I hate feeling cheated. I really do.
Here’s the thing. I enter photography competitions with the understanding that if I get any of my artworks to the award stage, I’m happy, and if I don’t get them to the award stage, I try harder for next time.
Last November, my friend Melissa Simser Iovino (she’s the track photographer at Saratoga Casino Hotel, it’s her great photos of the harness horses that you see there) entered a photo competition from a company named LensCulture. I also entered the competition, I thought it would be fun.
As I chronicled in this blog post, the challenge was to enter five black-and-white photos, and for an additional $50, you would receive – win or lose – a written review of your work, both positive and critical, from the LensCulture judges.
All right. Five images submitted – including Washington County 2:30 a.m., The Walkway, The Jumbuck, Lane 2 and Farrell – and an additional $50 for the review. This was back in November.
In December, LensCulture announced their entrants for the 2018 Black and White competition. 39 photographers were selected. Neither I nor Melissa were among the 39 photographers.
Oh well. I’ve missed out with competitions before. But I’d at least like to see what the judges thought of my work. I mean, I paid for my portfolio review, I’d at least like to know what I’m doing right and what I need to improve.
February. Nothing. The submission reviews were promised by February.
March. Nothing. I ask Melissa if she received a submission review. She said she did not.
It’s now June. I’m getting requests from LensCulture to submit to new competitions. And I never received my submission review. Neither did Melissa. So that’s $50 from both of us down the drain.
Now maybe you have $50 you can throw in the trash, but I don’t. And contacting LensCulture by e-mail or through their website has been maddeningly difficult. In April, they actually sent me a survey asking about my experience in the recent call for art.
I wrote “I never received my submission review” in every blank on the form and sent it back. Figured that would get their attention.
Okay. I get it. Here’s the thing, LensCulture. Photographers want to improve our crafts. We want to create amazing images and share our skills and get better. So don’t promise us something – charge us for the opportunity – and then not even deliver on the promise.
Because that causes two things to happen. It makes me less likely to trust photography contests. And it makes me less likely to recommend good competitions to my friends and blog readers. Trust me, “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” isn’t just a song by an 80’s hair metal band.
So here’s how you can make this up to us. Provide us with the submission reviews that we paid for. Or refund our $50 each.
The ball’s in your court, LensCulture. Whatever happens next … needs to be made correct with both myself and Melissa.
If you don’t have our submissions any more, just say so and we’ll send copies.