The evolution of the cottage snapshot

By Penny Caldwell »Penny Caldwell

Photo contest entries are better than ever

November 3rd, 2011


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Guest post by Blair Eveleigh, senior associate editor

Take a look at this picture, right there on the left. Wow. That’s an amazing shot. The photographer, Steph Currie (way to go, Steph!), may have been in the water all summer trying to capture that unusual and unexpected moment. It’s an incredible achievement, and one of those photos that was close, but didn’t quite make the winner’s circle in our photo contest last year. That’s the thing about our annual contest: There is a lot of great photography, and I mean a lot.

For this year’s contest we had more than 10,000 submissions, the most ever in the 22 years that Cottage Life has been asking its readers to send in their shots. That’s a big pile of snaps, or would be, if the entries weren’t in electronic form now. And many of those photos are good; indeed, many of them are outstanding. If you look back at the winning pictures from the early years of the contest, you’ll see that they’re good photos that capture a slice of the cottaging lifestyle, but they don’t always have, let’s say, the artistry of the contemporary entries. Taking photos has gotten easier, what with smartphones and cheaper digital cameras, and people are taking more photos, because it’s not a big deal to snap a thousand shots and then erase most of them, keeping only the very best. And those very best, to my eye, are richer and more complex than the earlier contest entries were. The compositions are more thoughtful and the stories they tell more intriguing. The field of photography has matured in the last few decades and our amateur cottage photographers have become more accomplished as well. Congratulations to all the entrants.

I’ve been a judge for the contest for a few years and, let me tell you, judging is not an easy job. Wait, no, it actually is an easy job, because there are so many worthy pictures to choose from. The hard part, however, is narrowing it down to the handful that will get prizes. That’s always a challenge, albeit a welcome challenge. You can see this year’s winning shots in our Winter 2011/12 issue, due in your mailboxes any day now and on newsstands starting Nov. 14.

Also, check out our new Cottage Life 2012 Calendar, which features 12 stunning photo contest entries, not to mention tons of cottage trivia and dates to remember. Betcha don’t know when Squirrel Appreciation Day is!

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Penny Caldwell