The shoot and share contest is a pretty cool contest where 100,000+ photographers enter worldwide, it is huge. But what is really cool about it, is voting happens by everybody. There is no judging, it is completely anonymous. There was over 450,000K picture entered in this contest, which created 12 rounds of voting!
Take a minute to digest those number. Each photographer was allowed to enter 50 pictures; and if they did they were rewarded with a canvas photographers bag. And I did it- I went all in. I have never entered a photography contest before. I figured eh why not. Last year, I really worked hard at my style, really hard at my technique. I explored, I enjoyed it! I have a serious love affair with photography.
Anyway, getting off track. I entered 50 pictures in there. Some of them were not the greatest that I have done, but they meant something to me. I honestly didn't think I would get very far, but that didn't matter to me because this year I am determined to be very confident in myself, in my skills, in my creative abilities.
But it still didn't save me from the shock of learning, I *ME* Jerrica Russell, had a finalist picture & a top 20%! like Wow. I had some other good performing pictures as well; they didn't get awards (had to be at least top 30% for an award) which is fine; but they still went far. I am good. And this year, I will be on fire. I know I will. And you can be my gasoline!
Sooooo here is the finalist picture:
This picture means sooooo much to me. It wasn't a client, it wasn't any ordinary picture. This particular picture was a picture of my mother-in-law, the day she passed away. She loved her rosary. Her frail skin, her blush pink gown. The way the light hits her. Everything about this kills me. I am glad this picture went far; this picture has so much more meaning than you see. There was so much more behind it! At the same time, this woman here, would be so proud of me right now. She is probably up there jumping for joy- telling me how proud she is. Because she was an amazing supporter. #CancerSucks
The next award I received was a top 20%, which simply means it placed in the top 20%. It did 80% better than others. It was in the family portraits category. I was so proud of this picture too, I love this picture. This picture was one of my main goals this year; to do a silhouette. And I did it. So thanks to this family for this gorgeous session!
There was 48 other pictures entered; while a handful didn't get very far, I did have a couple that were in the top 50%. I wanted to mention those as well.
The above picture was a self-portrait of myself. It is a representation of my body and how I carried 6 gorgeous babies in there. The stretch marks and scars. The mom underwear. My easily bruised skins. My paleness. It looks like it has been through hell, but really, it has grown 6 children to term. It is amazing. It placed 4,837/13,502.
This picture actually ties with my finalist. This is my tattoo on my wrist; it tells me to stay strong. When I am having a rough day, I can look down and rub my wrist, and remember that I *NEED* to stay strong. The necklace has some ashes from my mother-in-law in the heart locket with pendant that says "always with me". It is a reminder that she is always with me. She is part of my two younger children and she is part of the house I live in. She is with me.
I created this as I was learning and playing around with double exposure. It was something I liked a lot. While there was a ton of better double exposure; this one was cute and sweet. I didn't expect it to pull in at 48%! It scored 6,537/13,502.
This one didn't have special meaning to me like the others. I was getting down with a session and looked up at the sky and it looked so beautiful so I took a picture. It scored 6,527/16,373.
This is my youngest little precious princess! This was her cake smash; that she totally dominated! It scored 11,446/28,425.
This is definitely one of my favorite pictures. This mama had just given birth to her beautiful baby boy. This picture is about her relief and joy of having her new baby; but also the pain of the final step in delivery. I was honored to be a part of her journey.
This is my little dude. Laying on the floor watching the iPad. It placed 13,619/35,570.
This was from the beautiful birth of Gavin. The fingers on the side are of his grandmas, it was the one thing that calmed him down. Hopefully, I will get his birth blogged soon! Placed 13,408/29,506
This was from the wonderful fresh 48. If you would like to see more pictures or her story; the previous blog "Fresh 48 at Mercy Lebanon, Missouri" will get you there. Placed 14,719/29,460.
11 pictures made it to top 50%. I don't know about you, but I am sure proud of that! And more than anything I am thankful for everything, I am thankful for the families that have invited me into some of their more personal space. I am thankful for everyone last year, that has helped me along the way. I am proud of where I am today. I am optimistic for where this year will lead.