The Honorable Benesse House


It’s been a while since it happened but I forgot to mention it at the time. This image won an Honorable Mention in the Black and White Spider Awards. Because I got a nod from the award folks (of sorts) it means that I was published in their book of Spider Award winners. 

Now, I understand how a lot of the times these things are money-making schemes (or whatnot) but the Black and White Spider Awards remain one of my favorites. I really don’t know how to express it very well even, but the work is really outstanding. It’s one of those announcements that, every year when it comes out, I sit down at my computer with a cup of tea or hot beverage of some kind and spend some quality time with the entries. I look over the work and really enjoy exploring the images. 

Over the course of the years that I have been entering my work, I have grown to know and recognize some of the entrants (the other photographers who regularly enter too) and I look forward to seeing their work. There is one guy from Berlin who I often find in the architecture category with my work and a lot of the times he wins. You might think this would infuriate me, but in fact the opposite is true. I feel as if I’ve gotten to know him over the years and I love seeing his work. I love seeing where he goes and what buildings he shoots. In a lot of ways, you could say I really appreciate his work, as we work in the same genre of photography and have a lot of overlap with what we do. Sometimes, I wonder if he recognizes my work too (probably not, but maybe?) Someday, I should send him a card, an email, or something to see if he recognizes me. Wouldn’t that be a hoot? 

What’s funny too is that, I think it was a couple years ago, he came in second place. All well and good except that, as I looked at the first place winning entry, I could not help but think that he was robbed. His work was really better and deserving of the gong. Looking back on it, I was probably more upset about it than he was. I almost spilled my tea. He was robbed! Oh the nerve! Some guy from Scandinavia of all places. Go back to Ikea and give the guy from Berlin his trophy already, Sven. I was outraged! In hindsight, I was probably more upset that he had lost than I was about my own work not making the top spot. Oh the horror! 

This year, I think he got a top spot again, with some beautiful work (deserving of his nod) and I got an Honorable Mention for this piece. 

This image is from Japan. We stayed for a few days at the Benesse House Museum on the Japanese island of Naoshima (also called “Art Island.”) The museum grounds overlook the Seto Inland Sea and were really very lovely. It’s a modern place, with very clean lines (take that, Sven!) Of course, the artwork was lovely too. It’s a museum home to some great art including a Warhol and the famous colored pumpkin statue on the beach, which I also got to see and photograph (selfie alert!)

I’ve uploaded this image to my Monochrome gallery over on Carol’s Little World. You can have a look at some of my other black and white images here. A note about my black and white work too, it now defaults to printing on Baryta paper or “Satin Fine Art Paper” as my print vendor calls it. I hand selected this paper because it’s rich and allows for beautiful tones in the black and white images to really pop. For my color work, I usually opt for watercolor paper, as I love a good texture, but I’m recommending and have now made available the Baryta paper for my monochromatic work. 

No word on how my friend from Berlin prints. I’m guessing Sven carves his work on stone tablets and polishes them until they glow in the darkness of his Ikea furnished studio shop up there in Scandinavia somewhere. Eh, who am I kidding? Maybe he has a fully furnished darkroom and a staff, yeah, that’s it. 

Until next time…

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