On April 15th, a Facebook notification popped up on my phone saying that I had been mentioned in a comment by a friend. At first, I thought that this was just another comment on a picture my friends were reminiscing about from our university days. I was surprised to find that the comment led me to an article posted by the University of Alberta Museums page – a contest calling for travel-related photographs.
You’d think that most people would immediately read over the entry requirements and submit their work. Me… not so much. I was interested, but I decided to wait and ask what others thought of the opportunity. After talking to my parents, grandparents and boyfriend, I felt that it was worth a shot.
My thought process: what are the chances that you’d actually get picked anyways?
After putting it off for a few days, I decided to give it a shot. With the help of my mother, sister and boyfriend, I narrowed down my 5 best travel-related photos and submitted them before that evening’s deadline. My family were the only ones who knew which pictures I had submitted, and all were hopeful that they would catch the judges’ eyes. However, the excitement was short lived.
Two days later, on April 24th, my grandfather passed away.
Like most people that experience a traumatic loss, I completely forgot about minor details and events that I had done shortly before then – like my photo entries. I spent the next three weeks focusing on my family and coping with the loss of my grandfather.
On May 13th, an email appeared on my phone from the U of A Museums congratulating me for being chosen for the exhibit. In hindsight, I’m sure it would have been a good photo opp because I couldn’t recall what it was for. I just stared at the phone while trying to process the news, which was soon followed by a very delayed smile of excitement. After three hard weeks, I was able to share some good news with my family. A week later, I was thrilled to appear at the opening ceremony to see my work on display with so many other talented photographers.
This exhibit was an excellent opportunity to get my foot in the door as an amateur photographer, as well as a chance to find inspiration for future photographs. After making my rounds, seeing the rest of the exhibit and chatting with everyone I knew who came to support my achievement (or texted because they were out of town), I decided that this would only be the first of many contest entries over the next few years.
If you’re in the Edmonton area, and are interested in checking out the exhibit, please click the banner below for more information!