shared objectives of awareness and conservation, IGPOTY and BGCI will be launching a new ‘Threatened Plants Photographic Award’. Winners will be selected from images entered into the Beauty of Plants.  Simply enter as normal and BGCI and IGPOTY judges will choose an image that displays both compelling photographic skill and threatened plant life, which tells a captivating and vital story about conservation. Indeed, conservation is a central part of this new partnership. It’s one thing highlighting a threatened plant but it’s another to conduct conservation work to actively protect the species. This is what botanic gardens do every day all around the world. Part of this award then is about celebrating the work of botanic gardens in protecting plant life. The award will launch at the start of Competition 12 on February 20 2018. The winner will feature in the latest edition of the IGPOTY book and receive special prizes from BGCI. Working together we can always achieve greater, better, more meaningful things. So, when you find yourself on that freezing mountain pass, or lonely forest path, remember you’re not alone on the journey and that individual actions can have global resonance. Find out more about BGCI
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Thank you for entering Competition 11

Thank you for entering Competition 11
Thank you all so much to everyone who entered Competition 11, and thank you for your patience as we experienced unprecedented demand. The hard part is over, now sit back and relax whilst the IGPOTY judges get to work. If you haven’t entered IGPOTY this year the shortlisting procedure is as . . . follows: 1. Judging begins.2. Shortlist chosen.3. All entrants receive a prompt via email to login and check their account. This prompt will also be posted on social media channels. Your dashboard will indicate if you have been shortlisted or not.4. Shortlisted photographers upload high-res directly to website (and ensure all required photograph information has been entered). 5. Final places decided.6. All shortlisted entrants receive a prompt via email to login and check their account. The dashboard will indicate if your photograph has been awarded a place. We aim to begin shortlisting on the week commencing November 13 for around 1 week. Please be around for a small amount of time during this period to ensure you can respond to any shortlist requests. The sooner you get high-res images and information to us the better - this is much appreciated. We’ll be in touch again with all entrants via email and keep you updated at every step. If you still have questions don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly on social channels or via email. If you’ve been in touch already we will respond as quickly as we can. As ever, winners are made public when we launch the exhibition at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in February. We can’t wait to see the winners there. Also remember entries into the Humphry Repton Special Award will remain open until midday on December 31 2017. Best of luck and thank you again from the IGPOTY Team.
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Competition 11 will now close November 1 2017

Competition 11 will now close November 1 2017
It’s almost the end of October and that means the end of the competition year. We’ve been hard at work to make the competition better than ever, with more benefits for photographers than ever before. So If you haven’t entered, are wondering what IGPOTY is all about or are considering being part of . . . Competition 11, here are our top reasons why you should take part: Prizes Prizes are important. We know and recognise that you should be rewarded for your hard work. That’s why last year we raised the prize money from £5,000 to £7,500 for the overall winner. There’s also £2,000 on offer for the best portfolio, plus RPS medals for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place. Category winners also receive equipment prizes. It doesn’t stop there. We work with some amazing partners who offer unique experiences, exposure and cash prizes through our range of special awards. From bespoke exhibitions to €1000 - check out the available awards. International exhibitions Not only do we launch our exhibition of winners at the world-famous Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in February we also have an ever-growing international exhibition tour as they are a central part of the IGPOTY mission. They are critical in communicating the beauty and importance of a green planet and the vital role photography plays in doing this. That’s why we endeavour to keep expanding the programme and share your work with an even greater audience. The programme next year includes venues in the UK, Germany, Spain and Amsterdam plus more to be announced. Global coverage Whether you’re just starting your journey as a garden photographer or are a seasoned professional, exposure and media coverage is critical to reignite or kickstart a career. We regularly feature in consumer magazines, national newspapers and some of the world’s most popular online news websites. As Richard Bloom, Overall Winner of Competition 9 said: “The publicity generated from winning IGPOTY has been huge and is itself a reward potentially worth more than the prize money.” Ethics and Community What does your photography say about you and what you stand for? Entering IGPOTY broadcasts the fact that you care about plants, green spaces and the environment and just how critical they are to our lives. A competition should align with your own artistic convictions and we care passionately about a green planet. We believe a competition should go beyond its definition and present a much grander vision. That’s what we offer. We’ve also just launched public profiles, which is the foundation for a more interlinked social community. Being part of a competition should be just that, and anyone is welcome to join. This element is set to grow, so get in early and make the most of the free exposure. Recognition We understand that competitions aren’t just about prizes. There are deeply personal factors. To be recognised by others for something you love is perhaps the most satisfying. And if you are a winner, whilst we can’t guarantee spiritual wholeness, we can guarantee a deep sense of lasting and profound recognition. Enter now
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Raising the Profile

Raising the Profile
Here at IGPOTY we have a competition vision that encourages everyone to creatively engage with nature. If we’re saying we believe everyone has the ability to be involved then everyone needs their own individual space to track their journey, publicise their achievements and expose their work to the . . . wider world. That’s why we’ve just launched updated public profiles. For winners, you will see your awards (we’re working on importing more historic competition data) and links to your winning images. Even if you’re not an IGPOTY winner there’s loads of reasons to create a public profile or update an existing one. It’s a public way to say you’ve joined the IGPOTY community, announce your presence as a garden/nature photographer and reinforce an existing career through the IGPOTY audience. If you have your own website and social presence it’s the perfect opportunity to increase your SEO and backlinks. You’ll also be ready for any media/public searches if you’re placed in any competitions. You’ll also have a searchable index of public profiles where you can find photographers just like you. We also feature recently completed profiles on the homepage to really amplify you and your work. This means more public exposure and another unique reason to take part in this competition. In order to take advantage of these benefits you’ll have to make your profile public and ensure all public data is filled out in full (sensitive information like telephone number, email address and home address will never be shown). You can even change the background image to further personalise the IGPOTY experience. Be ready for the end of this competition year and turn up your exposure to maximum. Head to your dashboard to edit your profile then enter Competition 11 before October 31!
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The Final Question

The Final Question
Near the end of a competition year, you may be wondering what to enter, how to shoot your subject and in what style, but ultimately the final question you will ask of your image is, is it good enough to win? To gain some insight into answering this we caught up with the winner of the Still Life . . . Photo Project, Simon Schollum. The story starts in his local bookshop. “At my favourite bookshop in Christchurch I discovered and bought the 2012 hard copy edition of International Garden Photographer of the Year. Within its pages I found inspiration and instruction among the rich and exuberant images. IGPOTY is what led me to photograph flowers. Inspired to try my hand, subsequently my submission ‘Home Sweet Home’ received the award of ‘commended’ and was subsequently published in IGPOTY Collection 8. This was followed by a dried flower arrangement which was selected for publication in the IGPOTY Ten Year Anniversary book earlier this year." The importance of inspiration can never be understated, and this constitutes the first part of the answer to our question. Ask yourself does it further inspire me and can it inspire others? No matter who you are, what skill level, background, or what you're seeking to undertake, everyone at some point needs that vital spark, a breath of fresh air (inspire from Latin inspirare - breathe or blow into) – sometimes we don’t even know we’re looking for it. This moment that we call inspiration leads to a process of comparison, and finally self-belief. If others can create images like this, in this way, why can’t I? The IGPOTY books are essential springboards for connecting people, with their potential. Simon continues: “Artists such as Magdalena Wasiczek and Mandy Disher, together with the work of so many others continue to make the IGPOTY experience one to savour and return to over and over again. The well-designed IGPOTY website is responsive and full of relevant information and inspiration making it an essential source both for active gardeners and photographic artists of the genre. The image, ‘Pomegranate’, is a direct descendant of the passion for still-life photography ignited by the images I found in that first IGPOTY book. I retired as a Police Forensic Photographer last year and happily spend many hours between the garden and my residential photographic studio.  As a genre I believe Still Life offers the contradiction of appearing to be supremely simple to achieve but is one of the most difficult subject matters to master. Fortunately artists throughout time have been drawn to its form which makes available to the contemporary photographic artist a rich trove of interpretations to draw on. The subject motivates me to develop further abilities with lighting and composition and see where this can lead. Advice to other photographers would be to take time closely studying the work already promulgated by the many contributors to IGPOTY. If a particular subject or theme excites you, photograph, photograph, photograph and when you have done that photograph some more.” This then, is the second part of the answer to our question. Ask yourself have I studied the work of others? Not merely to copy but to advance, build upon, and progress the genre and your own interpretations into new places that are guaranteed to move judges. This is where a feel for originality is developed as well as most importantly, self-belief in both style and artistic approach. When we combine inspiration with knowledge, the stage is set. Both answers have led to self-belief as being a driving force behind the competition process. And when you find this, you may just discover, that final question has entirely disappeared. Enter the main competition now
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Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living
The category is both a core element and binding force for any photography competition. They should direct the flow of creative ideas and help channel thematic content whilst providing a sense of cohesion. Their central place within a competition means that organisers must find contextual and . . . contemporary homes for new categories they introduce. For us this translates into a need to track the ever-evolving relationship we have with gardens and green spaces and the kinds of ways we choose to interact with them. Outdoor Living is one such avenue which deserved a dedicated space for such exploration, as it meets the above criteria for what a new category should set out to achieve. We asked Chelsea award winning garden designer and IGPOTY judge, Chris Beardshaw about the changing ways we choose to live outside: “Over time the formal boundary between internal and external spaces has become increasingly permeable. Well designed spaces now harness the character and personality of the context that, with design flair, can create inspiring and evocative schemes rich in sensory delights.” This desire to harness the outside world as an indoor living space, reflects our growing need to feel closer to nature. This is why design is so important, but it hasn’t got to be grandiose and lavishly expensive. The personal aspect of these outdoor living spaces are important reflections of our ourselves and how we want to feel in these new spaces. When the balance is right, a great and natural harmony is achieved between the newly created man-made space and the organic, sometimes, untamed surroundings. What was once a desire to control, is now a necessity to preserve through sustainable attitudes. This behaviour demonstrates a gradually shifting pattern of rehabilitation and reconciliation with the way we impose ourselves upon the natural world. From this we are able to access the first theoretical pillar of this category, which is sustainability and responsible use of land. Within the task of bringing the inside, out, we must utilise both our individuality and that of the landscape we find ourselves in, and that is where photography plays a huge role. It has the ability to draw out these interconnecting stories that combine and contrast the expanse of nature with individual human agency. The stories that we’re looking for are ones that demonstrate the most empathy with nature. From a simple patio to an architectural aquatic marvel these constructions are becoming physical conversations rather than one-way dialogues. The second theoretical pillar then is individuality. There are multifarious ways to live in a garden and we encourage the inclusion of people within this category to tell a story and to explicitly show personality and character at work within a garden space. These pillars not only help to form the contextual and contemporary home we mentioned at the start, they also help us access a relationship that is both old and strikingly modern. Outdoor Living has the capacity to help us better understand our place in nature - both in our reaction to it and our acceptance of it. In this way both theory and photography exhibit the same parallels: sometimes even the most inspiring and evocative of schemes can only be recognised within the most elegant and meaningful of contexts. Enter Outdoor Living before October 31 2017.
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Doing the Opposite

Doing the Opposite
The winner of the Macro Art Photo Project was Stephen Studd, with his photograph ‘Giant Carrot’. Judges thought it answered the brief perfectly, whilst displaying technical excellence and superb use of shape, texture and colour, resulting in a captivating image. It’s important to share the fact that . . . Stephen has been entering the competition since 2010 and has been awarded with numerous shots over the years but this is his first time to win the award of 1st place. So what’s kept Stephen entering throughout the years? He said: “The competition is the pinnacle for showcasing garden and plant photography. It gives photographers great exposure to the world and has gained a reputation as the competition to enter.” The competition demands so much from photographers and every year they answer category briefs with originality, insightful approaches and new artistic definitions. For the judges, Stephen’s shot all starts with simplicity. Executing a simple idea to great effect can be difficult because it can easily fall short of expectations, here our expectations are challenged by a remarkable display of unusual form, complexity and colour.  Stephen said: “I like the abstract nature of the image and the series I photographed, taking ordinary subjects and photographing them in a completely different way. The idea was to focus in really close on the giant vegetables and create abstract art from them, concentrating on the different textures and patterns on their flesh.” But it’s not just the natural simplicity of the shot which underpins its philosophy. What’s interesting is that the image was produced from an artistic standpoint of doing what others are not. Stephen said: “I was photographing at the Malvern Autumn Show where they have a giant vegetable competition. People at the show were photographing the giant veg in their entirety, but to me the oversized vegetables look rather grotesque. This made me look at the subjects and interpret them in a different way, as on closer inspection they reveal patterns and textures that are not usually seen on ordinary sized veg.” As an artistic reaction to a dominant context, it’s worth noting that in order to produce the best results, it may be worth looking again not just at the subjects but the people and events happening around you. A giant veg show is certainly an apposite occasion to change this perspective, as Stephen says: “If you see the masses doing one thing, do the opposite, it will usually lead you to somewhere far more exciting.” Finding a style, or indeed taking a winning shot, can mean changing direction from a pre-planned journey and diverting the course of normality. Even if you discover it’s not the direction you were hoping to take, the rewards for personal growth are huge - crowds may have wisdom, but individuals have courage. Put it to the test. Enter the next Photo Project here.
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The European Garden Photography Award

The European Garden Photography Award
Drive south-west from Nuremberg for about an hour through pleasant Bavarian countryside and you will reach a splendid baroque castle and estate, belonging to the Barons von Süsskind for eight generations. The connection with IGPOTY doesn’t stretch back quite as far but has been growing in strength, . . . importance and enthusiasm for some time. The European Garden Photography Award celebrates the best photography of private and public European gardens and helps connect winners and the wider audience with diverse and beautiful green subjects across the continent. Working more and more with like minded European partners has been a particular focus for IGPOTY in the last few years and the European Garden Photography Award, run in partnership with Schlosspark Dennenlohe, is fundamental in developing this vision. From these clear macro objectives, we see positive and significant personal outcomes. As former winner, Annette Lepple puts it: “Winning is of course very exciting – it’s an important recognition which makes everything even more worthwhile. It has boosted my career in some ways but IGPOTY and the EGPA has also helped me grow as a photographer, and this is really important to me.” As an international competition which places importance on personal development, the breadth and quality of our transnational relationships help make individual growth possible. And this is what truly makes a competition international. IGPOTY is able to do this not just because we share a professional sense of internationalism with our partners, but because of the way nature and art cut across geopolitical boundaries. When behind a lens, waiting for a sunrise or the joy of discovering a new beautiful garden, one tends to forget the foment of division and tiresome machinations. But art should never exist in a vacuum. For a lot of photographers who enter IGPOTY, or indeed, artists in general, one of the most satisfying outcomes of the work is recognition. As Ulrike Adam, winner of the EGPA Competition 10 said: “I did not expect to win the European Garden Photography Award. For me, the victory is a great recognition of my work and I am able to find many new opportunities and offers. I have had lots of good press as well as discussions for future exhibitions of my work. Internationally I could certainly make a lot more of this as a career now - If only I had the time!” Just as recognition is important on the personal level it also stands for parallel sympathies between organisations and businesses. The results are often surprisingly effective and when it comes to cooperation and partnership, more can always be done. Annette’s parting advice to garden photographers can also be applied to the continued importance of supporting, seeking, and maintaining meaningful relationships, whether individual, national or historical: “Work hard, never give up and look for inspiration.” Upon leaving the Schloss, take a moment to appreciate the baroque facade, unchanged since 1734. It will become apparent this castle was never meant to keep people out. The EGPA award is now open for entries.
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