On Monday, photographers can enter a weekly Twitter competition called Share Mondays. Using the hashtag #ShareMondays2018 (and previous to 2018 just #ShareMondays), photographers submit an image that was taken during the previous week. Once all submissions are in, the winner of the competition from the previous week then choose their favourites usually in the form of a long list, then a short list, before announcing their #ShareMondays2018 winner. The winner then has the honour of judging the entries the following week.
Dylan collected the images from the winners in 2017 into a book which was available for purchase. It has some fantastic images in it and I've shared a couple of them below along with links at the end of this post to the photographers mentioned and their Twitter pages too.
There are a couple of other weekly photography competitions also held on a Monday run by Fotospeed (using the hashtag #fsprintmonday) and Wex Photo and Video (using the hashtag #wexmondays). Often photographers will enter all three with the same image or different images. The two other competitions offer weekly and annual prizes and have their own set of rules which you can read about here for Fotospeed's and here for Wex's.
There are a few things I really like about the #ShareMondays2018 competition.
Entries come from far and wide, the UK and overseas and from professional and non-professional photographers. There are no barriers to entry, no restrictions to what photographic genre is allowed and the winners include photographers who have won some of the big competitions as well as those who just do photography in their spare time. It encourages photographers to interact and look at each other's work and I know there are plenty of people who don't enter and just enjoy looking through the entries each week. Through my interest in the competition I have come to know a few photographers and be a part of a friendly and exclusive online community.
Having a new set of eyes judging entries each week, in my opinion, makes this the best among the weeklies (as they're called). There are no preconceived notions of what will or won't win, it purely comes down to what the judge for that week likes. This can result in a real variety of images being shortlisted and winning and I think that keeps this fresh and interesting.
I have only been aware of the competition since later in 2017 but even in that short time I have been amazed at the quality of the images that are submitted each week. It's sometimes like having a new issue of Landscape or Outdoor Photographer of the Year every week! Considering that it is a weekly competition and maintaining standards week in, week out can be difficult, I'm always impressed by what is being entered and what images have been captured during the week.
You can pick and choose when you want to enter. Sometimes it's nice to just sit back and see what everyone else has been capturing in that week. If you don't enter, there is always the next week. The community nature of the competition means that you are not expected to enter and you can interact with those that do with your thoughts and comments. Sit it out for a week or two, enter if you want, it's a relaxed competition!
I think the competition encourages people to go out each week and photograph. I know I have been encouraged to do so to try and get something that may be worth entering. Even if I haven't captured anything worthy, it's still helped me to get out there and shoot some photography. I think it also encourages people to experiment and submit things they wouldn't under more rigid competition guidelines. I've submitted things I've been experimenting with and enjoyed the feedback I've received.
As I've mentioned previously I only came across the competition late last year and managed to pluck up the courage to drop in an entry or two, which people were kind enough to provide encouragement and feedback on. Since then I have submitted quite a few times, making a few long lists and shortlists and I'm delighted to say winning it twice so far this year!
Winning has really helped with my confidence as a photographer and I can safely say it's been one of the most rewarding photographic experiences I have had.
Of course winning means judging the next week and I am not ashamed to admit that I was really nervous about it in January. However, it was another fantastic learning experience and I would say another reason why I think every photographer should give the competition a go. Being the judge of a competition has given me a very different perspective on photography and how to consider images. Should I look at technical mastery? Should I pixel peep? Should I go with my gut? In the end, I went for the image that caught my eye and spoke to me the most. As a result I actually find myself not pixel peeping or being too technical about my own photography, instead trying to produce images that speak to me. I definitely think it has changed my photography for the better.
I had the pleasure to judge the competition again last week and this time I felt a bit more relaxed about it. You can see my long list selection below:
Some incredible images in there and narrowing it down to a top four and a winner was not easy but in the end I went for an image with incredible energy from Tammy Marlar.
Good luck judging next week Tammy!
I'd highly recommend photographers to enter #ShareMondays2018 with their images. It has had so many positive effects on my own photography as well as giving me the chance to get to know other photographers and discover work I'd likely not see otherwise.
Links to the photographers mentioned in this post:
- Brian Kerr - website: https://www.briankerrphotography.com, Twitter: @BrianKerrPhoto
- Neil Burnell - website: https://www.neilburnell.com Twitter: @njburnell
- Paula Cooper - website: http://www.iceniphotography.com Twitter: @iceniphoto
- Stu Meech - website: http://www.stumeech.co.uk Twitter: @stumeech
- Tammy Marlar - website: https://www.tammymarlar.com Twitter: @tammymarlar