“Portrait Photographer of the Year 2014”
It is not to often I am left speechless, but this was the case on Sunday night in Toronto at the Professional Photographers of Canada – Ontario Awards Gala. A few weeks ago I entered 4 images into our Provincial Salon to be judged by a panel of 6 different judges from all over Ontario. As a member of the PPOC all “Accredited” members are aloud to enter up to 4 images in this competition. So I picked what I thought we some good images and sent them in with the hopes of winning an award and being recognized. Well on Sunday night the Awards Gala was set at the Holiday Inn, Toronto.
In each category one photograph was chosen by the panel of judges to win “Best in Class”. So when the first category that I was entered in came up I was happy to see I was one of 4 ppl nominated….. then they announced the winner ” And the winner of Best in Class Portrait is….. John Wills” Well needless to say I was ecstatic. But what happened next was something I will remember for the rest of my life. The very next category I was also nominated in which was Figure Study… and well guess who was the winner????? Yep little old me 🙂 After returning to my table to sit with my lovely wife and friends the Wedding Portrait category came up ….. and well I kinda won that one too…. and the next category as well which was Fashion……you can imagine the look on my face at this time…. ALL 4 of my images won “Best in Class”.
So finally sitting down at the table and it is time to announce the “Tibor Horvath Award of Excellence” which is very special award given out the the photographer with the highest points that has yet to earn his/her Craftsman of Photographic Arts (CPA)…. yep you guessed it “and the winner is John Wills”…….overwhelmed is all I can say. I looked over at my wife at some point and I could see tears in her eyes.
Back at the table again looking at all the plaques and trophies in front of me when they are getting ready to announce the BIG ONE. “2014 Portrait Photographer of the Year”….. well ppl around me are now laughing and saying things like “gee I guess who that is going to be” and “I bet I know” …. well I am INCREDIBLY happy and honored to say that I was named the “2014 Portrait Photographer of the Year” for Ontario. By this time most of what has just happened is all a blur….. It was a magical night to say the very least and one that I will remember for the rest of my life. Soooooo do you think that was it???? NOPE I then went on to win yet another award which was a “Judges Choice Award” ….ok now I am done 🙂
So after letting this sink in for the past couple of days I want to send out a few notes of thanks.
First I would like to thank the Professional Photographers of Canada for being an AMAZING organization…. I know my photography and business are better since becoming a member 3 years ago.
To all the judges…. I am not sure Thank You is enough. I know you didn’t know who the images belonged to when you were judging them so it means so much to me you liked my images enough to give me so many awards. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.
To my AMAZING clients…. you guys friggin ROCK. Everyone of you can share in these awards with me as my joy for photography is mostly because I have the best clients in the world.
To my Mom, Deb and great friend Rino…… THANK YOU for everything you do. Your support and encouragement can not be measured and I am forever grateful.
Now the biggest Thank you goes to my absolute best friend and wife Kim. Kim I can never ever tell you how much you mean to me and what you done for my life and career over the last 7 years. When we first met I was grinding it out in a factory hating many things in life. You have taught me to love life and appreciate all the little things. My photography skills and business would not be anywhere near where it is today with out your continued support and encouragement. I was so PROUD to have you sitting beside me at the awards diner and then later in the photos (see below). You and Austin put a smile on my face each and every day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you 🙂
I will make another post with the winning images in a few weeks once I decide if I will be entering then in Nationals.
All photos shot by the Amazing Sébastien Lavallée 🙂