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Photography Question 
Donna S. Domitrek Convention

I have just returned from the convention in Washington DC, and for any of you that got the letter and did not go, all I can say is, it's your loss.
I had a wonderful time in DC and was one of the amature photographers that left with a cash prize,and yes there were 45 winners of either cash or other gifts.
The convention was informative and very helpful to the amature photographer and the people were great.
There were amature photographers from all over the world, over 1,000 in all and I did not hear one complaint.
My suggestion is that people should not be so quick to judge, especially if they don't know what they are talking about.
This will be one amature photographer that WILL attend next year's convention.

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4/6/2004 10:20:43 AM

Damian P. Gadal
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/22/2002
  Yep - one born every....

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4/6/2004 3:17:46 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  There's was never any question that somebody would win a prize, or that somebody would win a trophy or somebody would win an award. There's was never any doubt that who ever decided to go, they would pick something that was at least decent looking to win.
But if I took names and addresses out of a phone book and sent letters saying they could win a talent contest, just pay 500 to attend, whoever showed up all I would have to do is just pick whoever sounded the best, regardless of whether they could truly sing. I could pay the prize money, because it's pennies compared to all the other people who were brought in by the letter.
And that's where the problem lies with the convention. You could say it's the other people's own fault for being swayed by cheap praise so easily, but it's still not something that should be done.
But if you enjoyed yourself, you got a trip to D.C. and whatever prize you got.

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4/6/2004 4:34:01 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  No need to get mad Donna. You'll have to take my word for it, my view of the world is expanded. My vision isn't blurry, I know how these things work.
You can get into technicalities and say it's not a typical take the money and run job. Everything I bet was legal. I'm just calling it what it is.
But like I said, you had fun in D.C., you got your prize, that should be enough.

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4/6/2004 7:14:05 PM

David Reynolds
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/15/2004
  My main gripe about the authenticity of the whole things is that they take any photographer that will pay and go and give them an award for 'Outstanding Achievement in Photography'...and that just seems wrong. I could take a photo of the bottom of my foot and get an award for Outstanding Achievement in Photography, if I pay the money. The way I see is cheaper to make your own trophy and just as authentic, isn't it? Just the same...the trip is probably a nice time away. A majority of us want to be recognized and maybe even get an award, but the ethics of the whole things keeps me from participating....and telling my kids I 'won' an award, when all I did was pay 500 bucks for it...and they could have gotten the same award with a dime store instamatic and an itchy trigger finger, and the email address. Just my opinion I guess. So..the fact that they hold a convention's a least that's something.

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5/4/2004 2:48:43 PM

Elizabeth D. Moore   It's a sad state of affairs when we run into the high and mighty who can't see us little people way down here on the street. Must be all that pollution in the air that high.

I'm a writer and photographer and also want to attend conventions. But every last one of them costs money. If you don't believe me, here is the latest convention for you to check out:
Minimum expenditure would be at least 500.00. And I don't get a free camera when I leave. I don't get to stand up and tell everyone about my short story.

Now, if I want to enter into a writing competition at the convention, then I have to pay a writer's fee. It's just standard practice.

I have had a successful photography business for many years, and have sent my photos to

I have also purchased two of their books, and they are very nice. I was thrilled to see my photos in a book that hundreds of other people will see.

I haven't won the big prize, but was very pleased to have several photos of mine published.

I was also asked to submit a photo for consideration for the Best of 2003.

And you should know that not every picture is chosen for publication. I know a couple that weren't.

If I could have attended the DC convention (money again) I would have. This is an AMATEUR Photographer convention. It is designed to teach technique, share stories and photos and enter some neat contests.

I did have to complain once because I got the wrong book - but it did have one of my other photos in it. Just not the one I was expecting.

I just don't see the necessity to keep slamming those of us who choose to participate at

I'm not a published novelist, but I am a writer, and I have received an invitation to attend a writer's convention and to enter some of my work in competition. But it sure isn't free.

I've yet to find one that is.

The majority of literary magazines also charge a reading fee if you enter a contest - and there is no guarantee that your work won't hit the trash can.

On another note, I'm also a member of two associations at which I must pay a fee to attend the annual convention.

I don't think that is awful at all. My pictures are still in their books - even the ones I don't buy. And in this day and age, positive recognition is welcome since so many people have make it their profession to criticize, not helpfully critique.

There's no such thing as cheap praise. For many just starting out, that first bit of recognition is what starts them on a successful road.

Cheap shots, vain criticism, and critiques without the offer of a kind note of how to do it right are demoralizing.

The right to demonstrate free speech comes with the responsibility to use that speech to honor yourself and others. If there is a wrong, speaking of doable ways to make it right is the honorable way. It does not give mankind the right to hold himself higher than his fellow man.

I'm glad you got to go Donna. Wish I could have been there, too.

Don't let the opinions of so few upset and distress you. Once they draw blood, it's like being in the middle of a feeding frenzy.

I'd rather stay on the outside and find the good in things.

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5/11/2004 6:47:38 PM

Donna S. Domitrek   Elizabeth,
Thanks for the very well written comments. You are so right!!! However, it disturbes me to no end when people choose to force their opinions about something they have never attended.
There were some very talented amateur photographers at this convention and wonderful workshops that were worth every penny I paid to attend.
As I said, I would not hesitate to attend next year.
Thank you again

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5/11/2004 9:04:28 PM

Elizabeth D. Moore   I was at just the other day and was browsing through the highlights of the convention. If you haven't looked - you should stop by.

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5/11/2004 9:30:39 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  I thought air is clearer at high altitudes? But anyway, why talk about free speech, then personalize it and get upset when people advise against it? Anybody who went, or wanted to go, or is planning on going again, so be it. They're free to do it and anybody else is free to advise against to other people who may ask about it.

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5/12/2004 9:49:54 AM

David Reynolds
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/15/2004
  Looking back...I think it was clear that I didn't expect any conventions to be free. Where my complaints lie are in the fact that they had made it impossible to get ahold of them through their site, with any question that could actually quell any doubts people might have about their legitimacy. In a way...I see that as a way of them remaining untouchable except for sending money for the convention. After may be able to get a contact name. One of my other complaints was only that they draw you in with an award for "Outstanding Achievement in Photography". I would love to have an award like that, but in my opinion it was not right to just pay for it. Everyone who paid for the coonvention got one else. So...I assume that sending the money was the outstanding achievement. I don't see the professionalism in that. I personally have won over 50 awards through various competitions....and at most, I paid an entry fee that pays for the prizes given out. They weren't random drawings, or conventions. I had photographs chosen to hang in the Pentago...again after judging against other photos in a competition. And yes...they were hung there, as I went and saw them.
Again...I am not knocking those that attended that convention...but I couldn't, in good conscience, pay for a convention and accept an "Outstanding Achievement" award simply because I paid the money. That was my complaint. It's great you had a good time and would do it again, or for the first time..etc. But if I see someone's silver cup from the convention sitting on thier shelf at work or home...I will know how it was 'achieved'. I couldn't sell out just to get a cup.
As far as the 'feeding frenzy'....apparently that means it is a sore spot with alot of photographers. That must mean SOMEthing. Maybe it means that an award that is earned by judging just feels better. Again...just my opinion expressed in the form of free speech.

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5/12/2004 3:20:33 PM

William T   Hi David, I totally agree with what you are saying. And those are exactly the reasons that prevented me from attending the convention. Why would I pay for my awards? I should get paid for my achievement and get rewarded. The organizer is more interested in making money out the attendees than appreciation to their photos. All of my photos I submitted were selected as Outstanding Achievement. Do I have to pay for every one of them in order to get the recognitions? No, I will NOT!

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5/16/2004 9:29:21 PM

David Reynolds
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/15/2004
  But again...I don't see a problem for those that wish to do that. It's a difference of the end result I suppose. I have never paid to have mine recognized. And I never received an award until after they were judged and chosen. Now....those that attended the convention apparently were judged against each other and awards given. That's great. But not some of our ideas of how to do it.

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5/17/2004 11:19:06 AM

Lisa Young   I didn't go to the D.C. Convention after being invited for two reasons, one I just got back from there a few days before the convention and two wasn't sure it was worth my time and money for something I knew everyone was getting invited to.

Later, after I didn't go I received a letter saying since I couldn't make it, I could still pay for my "trophy," if I wanted to. I don't remember the amount, but it wasn't like just paying shipping and handling, but actually probably the cost of the trophy plus shipping and handling and profit like around $200.

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5/29/2004 10:32:59 PM

David Reynolds
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/15/2004
  ....and you didn't buy your award? :-) (good for you)

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6/1/2004 9:10:05 AM

Lisa Young   Nope, would have paid up to $20 for shipping and handling, but not $200.

Though I do admit to buying the first book and it was nice for what it was.

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6/1/2004 10:49:31 AM

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