Every year, at the Professional Photographer’s of Canada’s annual convention, Exposure Symposium, an image competition is held for accredited members. There are numerous categories to enter, one of which is Figure Study. At our annual awards gala, held in conjunction with the Symposium, awards are given for the best image in each category. This year’s winner for Best in Class – Figure Study is member Susie O’Connor from Cold Lake, AB.
“My dad, George Fraser started our retail store and studio back in 1992. I worked for, then with my dad as partners for the last number of years. I’ve been a member of PPOC for only a couple of years. I’ve been attending provincial and national conventions as an employee of our studio for ages and I’ve watched my dad enter competitions but never really thought it was a caliber I was up to. I worked hard on my 1st 2 accreditations and received excellence on both of them which gave me the courage I needed to enter salon. 2012 was my first entry in both Provincial and National salon for the PPOC.
This year I received 3 merits and 1 accepted image in print competition at nationals. Three images are real client works; a maternity image, a pet portrait and a headshot for an MMA fighter. I am thrilled with my results, being able to get these scores on a first time National entry was awesome. This is what I regularly photograph, we are a busy photography studio and don’t have a lot of time to “play”.
After the Apple was a new experience for me, I was truly inspired by another artist to create a beautiful piece of art, not for anyone one else but myself. My Inspiration came from a fellow photographer, Tracey Harper’s award winning image Angelic Fresco that received an Excellence and was my absolute favorite image of the print show last year. I just moved into a new house and I thought that would be an incredible portrait in my master bedroom. Of course being a photographic artist I realized to purchase this beautiful piece of art in an appropriate size for my wall was going to far exceed my décor budget. So that gave me inspiration to create my own wall art.
Knowing I wanted a strong, sensual image, I first came up with the concept. I was then able to choose my models and decide on what style of lighting would convey the appropriate mood. The image was worked with a ton of layers. Blending of the 2 bodies was the key and once that was done the rest of the image slowly came together with color toning and overlays, sharpening areas and softening others.
I sent the image off to Provincials where it scored an Accepted and I walked away with my first award for best in class – figure study. I was there during the judging and the judges pointed out what I already realized when they announced the category that I entered it in figure study instead of fine art like I had intended. With my dumb luck the image was a nude so it passed as a figure study anyways. There was a lot of comments and controversy about the image. I was so thankful to be able to attend the judging, I learned so much from the experience I was even able to bend the ear of a judge after the awards banquet to find out his thoughts on how I could improve my image to send it to nationals. He was more than happy to oblige and I just received a merit which I couldn’t be happier about.
The PPOC has opened my eyes to not just taking pretty pictures but that photography is a true art form and it takes time and dedication to develop this beautiful craft. The wonderful master’s in our association are so incredibly generous sharing their years of wisdom; that can only help improve the skills of others that aspire to reach their standings in the photography industry.”
To view more of Susie’s work, please visit: Images Studio