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2022 International Photographic Competition

Woman in black leotard pushing up off one hand with other hand behind her head. Legs are kicked up in a pike position.
Defying Gravity — IPC 2023 Image Excellence

The 2022 International Photographic Competition, hosted by Professional Photographers of America (PPA), was held in October of 2022. All four of our images were judged for Image Excellence, the highest category, meaning that we earned the Diamond Award, the highest award designation. Only about 30 photographers received diamonds for their submissions in 2023.

Our IPC Story

The 2022 International Photographic Competition (IPC) was the final iteration of a format that went back many years. IPC is a juried competition against a standard. You submit up to four images, which is your case, harkening back to when you mailed in a physical case of prints. A given image can receive one of three ratings: “did not merit,” “merit,” and “image excellence.”

If any of your images fails to merit, your case receives no awards. If all 4 images merit, you are a Bronze Photographer. For each image that earns image excellence, you go up a level through, silver, gold, platinum, and finally diamond for have all 4 images judged for image excellence.

This will be the case I remember always. I had received my merit rating in the first round of judging, so I knew at the start of the day that I was a bronze photographer. I felt optimistic that one or two images should get Image Excellence, but you never know.

IPC is judging the images as portraits, not dance. Most judges don’t know a sickle from a wing, so it is really about making them feel something beyond any technique. It makes it harder to guess how the judges view a given image.

Before this year, my best case awards were bronze, and the one time I had Image Excellence designations, one image didn’t merit, so that case didn’t receive an award. I was slightly disappointed that my case wouldn’t receive gold, but on the plus side, I earned enough merits to receive my Master of Photography from PPA, so I was thrilled.

I started the day knowing that I was a bronze photographer because all four images received their merits in the first round. The images go before the judging panels randomly, with more than one panel, so you must watch the live stream closely and hope the notification system works (it helps to know which panel will be judging your photo). The photos entered the judging rooms, and one by one, the judges awarded each image the designation of Image Excellence. With each step, it was my best result, and I was happy.

When the last image appeared, it felt like the end of a tight championship game. Was my case platinum or diamond? When the final image received the nod, it felt like confetti needed to be dropping from the ceiling!

So, wow! We earned our Diamond this year, which is huge. Only about 30 photographers out of about 1000 who entered merited a diamond.

2022 IPC Results

Grand Imaging Award Finalist

Several years back, a friendly competition was added, where the judges picked their top 10 images in each of 12 categories (seniors, portrait, wildlife, commercial, babies, etc.). One image, “Defying Gravity,” was given the nod in the Seniors category as a Grand Imaging Award finalist. At the convention, one image from the 120 finalists became the Grand Imaging Award winner. It was a gorgeous image…

Why Bother with IPC?

Submitting to the IPC has been an excellent tool for honing my craft. Receiving feedback from seasoned professional photographers anonymously is a fantastic way to get feedback.

Art on Display

And no, your eyes do not deceive you. The Grand Imaging Award finalist image, “Defying Gravity,” is on display as part of the Creative Greensboro “Arts in the City” program and was on display from mid-November through the end of 2023 around downtown Greensboro.

About Fine Art Photography

The goal of Andrew Bowen Studios is to help artists to thrive. When a Fine Art Photo sells, 20% of the net proceeds go to the dancer to support their career.