Print Competition Images
The photographers and album designers at Ayer Photography of Vermont periodically prepare some of the images we have taken and "developed" during the year for juried professional print competition. In such competitions, images are judged by a panel of independent and experienced professional photographers. They are given scores based on 12 criteria for a quality printed image. The criteria are subjective and it is rare to see all the judges agree on a specific score for a specific print. But it does tend to reward what most professionals would regard as quality art and pushes the participants to achieve technical skills and exhibit creativity.
Almost all of our submissions have scored well enough to earn us a ribbon (or corner in some competitions) and as such Imaging Excellence Awards from Vermont Professional Photographers for both our individual image prints and our album designs.
"well Played" did OK in competition, but its really meaning for me was the story I was trying to tell. I took this image the year my father passed away. Of all the things my father passed on to me, two come quickly to mind - one was photography, which he taught me in his darkroom, and the other was music, which he tried to teach me in my youth. His father had had his own orchestra back in the days of the big band and taught everyone in it how to play their instruments. His personal favorite was the string bass and my father's was the trumpet or cornet, and as a young man was the first trumpet in my grand-father's orchestra. My father would also go on in later years to teach himself to play the guitar.
The old "horn" in the image was the old nickel-plated cornet that my father loaned me as a young man. I played it for many years, rising to the first chair in my high school band, but never pursuing it beyond that level. The truth was, that while I became technically good, I lacked the passion and feel it takes to be great - those genes passed to my brother. But with my father's instruction I learned a skill which has brought me great pleasure over the years, for which I will be ever grateful.
There is significance to the old stained and tattered music under the horn. "Over The Rainbow" is a fairly straight-forward piece for the cornet and one of the first songs I learned to play. The "Carnival Of Venice" is very difficult for the cornet and one that took me years to master. It was sort of the bar to aim for as I perfected my skills and lip. I found both sets of music in my father's papers when my brother and I cleaned out his house.
The horn itself also shows its years of wear. I can remember having tape over bad welds to hold it together and a rubber band to keep the spit valve closed. There is a dent in the bell from when I dropped it many years ago and tarnish everywhere from years of sweat - there is a reason Louie Armstrong protected his horn with a handkerchief.
For me this image brings back the memories of that musical journey with my father and my long attempts to emulate his talent.