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Thank You

It has been a wonderful wave to ride this last week, the positivity that has, and continues to flow from the awards celebrations has been overwhelming. Trying to keep up with responding to all the positive feedback is a lovely place to be.

As I look at my diary for the weeks ahead, reality will undoubtedly hit with that ever so loud thump, but until then Im going to sit here a little while longer and enjoy the crest of the wave with you all.

It was by far, our best event yet. The buzz started during our ‘Meet The Masters’ open day. Huge thanks must go to all the trade, speakers and creative team who supported us all. I can not stress just how much the support from The Trade to our members means for The Association, without it, these events would not be possible. Over the coming months when you get the opportunity, it would be great if you could introduce yourself to members of our trade supporters and see what their community is all about. Because without that collective community, we the photographer, have no place to call home.

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It has been wonderful to watch as relationships flourish between The MPA and other photographic communities within the industry too. The friendship and support the SWPP have shown to the Association these last 12 months has been a pleasure to receive, they have opened their arms to us as much as we have opened ours to them, and seeing both Phil and Juliet celebrate with our members, providing a great prize for our awards, as well as the support they show the MPA in general has been welcomed greatly.

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Every merit winner of our awards is celebrated. It is no easy task to be awarded a merit, that 80 score point needed comes at a price, the price of what it costs to learn the skills of your trade, the late nights and early mornings, burnt dinners, and missed time with family and friends as you perfect your ability to create stunning images. The unspoken price of what it costs to explore your creativity and be recognised as a master of your craft. I know, I’ve been there, along with all those who judge the competition images, and because we understand the price you paid to earn that Merit, we celebrate all that it took to you achieve it wholeheartedly.

If you didn’t get a merit this time, please please … keep trying! As a past entrant myself (and you have no idea just how much I miss being able to take part in the competition) I know what it means to feel disheartened by not receiving one, I also know what it means to keep pushing yourself until you achieve your goal of standing on that stage as a winner, and the hard work that is needed to uphold the title. Non of it is easy, and I personally applaud every single person who enters awards.

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Our merit winners images were showcased with great pride for all to see, its a wonderful sight to behold walking into the exhibition, seeing those amazing banners that drape the rotunda in honour of you, the talented image makers that you are. The Print Foundry must be thanked for all their input, determination and late nights to get the exhibition to the wow factor that they do for us all.

Opening the gala with our merit winners and celebrating every single nominee has been a personal goal for these awards and a vision I have had since I started organising the event a couple of years ago. The determination to make that happen has been my driving force for this whole event. The buzz backstage was just phenomenal … I hope every one of you who walked out onto that stage as the night began felt like the great achievers that you are.

The night of course, belongs to the winners of our awards, and you can see all the stunning images here on our blog. The camaraderie and spirit from the room as each winner made their way to collect their trophy was just magical. Standing up on stage looking out across the room as you all celebrated each others achievements was something I know I will treasure for a very long time. That sense of celebration, that knowing of belonging and that feeling of home for everyone in that room, made every late night and tears of frustration that have gone in to these awards oh so worth it.

It is wonderful to see so many new faces both attending the awards and coming up on stage as winners too, congratulations to you all. You can watch our presentation of all the finalists and winners of the night here. Huge congratulations must go to Johnson Wee FMPA and Jason Banbury LMPA, one of the absolute joys of my role is being able to watch our members journey through The Association, it has been an exciting time to see them both go from strength to strength as they set their goals and follow their dreams.

I find my role so very humbling especially at the awards, and one of my personal honours is to be stood on stage as some of my own icons are recognised for both their talents and dedication to the MPA.  Seeing Henk van Kooten, Faye and Trevor Yerbury, Lisa Visser and David Calvert collect their trophies of recognition and awards is something that will always bring a smile to me, for all have inspired my own journey one way or another as both a photographer and member of The MPA.

As an Association we are going from strength to strength and moving in the right direction, whilst there is undoubtedly more road to travel, we have definitely turned a great corner, and that is down to the members of our community who have joined The Chair, President, Directors, Regional Chairs, Chairs of Qualifications and Competitions Committees and their sub committees, Judges, Mentors and Examiners, The Cherubs Director and his team, and the Staff who continue to push forward our vision of creating a community where we can all grow, learn, share and explore.

To every member who continues to believe in the Association and see the value of being a Master Photographer … thank you … this was your night and we celebrated with you, if not in person, then without a doubt in spirit.

And finally a huge thank you must go to Our Chair of the Board, Paul Wilkinson FMPA whose shoulders grow bigger each day and whose passion and belief in both the Association and myself keeps us all pushing forward.

Now the awards are over for another year, I will endeavour to write regular posts to touch base with you all, sharing my journey within the MPA as I continue to meet the amazing people who are all a part of this wonderful road our Association is on.

Thank You !

Clare Louise

ps … incase you didn’t get to see me fluff my lines at the awards night … here is a short clip for you … and yes I am still blushing !!!