I didn't win the PDN30 award with this edit made in 2013, but it galvanized a fire within me.
The fire being to determine whether the images I was making were stylistically interesting or pushing the boundaries of the photographic medium.
If not for my wife, I would've never asked to see Conor Risch, PDN photo editor, for an in-person meeting in late October 2014 after what was my third nomination for the award. It was then that I laid out my influences, the earmarks which define my style and the personal work made about identity and fatherhood.
I could easily say that if not for that meeting, then I may never have gotten the nod for the PDN30 in 2015. Either way, without good "fieldwork" one may never know if the imagery one makes for personal reasons could ever move across a threshold of recategorization from say 'unique vision' to part of the 'photo canon.' Awards help with these classifications, but by no means are they necessary.
TO THE YOUNG ARTISTE - be tenacious, pound the proverbial pavement; go see the modern-day, practicing Tintoretto in the flesh. One must see the eyes of one's contemporaries to know the true definition of vision. And they're never your competition...they're colleagues.