Sherwood Park photographer awarded first place in international photography competition
I cried. Not just once, but quite a few times that morning. It wasn’t because I, Marie-Pierre Castonguay, a Sherwood Park family photographer, had just found out I was awarded first place in an international photography competition. No, it was because I won this award with the people who believe in me and motivate me day in and day out.
And their words made me cry.
I felt the love. The joy. The encouragement and the pride.
What this award means to a Sherwood Park photographer like me
This was my first photography award. It means a lot to me because I’ve been on this photographic journey for quite some time and I’m starting to reap the fruits of my labour.
It’s a nice recognition of my work and a little push in the right direction. This tells me I’m doing something great and that I should keep doing it.
The Birth and Beyond Photography Award
I found out about the Birth and Beyond Photography Award, a Dutch-based international competition, a couple of days before the submissions deadline for round five.
Photographers from around the world submit hundreds of images each round in seven categories: maternity, birth, newborn posed, newborn unposed, baby, kids and family. There are a few rounds per year, in which the best entries of each category are rewarded with an award.
This is the second year the awards are organized and in the first year, a total of 3,419 entries were received from 32 different countries.
I entered one photo in the family category. One of my favourite images, taken last summer during a 12-hour day-in-the-life photo session with an amazing family. And that photo won first place in that category. What an honour!
The story behind the award-winning photograph
During an entire day in August, Chelsea and her three children welcomed me into their life. As an old friend. They included me in their daily adventures and showed me what life was like for their family. No filters. Raw. Willing to let go. No expectations.
And what I witnessed was beautiful.
The love and complicity between all of them. The way the eldest looked at his mother and touched her. The way they interacted with each other… So powerful!
In the award-winning photo, the boy had just been stung by a wasp and run to his mother’s comforting arms to alleviate the pain. If you look closely, you can see a tear on his cheek.
And many tears there were when I shared the award with Chelsea.
Ohhh, Marie! My heart swelled so much upon reading this. Tears as I read to the children. I’m so, so happy for you. Congratulations! Thank you so much for capturing a piece of our lives in such a raw way. Just beautiful. The children and I are so grateful that you reached out to us and I can’t express how much it means to me to have photos of myself with the children that aren’t just awkward selfies I’ve attempted. This experience will forever be held close to my heart. Congratulations again!
Her message went right to my heart.
Thank you Chelsea, you’re a kind soul and a beautiful human. Thank you to your children for being so fun and welcoming! I truly hope we keep this new friendship alive.
Thank you also to the Birth and Beyond Photography Award’s jury members who made me a Sherwood Park award-winning photographer!
And congratulations to all the other winning photographers of round 5. There were some amazing images out there!
I’ll try to enter more of my images in photography competitions. And I’ll keep working on improving my art while photographing more families who are willing to let go of all expectations and be their vulnerable selves in front of my camera.
Is your family one of them?
I’m currently booking day-in-the-life sessions for 2022. Spots are limited for full days so get in touch quickly to know more about them or to book a free no-obligation consultation.
I'm Marie-Pierre, an easygoing mother of two and a documentary family photographer. I believe we can all learn and grow from other people's experiences. Real life stories help us relate to each other, open our minds and feel better about ourselves.
this blog is a collection of featured client stories, tips, and articles on various family related topics. I hope you will find some inspiration!