I am very happy to announce that I received the prestigious Master of Photographic Arts Designation (MPA), through the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC) this year.
As I am writing this, it’s also the weekend of the National Canadian Imaging conference when the official presentation takes place. As with anything this year, (due to the presence of the current Covid-19 restrictions in place), conferences and and usual network gatherings are still proceeding online as in- person events seem like a distance thought.
Understanding, of course, given the current situation, but nevertheless admittedly disappointing not being able to see friends and colleagues from across Canada or to invite family members to the ceremony and banquet to celebrate with.
A Master of Photographic Arts designation through the PPOC is achieved by accumulating a required number of image and service merits. In the past, (prior to the Covid closures), there is a Gala night where everyone would be dressed in their best, designations would be presented and awards announced to those who had the highest scoring images for different categories including “Photographic Artist of the Year”. It’s always amazing to see the amount of hard work and creativity that people in one room can produce. What an honour it always is to be surrounded by some of the world’s best photographers.
There are thousands of hours put into achieving the MPA designation, which is earned in two levels – through print competition and through service in the industry.
In a yearly print competition, images are judged by a panel of Accredited and Master Photographers and awarded a score. And I’m telling you, this is where you find out how thick your skin is- it’s definitely nerve wracking! If it’s not accepted at all, then it’s because the image doesn’t meet the minimum criteria and is based on a number of factors- Impact, Creativity, Style, Composition, Presentation, Colour Balance, Centre of Interest, Lighting, Subject Matter, Technique and Story Telling. If it does meet the minimum criteria, then there are three levels of scoring it can fall into, to be entered into the image salon (Accepted, Merit or Excellence). This year, I will also be taking the judging clinic as well, and excited to start my journey as a qualified provincial and national judge for the PPOC.
I can’t wait to see how the awards gala goes tonight (winners will be posted up on www.ppoc.ca website). I want to applaud all of my fellow Professional Photographers of Canada for contributing such inspiring work that has helped get me to this point. I have had many wonderful mentors over the years and glad I stuck with it. If you are starting out on your photography journey, my advice is to find a group of mentors or an association that will help push you. Nobody grows by being comfortable. If you are uncomfortable or nervous about something, then that’s a great thing! It means you care and it’s important to you. Photography related, or not, learning new skills is tough! I wish you the best in your own journey and encourage you to push yourself, fail, learn and push again until you complete your goals.
Jackie Standing, MPA (Accredited Photographer)