It is always paramount to me to make sure I go through the fine prints of a photo competition I am entering into. Not solely to keep me from breaking any rule, but poring over them is where the fun begins.
When the PNVSCA unfurled its Volunteerism Photo Contest, I buried myself in its guidelines. Word for word. Like dipping into a classic cliff-hanger. The challenge is to capture relentless volunteers in action. Nothing complicated, and with a very attractive prize catch. No problemo. (I have Teacher Fe and her volunteers under La Huerta bridge, and the Kilos Bayanihan street teachers in Malate perfect as subjects. )
The bad news came in cute little details.
Weeks after sending my entries, the organizers sent me an emailed statement — they are scrapping all my photos.
It states “As per contest guidelines, photographs must not include the participant or any organization’s name, material or content.”
Name. Material. Content. O the little things in life.
“Hence, we cannot consider your entries for the following reasons..”
The letter enumerated a blow-by-blow account of the findings. Beginning with each individual photo entry titles, predicated by their corresponding “reasons.”
So. Considering I am no longer bound by contest rules and — in the spirit of the mind-boggling ghost month — I am exorcising out here the images from a wasted time, money, and effort, together with the organizers very own disqualifying lines:
“’Working for a Cause, Not for Applause’ (above) and (below)’The Heart of a Volunteer’ since both have banners of a government organization;”
“‘Rise by Lifting Others’ since it has the name of an organization printed at the back of the volunteer’s shirt.”
“‘Teacher Under the Bridge’” since it has the name/content of a basketball organization printed in the shirt of a child;”
“’Educational Rockstar’ since it has the name of a publisher in the book included in the photograph.”
“’Classroom Without Borders’ since it included a brand of coloring materials;”
“’Doing Small Things with Great Love’ since it included a biscuit brand;”
“‘Learning. Teaching. Giving’ since it has a snack brand included;”
“‘Education Under the Bridge’ since it has the pictures of two notable personalities printed in the name tags of the children;”
I am a street photography devotee. My subjects are ethereal to me. To touch one tiny bit in them is to transform its entirety. A mockery.
In closing the letter, they advised me to consider sending another entry.
I don’t think so. My other photos have candy wrappers in the background.