Scott Younger, Spider Fellow
"I turned professional after winning third place"
I am a very independent person who has taught myself the fine art of black and white photography - camera exposure and the dark room being my favorite parts of the process.
Recognition is important for what one does and, whilst initially reluctant to enter the Black and White Spider Awards (because they were/are Awards), I did. Only because I saw the long, experienced and serious list of knowledgeable people judging. I too take black and white photography very seriously indeed. It is this that I believe makes the Spider Awards the most important in the world of black and white photography.
They can tell whether a photograph has it or not. I have also worked with the staff of the Awards (e.g. their auction in Brazil to raise money for charity etc) and know they are excellent administrators with a penchant for great photography.
I turned professional after winning third place Photographer of the Year in 2004 and now that I do professional work I hope to gain a commission by letting my photographs talk for themselves, but if a customer is in doubt I show them the website of the Black and White Spider Awards, the list of the judges and their organizations. I won that one year! That sways them and gives them confidence in what I am doing.
Happy Walters, Spider Fellow
"Several galleries in the US bought photographs from me."
I shoot because I love the freedom and the way in which photography allows me to interpret the world.
Selling Your Work
Black and White Spider Awards gave me an opportunity to build confidence and it introduced my work to the public. Several galleries in the U.S. contacted and bought photographs from me. I put a site together that has had a great response and it has enabled me to continue to travel and shoot around the world.
Cole Thompson, Spider Fellow
"I received as many contacts from Europe as I did from US"
Being a Photographer of the Year was a huge honor and shaping event for me. Black and White Spider Awards, in a few short years, gained stature and credibility in the B&W art world and that credibility was lent to me last year.
As a result of the Spider Awards, my work was featured in several magazines, opportunities I know that would have never received otherwise. I also made many new friends and was introduced to new buyers of my work. This was my first "international" exposure and it was a great experience. I'd have to say that I received as many contacts from Europe as I did from the US.
It was a great opportunity to start promoting my work internationally. A special treat was to be featured in both Polish and Romanian publications, the countries of my ancestors. I recently visited Poland and my work on Auschwitz and Birkenau will now be featured in a Polish publication. I attribute all of this exposure to my experience with the Black and White Spider Awards.
Julio Hardy, Spider Fellow
"Moved from my former job as CEO of a high-tech company to be a full-time photographer"
After being honored Photographer of the Year at the 2007 Spider Awards in the Amateur category, I've had a lot of exposure which has allowed me to move forward in my photographic career.
Although I have previously participated in other contests earning several awards, winning the Spider Awards gave me a lot of self-confidence, which led to several exhibitions (Rome's Photography Month and Center of Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, amongst others) and being published several times in Black and White Magazine and Camera Arts. Somehow the Spider Awards was a necessary step in the decision to build up my own website and start selling my work to private collectors, and finally to move from my former job as CEO of a medium size high-tech company to be a full-time photographer.
Spider Awards Push
Now I'm finally doing what I really want to do and therefore I have extremely enhanced my quality of life. That would have been impossible to do, I guess, without the "push" the Spider Awards gave me in 2007. I know there's still a lot to be done (getting gallery representation, for instance), and now I'm working and travelling a lot developing documentary projects in Latin America and Eastern Europe. In brief, thanks to Black and White Spider Awards I was able to convince myself that I could become a professional photographer, as I did.