14th May2015

SEPPA 2015/IPC 2015: “The tribe has spoken” – the images that didn’t make the cut…

by Christine

*****This post is SAFE for 2015 IPC/GIA Judges*****

It is done. The whirlwind that is PPA District competition season is over.

Thank. Goodness.

SIDEBAR: In addition to entering two districts, I spoke and judged at the state conventions for Montana and West Virginia as well as worked the Ohio Convention/Northeast District Competition. *whew!* Obviously my time management skills need refined in a major way – my hat’s off, once again to the judges that have done this for years, you obviously have this down to a science and possess superior organizational skills.

For you results oriented folks – the official results are HERE.

For you number-crunching geeks – by my calculations (unofficial, of course) there were 959 total entries, 439 scored 80 or above (45.78%) and 520 (54.22%) did not. There were seven 100’s. Seven.

Yes, I know that IPC has yet to open, but that’s a whole other blog post all by itself. I’ll get to that later.

And now, for a story:

My first PPA-level competition was the 2010 Mid-East Regionals. It was the last year before PPA reorganized us into Districts.

Back then, image competition was prints only, and I remember that I ordered 11 physical prints of 4 image files in order to get my final case of 4 entries. I don’t know if money was growing on trees back then, or what, but I ordered multiple copies of almost every image. Some on different papers, some from different labs, and some were reprints after making “one last tweak.”

I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.

Five years later, in 2015, I prepared to enter the Northeast District with quite a different set of circumstances.

I had changed my attitude about print competition a number of times over the past year. I tried a variety of new things. Probably too many. OK, definitely too many. Like the kid in a candy store, I flitted from one shiny thing to another until I’d made myself quite dizzy. And sick.

In my twisted journey of discovery, I went in so many different directions that I wound up with 8 possible images for Northeast District. I’m sure some are envious of such a “problem,” but for the artist in me, it caused me great consternation.

I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.


By the time I whittled those eight down to the final four, my case was a reflection of the turmoil I’d felt as an artist over the past number of months. It was split down the middle. Two color images and two black and whites. Those who know my work, know me to work almost exclusively in black and white portraits for competition.

But this year, I was questioning… my art… my self… my style…

For the first time my case did not contain four portraits.

For the first time, I created images as an extension of my soul – from anger to annoyance to spite to heartbreak; I can point to each image and tell you what corner of my heart it came from. Some of it was a pushing of my technical skills and some of it was just pushing my heart.

For the first time I paid for someone else to retouch and print some of my entries. I’ll get to that later, too.

For the first time I entered in other states’ competitions as a non-member. Yet another topic we’ll chat about later.

For the first time I entered more than one district. My scores at Northeast were 88,83,82, and 79. I took the 79 , changed it and added in 3 more portraits to make a case for Southeast District, where the 79 blossomed into an 85 and the three portraits got 80’s.

I still wound up with 2 competition prints I didn’t use at all. And I have this perverse need to reprint the 79/85.

And at the end of it all, I still have no idea what I’m doing.

Or at least it feels that way.

I feel a little sorry for the 3 80’s from my SEPPA case. I feel like I just orchestrated a print competition version of Survivor…

Yeah, I sent you guys to tribal council. Sorry for your luck, you’re outta here.

Although I have not made my final choices for my IPC 2015 case, I have narrowed the field and here are the images that did not make the cut.

These two orchids were shot in 2014 and reworked so many times I’m just tired of looking at them. Since the bulk of my work is low key portraits, I know these high key florals are just about the exact opposite and some of my meh attitude is that they are so different from the norm. They don’t interest or excite me. I don’t know – they really never had a chance. They never made it into comp. They’re the old maids of image competition. I also worked them up and had them printed VERY early, like back in December-early, so they were at a bit of a disadvantage to begin with. Poor little things – at least they have each other…

Orchid 1 - Rejected

Orchid 1 – Rejected

Orchid 2 - Rejected

Orchid 2 – Rejected

 Next up for eviction are these three portraits. The each scored an 80 at SEPPA (not my district so they didn’t “seal”) but for me, an 80 isn’t a strong enough score to indicate to me that it’s the best choice as the 4th image for my IPC case.

So, torches have been extinguished for:


Jonathan, the tribe has spoken…

The Benchsitter

Bryon, the tribe has spoken…

and last, but not least…

Kyle, the tribe has spoken...

Kyle, the tribe has spoken…

Stay tuned for the next episode of Survivor, IPC 2015 …

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