Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Sunday Night Question

In the last couple of weeks, two photography events / competitions have been announced and both events have age limits;  one is 35 and the other is 40.

So tonights question is:

What do you think about age requirements in photography competitions?

(in responding, please include your age)

23 comments:

  1. I think it is a load of garbage. I'd like to know which competitions you are referring to, so I could read any information that is posted about the decision to have a limitation. Unless it is a "young documentary photographer" competition or something of that nature, it's crap. I don't give a damn about the age of the button pusher, if the picture is significant then that's what it is. Maybe we should start having white's only photo-competitions as well!?!?

    Then again maybe this is a new measure to prevent an over load of cat picture submissions...

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  2. I wrote about this on my blog here.

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  3. At age 47, I think it's complete BS. They have the right to do it; I guess they think the work of us old codgers is going to take away their contest's coolness or hipness.

    Since it takes many artists decades of diligent work to find their voice and do their best work, artistic considerations are obviously NOT what's behind this nonsense.

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  4. Anyone has a right to do anything. Unfortunately, that means exclusion or inclusion of parties that on some level, someone or many will disagree with. This is also unfortunate, because people will impart their will onto others for reasons that many will not find legitimate and ultimately cause harm to some.

    No on can make the whole world or photography community happy. There are so many in/exclusions for everything in the world-when it is a world of plenty/over-abundance of information flooding us every moment, we have to narrow in on what is of personal interest.

    We can continue to discuss this over and over, as many have for years past and years to come, but the real area of interest in this concern for me, is where the positive or negative emotions about age restrictions come from. This issue from start to finish seems completely comprised of ego. If we are to let go of ego, then the only competition we have is within our own selves.

    -Rachel, 25.5 years, but does that really even matter? Age really is irrelevant when dealing with conscious or philosophy of the mind. Experience and inner desire for questioning is more important than holding the answer (to any dilemma), which will not come with being 20, 40 or 100.

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  5. I'm 30 so I still fit the criteria of most restricted competitions. Maybe that's why I'm not yet against them. I know I'm always excited to see kids under 25 doing good work, just because it is so rare. I also enjoy women only competitions. Both level the field a little bit for those underrepresented or those just breaking in. In general, all these "contests" are so ubiquitous and so overpriced, I don't think I would really mind being barred from some of them.
    signed: nadia sablin (I don't have a blog yet)

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  6. Whatever. I'm far too old (50) and have been at this far to long (30 years?! damn I am old!) to be emerging. At this point we need a new category for us old guys who are still hacking away in obscurity, maybe submerging photographers! You know, one foot in the grave kind of thing. It's mine, I said it!

    I say, give the kids a chance. Let them beat each others brains out in these "competitions" while us geezers just keep on adding to the piles of images that our kids will put in a dumpster when we die.

    Geez, that bbq'd chicken sure did make me feisty! Well, off to read the latest issue of AARP magazine in my recliner.

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  7. Damn, I guess I'm the old coot here (at least so far) at 59. Yes, those who run competitions have the right to do whatever they want. But it really bugs the hell out of me that the word "emerging" is always equated with being young. Liz certainly said it either as well or better than I ever could in her blog post so I'll let that speak for me.

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  8. Honestly, any competition with a restriction like this is going to alienate or disappoint a segment of the overall population. Human nature makes us want to be included in everything. No one wants to feel left out, no matter the reason behind it. If there were an over forty competition then I'd be ecstatic, but then the young ones would be bummed. Truly though, "emerging" has nothing to do with age. There are some great photographers out there with whom this is their second or third career, so there is no way they are going to fit into young and emerging both. For me though, I've always said no matter how much older I get, I still have the mind of a twelve year old....

    I propose someone do a "Mid Life Crisis" competition to even the score.

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  9. I can see the need for (possibly) segmenting submissions into professional and emerging. I don't think a person's physical age should qualify or disqualify them for either category. For instance, a person may have been a designer or a painter most of their life then later picked up a camera and discovered a real calling.... they ARE emerging, but may be 50!
    Or perhaps, in my case, I found the perfect confluence between photography and digital processing which only fairly recently has become extremely useful to me. I am eager to adopt the new, so feel young but I am close to 60 if that has any relevance.

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  10. I don't like age limits for submissions. But maybe there is justification for having them. As we get older we gain life experience and possibly financial stability which could give us an advantage over younger artists. (I just turned 40 and I'm still feeling a bit inexperienced.)

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  11. I am 66 and my best work is ahead of me. This is such a crock!

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  12. 28. Talent is talent. Most dont have it. Some do. Everyone wants to know but none want to pay.

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  13. 40+ I always feel that most people learn their craft in university but don't really have anything to say until afterwards, when they go and have life experience. I don't like the idea of age limits. A lot of people come to photography later in life... and basically we are all on different life schedules. A lot of tremendous works will be missed out on because of such limits... pity

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  14. Emmerging can happen at any age....I'm 58....and until about 4 years ago my photography was only ever thought of as a hobby. Then I decided that I had something to show the world with my photography and started looking around. When I saw these age restricted contests, I was shocked! If they want new and fresh ideas being presented in the art, then make the requirement more in line with that. Age has NOTHING to do with emerging as an artist.

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  15. 41 and a half ;-)
    As a person who discovered my love for the medium of photography in my mid 30's (when it was already too late to enter these competitions) I find it absurd that some competitions define the word emerging according to age.
    I would like to hear from some of the people organizing these competitions... what are their comments justifying the decision for an age barrier?... How do they define the word emerging?... perhaps David you could contact them and find out their side of the story?

    I think it was "Women in Photography" that recently lifted an age barrier on one of their juried competitions... though I didn't enter that competition, I wrote and thanked them for their decision... it would be interesting to hear from them about that decision too.

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  16. At 50, I can see that with age comes a certain amount of perspective and wisdom. I certainly think and shoot differently that I did when I was 30. I can't see the point of cutting out photographers that potentially have the most experience.

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  17. 55. Isis, yes, Humble Arts dropped the age restriction for 31 Women in Photography because they realized that "emerging" had nothing to do with age. Magenta's Flash Forward still has an age barrier, limiting that competition to younger photographers. This kind of restriction may well discriminate against women who are more likely to take time out to raise kids. I like Noah's idea that older artists are possibly more financially stable--but, in fact, only "possibly" so. Money, like talent, is not necessarily distributed along some sort of age continuum. As for wisdom and experience, well, Melville wrote Moby Dick when he was 32; Twain wrote Huck Finn when he was 50. Etc. Great literature/visual art/music has been produced by people of a variety of ages/genders/cultures. Good art is about manifesting vision (understanding) that has depth, which usually comes from suffering, which, in turn, often, but not always, occurs over time. You can make a case, I think, for trying to reverse discriminatory trends--say, opening competitions to women photographers only, since they have definitely gotten the short straw for some time. I don't think the same can be said for young photographers.

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  18. At 60 this year, I've had probably more than my share of notoriety. I'm all for giving new people a shot. So I'm all in favor of "emerging artists" restrictions, but not age related restrictions. I know a few old farts that are doing some interesting work and deserve some exposure.

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  19. It is my position that all photography/art competitions are bullshit. Age limits only serve to accentuate this.

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  20. Bill... great minds think alike ;-)

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  21. Mark Page and I addressed this exact issue when we started Expiration Notice- an online magazine that was geared towards emerging photographers 40 and over. It uhhh... died young, after three solid issues that featured some pretty kick ass work. It became obvious to me since the publication of our first issue that without any kind of commercial, non profit or other name backing, our outreach would be limited and quality submissions would dry up- exactly what happened.

    One of my personal goals was to eventually reach those photographers whose exceptional work I'd seen in galleries back in the seventies and eighties and have since disappeared into relative obscurity. That's the great thing about photography- when it's truly good, it withstands the test of time despite the age of the photograph or the photographer.

    Fifty four and still working it towards that lifetime achievement award...

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  22. I'm coming late to the party but thought I'd write a post responding to this question, see here:

    http://elizabethflemingphotography.blogspot.com/2010/04/over-hill.html

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