The 2016 “Drive of Shame”

By the time you read today’s blog post, I will be on the road to Syracuse.

It’s that road trip in August that I’ve sarcastically referred to as “The Drive of Shame.”

Let me explain.

When the New York State Fair sends out its postcards of acceptance or rejection for their photography competition, participants must go back to Syracuse and retrieve the images that were not accepted to hang on the walls of the Harriet May Mills Art Center.  And last Saturday, I received word that of the seven submissions I entered this year – six in the photography contest and my “Cathedral of St. Philco” dollhouse in the dollhouse competition – five of the entries were rejected.

And that’s only because I received five of my seven postcards back.  Two postcards are still in limbo somewhere between the 315 and the 518.  But I can’t wait another day to determine this.  Thus I drive to Syracuse today.  Maybe when I get there, they can tell me in person what happened to my two missing postcards.

The Pew of Holy Innocents. Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens, three images combined in HDR capture. Photo by Chuck Miller.
The Pew of Holy Innocents. Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens, three images combined in HDR capture. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Of the six entries I submitted for the photo contest, the fate of this one – The Pew of Holy Innocents – remains unknown.  Two other postcards – for my infrared shot of the Saratoga paddock path (Backstretch) and my lenticular NIMSLO shot (Lauren and the Leaves) were initially marked as “accepted,” but then the acceptances were scribbled out and “Not Accepted” was circled on those postcards.


Now don’t get me wrong.  I understand that these are very highly competitive salons.  Only the best of the best get in.  And if my photos weren’t among the best … I have to own that.   And for the past two days, all I could think about was what would it take to get back on the walls of the Harriet May Mills Art Center.  Where did I go wrong?  What could I do to make it right?  Should I have swapped out one of my pictures for my Milky Way photo The Heavens Above, The Forest Below?  Should I have rapid-printed my photo of the Perseid meteor that photobombed the Big Dipper, even though I took that picture last Thursday?  Should I could I might I would I…

This is bad.  Competition season 2016 isn’t even half over, and I’m already hyperfocusing on Competition Season 2017.

Display with stained glass view of the Cathedral of St. Philco.
Display with stained glass view of the Cathedral of St. Philco.

And I also have to consider that this is not failure for these photos or for my efforts.  One of the pictures that I’m picking up today is immediately being forwarded to the Durham Fair’s photo salon in September.  Some of these artworks will also be part of my ongoing commitment to Habitat for Humanity of the Capital District, where my art hangs in the new houses being built on Sheridan Hollow.

And The Cathedral of St. Philco is actually earmarked for a special project.  It’s being donated to the Albany Damien Center for their upcoming charity fundraising auction.  So yeah, the little radio-church will still help improve lives, one way or the other.

There’s even still that miniscule chance that the reason I don’t have info on The Pew of Holy Innocents or The Cathedral of St. Philco is because maybe the “accepted” cards were sent in another mailing batch.

This is tough.

And I won’t know until I get to Syracuse and find out.

But I do promise you.  As soon as I know what’s happening with my two remaining entries…

I’ll update this blog post.

I promise.

UPDATE : I just picked up my entries.  And I found out why two of my pics – Lauren and the Leaves and Backstretch –  were marked accepted and then non-accepted.

Apparently so many pictures in the amateur categories made the cut, there was not enough room in the art center to showcase them all.  So they had to do a second judging, and those two entries missed the second cut.

Also missing the cut? The Pew of Holy Innocents, and that was also in the “accepted / not accepted” pile.  I almost had three in the show; but unfortunately when the final tally is tallied, I went zero for six for the second time in three years.  Argh.

That being said, I did receive news about the seventh entry.

You know… The Cathedral of St. Philco.

I went to collect it.

But they won’t release it to me.

Seems things that earn ribbons don’t get released until after the fair is complete.

Yep The Cathedral of St. Philco earned a silk!

What color silk?

I have no idea.

But I’ll find out when the fair opens in a few weeks.

How about that?

UPDATE: I received the post card for The Cathedral of St. Philco this evening, confirming that yes indeed it was the only Chuck Miller piece to do what the other six artworks couldn’t – it will appear as my first non-photographic entry at the Harriet May Mills Art Center at the New York State Fair this year.

philcocardNot bad for an artwork that was originally made just because I wanted to … not because of any competitive plans.

Gee, if this keeps happening … maybe I should take up some other craft for the 2017 competition.

I may need to peruse that premium book when I go to Syracuse this year.

And by “peruse,” I mean with a microscope.