A few weeks ago, I took part in the 2012 City Block Project in Charlotte, NC. This competition, organised by film and photography enthusiasts Paparazzi (a part of The Light Factory), is open for 24 continuous hours on one block of the city. Photographers can come along at any point during those 24 hours to take photos around that one block (and in this case, because it was at the NC Music Factory, there were lots of venues open to photographers too), and then submit them to The Light Factory online for voting. Anyone who enters the competition gets to vote on all the submissions, with two votes given for each entry. You cannot vote for yourself. This year, 158 entries were submitted.
Yesterday, at The Saloon on the NC Music Factory block, the winners were announced. To cut a long (ish) story short, the photo above (one of three that I submitted) came in joint 4th place! I was pretty gobsmacked at the time (Christine, my oldest friend here, came with me - and came with me on the actual shoot, too - so she can attest to it!) and was really, really happy. It's such a wonderful feeling, especially knowing you were voted there by peers who took part in the same event. The winners' photos were all incredible, and I was glad to see the winning photo, taken in The Fillmore by the sound controls under the lights, as it was my favourite of the whole lot.
We were asked to speak about our photos, but no one did. I couldn't, due to a combination of being shy in front of so many people I didn't know, and wanting to conform to the norm of the other winners, I guess! But the other reason was because the story is pretty simple: I was walking around with Christine, very early on in the evening, and I saw this guy sat outside Queen City Underground (the rehearsal spaces at the Music Factory) having a cigarette break. He looked fantastic against the backdrop of the stoop, with smoke slowly drifting from his lips, so I asked him if I could take his photo. He said yes, so I pressed the shutter. I took two shots of him, this one and one without the smoke. As for post-processing, there wasn't much to be done. I increased red and blue tones and the contrast a little to make it seem slightly more saturated, and I painted out part of the sign to improve the composition. That was it!
The photos will all be on display in The Light Factory until the end of August, and then will be moved to FABO (Fabulous Art Buying Opportunity) cafe in Myers Park for a while, before they are given back to their original photographers. Incredible! I'm so excited to have taken part in this competition, so very pleased and grateful to have placed fourth, and now (as my Dad said to me on hearing that it was this photo that made it) I need to find that man and give him a cigar!