Why Do We Compete?

The image below has nothing to do with this post except that it was my other entry in the competition mentioned previously. I was sure it was going to win something from the judge who’s own photographic subjects are always shore themes. The image made it into the semi-final round but it didn’t score any points. I started thinking about why I compete in the first place. There is no denying that I am and always have been a competitive person by nature — not only with others but with myself too. I do think that any success I have had in life (at least in part) can be attributed to my competitive spirit. Is it validation, a feeling of self-worth, or a feeling of superiority that we are after when we compete? Whatever it is, I believe our quest for wins gives us a goal to strive for and helps us to become better photographers. It’s also nice to be able to share your work and get feedback from like-minded friends.

Here are some thoughts from others I found on the web regarding why we compete. Post a comment (by clicking on ‘comments’ below the photo) and let me know your thoughts on this subject.

“Our whole lives are motivated by an internal sense of worth, measured by “rewards” — both internal and external. We’re each addicted to our own reward system. It stains every action we take.”

“During our evolution and survival, we have had to compete and ‘survival of the fittest’ became the norm. It still continues though the parameters/areas have changed but the trait is still very strong in us. Nobody thinks that death is Ultimate and even if it is, life has still to be lived and lived with superiority and power (domination).”

“The reason life exists on this planet, and was able to evolve is because of competition. If we compete, we continue to evolve, get better and ultimately survive. It’s simply part of our nature.”

'Old Broken Pier' © Denise Bush
'Old Broken Pier' © Denise Bush


Last night the South Jersey Camera Club held its final competition of the season, before the 2 month summer break. It was our last chance to win points for a year of hard work and I was tied with 3 others in both monochrome prints and digital (A group). I did poorly in monochrome but in digital, I had a chance! The judge had both of my images in the semi-final running and I ended up with 2nd for the image below. My good friend, Ralph Berglund won 1st place, gaining the well-deserved 1 point needed to take the lead for 3rd place digital A group for the ’08-09 season. Congratulations to Ralph and all the other winners! If anyone had to beat me, I’m glad it was him! Click, ‘Lake Placid Dawn’ to see Ralph’s winning image!

'Contains Lead' © Denise Bush  (2nd Place, Digital A Group, June 2009)
'Contains Lead' © Denise Bush (2nd Place, Digital A Group, June 2009)

Altered States

Here’s another image from the Catskills that I thought I would share. I used a slow shutter speed and zoomed during the exposure. I was faced with a birch grove that was kind of cool but lacked that ‘certain something’. I decided to loosen up a little and play. (This is similar to another forest zoom image I posted under the title ‘Impressions’ back in March.)

'Birch Grove Zoom' © Denise Bush
'Birch Grove Zoom' © Denise Bush