After receiving about a hundred great entries across a few different platforms, I've finally whittled them down to my two favorites. I've judged a few contests over the last couple of years and this was definitely the hardest decision to make.
There were some truly interesting comments left on the posts, and I really enjoyed reading why everyone photographs (or wants to photograph) architecture. From business endeavors to the pure love of art and design, there was a little bit of everything.
When deciding on the winners, I actually had to enlist the help of others because I had a hard time removing my biases from the equation, since I've interacted with many of the entrants on some level before, whether through email or my Facebook page. We all agreed that we wanted to give someone a chance who could realistically make it to the workshop, who would be able to use the tools they learned to further their artistic or business proficiencies, and who might not get the opportunity to shoot high-end architecture on a regular basis due to not having access through their job or otherwise.
So, after much deliberation, we settled on a winner. He wrote:
Well, unlike most of the people posting here, I am NOT a professional architectural shooter. I am still assisting. I work at an advertising studio in Milwaukee, WI. I first went to school to study graphic design at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago. Fast forward about 6 years and I now have a degree in Photography. I worked full time on 3rd shift while attending school for 8-10 hours a day, 4/5 days a week. All while dealing with the obstacles of being a new father. I've always been drawn to architectural photography because of the design elements. A lot of what I learned in graphic design can be seen in architecture. Things like shape, pattern, line, balance, proportion, contrast, texture, color and so on. I'm naturally drawn to these "principles of design" which is why I enjoy architectural photography so much. I purchased your video and I love it. You take it down to the bare essentials so anyone with a camera and speedlite can get into this realm of photography. I do want to learn more and start putting together a portfolio of interiors and exteriors. Having a steady paycheck is nice. Especially with kids and a mortgage. But I'm just not cut out for the 9-5 job, even though it is in my field. I was freelance for a little over 3 years before I took this position back in October. I loved every minute of it. I believe the time has come for me to step out of the assisting world, and start shooting for myself.
And that was written by none other than Michael Mellon, from Chicago, IL. The entry reminded my of myself in a number of ways - after studying graphic design in college and not really knowing what the hell I wanted to do, I eventually made my way here.
In addition, I chose a runner up in case Michael can't make it. She wrote:
Hi! I am a photography student graduating in December! I started my college career in Interior Design but my love for photography took over. I want to be able to incorporate my two passions into my career and architectural photography has been that for me! I recently started watching your tutorials and reading all I can about it as none of my teachers (while they Are great) do not have much interior and architectural photography experience. To be able to attended this workshop would mean the world to me and give me the edge I need to stand out as a recent graduate.
Which was written by Ashley Pieper from St Louis, MO. I've been exactly where Ashley has, with tons of unanswered questions in a locale that isn't a big architecture haven, so again, her answer resonated with me and the other judges. And Ashley, if Michael does end up making it, I am going to send you a free copy of my 'Where Art Meets Architecture' tutorial so you can learn as much as you can regardless of attending or not.
So that wraps it up. I want to thank everyone who entered, because it gave me a nice little refresher of not only why I want to do what I do, but what it was like when I was first starting out and how fortunate I feel to be able to do this on a daily basis.
So for Michael and Ashley - shoot me an email through the site or over on my FB page - and I'll get you both set up! Looking forward to the workshop, as we fill up the last remaining spots.