Fire the little Devil.

I was a bit absent this week!  I had some special projects that I was working on that proved to be quite eventful.

Ben alerted me to THIS PHOTO CONTEST sometime last week which got the wheels turning in my head. I was particularly struck by the qualification that the images had to be taken on June 14-15.  What a way to level the playing field huh?!  No pulling out the fabulous shot from somewhere in our past, but limit everyone to particular days. I spent a good few days  while out on my morning bike rides thinking about what I could possibly come up with.  I figured I would have to pull out all the creativity I had to come up with something that would even stand a chance.

The shoots themselves went fabulously well.  My creative vision and preparation all fell together nicely. It was afterward that everything seemed to fall apart.

Yesterday was the submission deadline.

If there could be a day with a series of bad events, this would have been one of them.

I lost my voice and can’t speak.  Totally bizarre and annoying for everyone including myself.  My hard drive corrupted all my images on 3 attempts for each import and export.  My computer decided it was on vacation and couldn’t be rushed.  I submitted my images to the photo lab, which managed to incorrectly print the enlargement dimensions twice, and I had several other scheduled sessions and classes that fell into the mix of needing my attention.

Knowing I was down to the wire, I grabbed a quick cheap plastic frame from home, cut my mistakenly printed image by hand with a pair of dull scissors, and headed to the submission location.

I walked into a room full of photographers and saw the AMAZING work already submitted.  AMAZING.  Landscapes and still life images that made my mouth drop. Many other stunning images, all museum quality work in beautifully framed displays.  I stared down at my pitiful display in the awful cheap frames with no matting and sticker smudges on the glass front.  I felt like the girl who showed up in tattered jeans and an old T-shirt at a cocktail party.  OUT. OF. PLACE.

I heard my own words come back to haunt me from the business workshops I taught in the past, “It’s all about presentation!  The way you present your images will make you look like a better photographer!”

I stared at the entry form for several minutes, wondering if I could somehow disappear or withdraw from the contest with no one noticing.  You see, I sort of missed the part about the images being on display at the well respected Summerfest Arts Faire all week and up for auction…  Yeah.  No one in their right mind was going to buy my image the way it looked, regardless of how strong the image may have been.  I should just quit.  Give up.  Go home and try again next year with my new golden insight.

The little devil on my shoulder who makes a living shouting insults and discouragement was working overtime. Despite his suave skills, I made a hasty decision and decided that I wasn’t going to have gone to all that work for nothing.  I left quickly, dashed to Michaels, and bought a mat and frame for each of my images.  I may come in last, but at least I was going to look good better doing it.

I’m obviously new at this contest stuff.  The only other photography contest I have ever entered was in the 7th grade for the PTA Reflections contest.  I totally won 1st place thanks to being the only entry 🙂  I think the bar has been slightly raised since then.

You can imagine now my surprise, amazement, and humility when I was notified of the results of the Summerfest contest.  It was a good lesson to me about not listening to the little Devil.  Beverly Sills said,

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.”

May we all fire the little Devil’s and never quit trying.

(More background on these projects later.)  May I present, my two entries:

“The Mozart Effect”


“A Change in the Wind”


Congrats to all the other winners and amazing entries.  Like I said, their work was absolutely stellar and I am honored and humbled to even be allowed to hang in their crowd.  All the entries will be on display through Saturday at the Logan Summerfest Art Faire.

avatarBrooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah. She is a proud new mother to a humorous baby boy with hair that sticks straight up in the back. They enjoy walking and biking a lot… it helps stimulate creative brain power, challenge the extra pounds, and they discover the ultimate secret photo locations on their daily jaunts.

Brooke teaches private photography lessons as well as monthly photography classes in Logan, Utah.

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19 Responses

  1. You’re so my hero! I would have walked out and never returned…for real. What a great sense of pride in knowing how amazing you are to fix it up and go for it – guess I should take that attitude and put it toward the things that I do 🙂

  2. These are beautiful! I LOVE LOVE them! I guess I am kind of glad my application didn’t make to the office on time. I would have REALLY been out of my league! I’ll keep practicing for next year!
    You are an inspiration! 🙂

  3. Congrats Brooke! I LOVE the images. I am inspired to go out with my girls and take some pic’s of them with our chickens! Thanks for the inspiring post.

  4. How did you achieve that wonderful Mary Poppins effect? Love it! Good for you! Wish I could go to the Summerfest this year and see them in person! 🙂

  5. Absolutely INCREDIBLE! I love them both… especially the second one I think!?! Or the first?!! They are both amazing! I can’t decide. That is so awesome! Congratulations! 🙂

  6. Wow! Thank you for sharing the story behind the success. I was recently in a similar situation, and I’m glad I fought the urge to run screaming from the building 🙂 You’re amazing, and these pictures are absolutely wonderful! Way to go.

  7. Nicely done, Brooke. Congrats on the honors. What a ride you had to get there! Hope your voice came/comes back soon.

  8. Great images! Love the second one, and I love the story about the little devil. He works overtime most days doesn’t he. Way to not give up. Even if you wouldn’t have won the contest, you still defeated the devil!

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