Well, I am still recovering after, what has turned out to be, a very surreal, yet amazing few days.
I was asked to do a presentation at the Guild Of Photographers Awards weekend, little did I know that the weekend would leave me emotionally drained… but in good way !!
I have to say that I was really worried about giving my talk – not worried about standing up and delivering it, I’ve done that lots of times – but worried that I would bore the pants of those people who attended.
On Friday I sat through 3 fantastic talks that proceeded mine and each time I questioned myself as to why I had agreed to participate. What could I tell them that they didn’t already know?. My images – according to lots of people I have had the “pleasure” of meeting over the years – wasn’t proper photography, instead it was a case of “good computer skills”. Many of the people at the conference were professional/semi professional photographers of some repute, very skilled and very well known in their particular field. Me? I was/am just an enthusiastic amateur. Oh dear…. my heart began to sink, could I run away and hide?
My turn to talk… I took a deep breath and off I went and I have to say, by the reaction of the people that attended it went very well. So from feeling like a fish out of water I now had people asking if I would mentor them, would I do a one to one session with them, could they book on my next workshop and I lost count of the number of business cards I had thrust in my hand. This was beginning to feel really unreal !
That night I couldn’t get to sleep because my brain wouldn’t stop thinking about what people had said and how enthusiastic they had been about my presentation…..and then I woke up at ridiculous o’clock (4:30am) and couldn’t get back to sleep ! Saturday was full of great presentations and then the Awards Ceremony – which was a black tie affair ! GULP !
I have to admit when I attended the dinner I really did feel like I was in the wrong place ! I never ever attend such events, so felt totally awkward, even though people were very kind to me and included me in their conversations. Even though I can stand up in front of 200 people and give a talk I am quite shy (yes I know …. unbelievable) and find it difficult trying to join or break into other peoples conversations or groups, I would rather sit on my own and “be quiet”.
So now the meal was finished and the award ceremony proper began. We were all given a beautiful book containing all of the short listed images – and without exception they were exceptional ! Having carefully studied each glorious page I was totally convinced I didn’t have a chance of an award, even though I had 3 pictures (in two categories) shortlisted.
The runner up and then winner of each category was announced and the recipient went up to collect their awards… now it came to my category. Creative and Digital Art and then to my utter UTTER amazement my name was called out as the winner. I was gobsmacked and had to go up to collect the award (a certificate, a glass trophy and a framed print of my winning image). I had to negotiate a tripod with a camera on it that was recording the event – and for those who know how clumsy I am you will know how much that bothered me ! Nonetheless, I negotiated the obstacle and collected the trophy – which was glass – without dropping it ! Hurrah. Lots of smiling faces …….but not as smily as mine.
I rushed out of the room to ring John (my husband) to tell him that I had won the category and of course he was delighted for me. I finally got back to my seat (I had been stopped by a few people en route who were congratulating me on my success) so when I eventually sat down they were announcing the Image Of The Year (Judges Award) for 2017 and I nearly fell off my chair when my name was announced as the winner – I was in total shock and sat with my head in my hands for a little while – I think a gentle nudge encouraged me to get to my feet .
When I crossed the floor to be presented with the award I became aware that there were lots of people on their feet cheering, whooping and clapping … a standing ovation. I was beside myself in shock and joy. WOW ! I was asked to say something and managed to say a few words.
At this stunning event there was so much to take in – the hall was full of younger people than I usually see around my photographic world (PAGB/BPE Comps , Photographic Clubs). I am more use to being in a room full of gentlemen of a certain age but here there were so many young woman (who were also being awarded various top honours), everyone was friendly and I wasn’t told once that “what you do isn’t real photography”. I had people wanting to shake my hand, ask me questions, asking if they could “please have their photo taken with me?” …. all very surreal as I said before. I had so many lovely comments and congratulations that when I went back to my room I was still awake at 3am trying to process it all and here I am at 5:30pm still trying to precess it !
This was one of the best few days in my photographic life and to those of you who I met and made it so special for me you have my heartfelt thanks.
You made an old lady very happy !!