I am glad, I didn't win the IPA contest

Added on by Ridzki.

Invisible Ph t grapher Asia (don't ask where the "o" are, they did write it that way) conducted a Street Photography contest a month back. To make story shorts, I sent three of my street shots hoping that I would win the "Classic Street Kit" which consist of:

  • A great shooter/user condition black repainted LEICA M2 Rangefinder Camera. This is one of our very own cameras we use for street photography.
  • A brand new Nokton 35mm F/1.4 Lens kindly sponsored by Chiif Cameras, Official Voigtlander Dealer.
  • An original IPA SUNNY 16 Dog Tag.
  • 3 rolls of Kodak TRI-X film in a 35mm Ammo Sleeve that we designed ourselves and use.

(or probably that's too much, being a finalist is more than enough for me.)

Then I waited in anticipation as they announced the 20 finalist, literally one by one and as the title implied I did not win. Strangely as the fact come to me, all the tension I had was slowly diminishing. When I got my head through and see the photographs by the finalist, I can say that I am glad I didn't won and I have learn these few things:

  1. Indonesia harbours a lot of Street Photographers, out of 20 there's 6 Indonesians become a finalist. I believe that if only we discovered camera first probably people will cite an Indonesian as a father of street photograph rather than Cartier-Bresson.
  2. In relation to #1 we didn't need to go to Paris or Europe to have good street shots. The subjects, terrains, cultures here in Asia are different but that didn't stop great pictures being made right? I'd say take our camera everyday and take a shot at anything that interest us.
  3. At first I am still confused about the definition of Street Photography. What is it, try to capture the decisive moment? the symmetry? the action? the finalist entries allow me to see a pattern, a pattern so obvious but I couldn't put it into words yet (confused? yes it is also making me more confused). However, to enlighten the people at IPA  said that  "there needs to be more happening within the frame for it to hold its ground as a good street photograph", while that this is what the people there say, we mustn't forget  that photography is a very subjective matter, what they perceive as good, might not be your cup of tea. I'd say rather that contradicting their choices we need to learn from the best (entering competition is one), our mistakes and create our own vision of street photography.

So why did I am glad that I didn't win? simply because the finalits' works have tell me something I didn't know before or something that I oversee. That something (in which I couldn't explain as well) might not be coming to me when I become one of the finalists.

So I believe that's about it, might write a little bit more when I can think of something or figuring out that "something". In the mean time congrats for all the finalists and head over to this page to see the slideshow of their works.