It all sounded a bit tricky at first glance but the more I looked at it the more I thought I could do it, I just needed 15 killer images. And in there lies the perplexing part of the issue, I have hundreds of images but which ones are killer images? in honesty I didn't have a clue, I only had my experience at camera club competitions to guide me. I started off using images that I thought had impact and that were technically good and to some extent that worked and those guides are still valid, however I was soon to find out that certain images do not work in certain countries and that some salons prefer digital art or composites to straight photographs. And so into the FIAP maze I went, feeling my way along as best as I could.
The most troublesome part was gaining print acceptances, most of the English and Scottish salons did print based salons, however I got very few acceptances and this still stands today. It would seem that most of the print salons I had entered do not like nudes, even though these same images did very well elsewhere as digital. I found that gaining acceptances wasn't much of a problem, within six months I had over 100 acceptances but I still only had 2 prints accepted, in fact I had well exceed the criteria for AFIAP except for prints. This was mainly due to inexperience at targeting the right image to the right salon, I had been sending prints to salons that just didn't value my style of photography. By the time I did get 4 prints I was more than halfway to fulfilling the EFIAP requirements and had picked up some awards too. Awarded images :-
Mistress of Elcho Castle - Chrissie Red
Angelic Journey - Ivory Flame
Hazy Autumn Jetty
The Face of Summer - Rachelle Summers
Waiting for the Rain - Fizzy
So I thought I might as well carry on to the EFIAP, this level incorporates the images and successes on the AFIAP, so you are merely adding to the already gained acceptances. However the levels of achievements rise dramatically, now I needed 250 acceptances with at least 50 images from 30 salons and 20 different countries...and the killer...25 prints!
For a while I was unsure on achieving the 25 prints but I had a brainstorm one day and took a lot of mounted prints that I had used for camera club comps and sent them to the Trierenberg circuit in Austria, it was a gamble really, they were used prints though still presentable...the gamble paid off and I managed 15 print acceptances in one fell swoop. By April I had 19 prints and felt that the back was broken and I could relax a little and concentrate more on targeting the salons that did printed catalogues rather than the CD variety. So where do I stand now? well in just over a year I have 225 acceptance 25 of which are prints, 57 different images and 40 salons from 21 different countries. By the time I submit my application for AFIAP in December this year I will have achieved the amount for EFIAP. Not bad at all really.
I have to say though I have had help and guidance along the way from online friends such as Ciaran Whyte, Tim Pile and Brian Hopper, and so to them I give my thanks. Thanks also go to the many models that helped me make the images in the first place, my friend Chrissie Red, Ivory Flame, Madame Bink, Fredau, Joceline, Artemis Fauna, Fizzy, Kai Yee Wong, Ruby Rosetta, Rachelle Summers, Emma Willis and Elle Black.
It's all been a bit of a trip and very much a learning experience, some of it costly...in hard cash but then so is any other serious hobby such as golf etc etc. On the FIAP trail you kind of learn the hard way, trial and error really, the whole thing of gaining acceptances is a bit of a lottery and a gamble, though the odds of losing can be minimized by investigating a salons previous exhibitions and by looking to see who the judges are. Not that this method is foolproof but it is a bit of a guide, also making sure that you are sending appropriate images to the right country, I doubt that nudes would go down well in some Arab or conservative countries...sadly that includes my own home country. I have a Blacklist and it seems to grow every couple of months. There is a lot more to say about the FIAP trail but here I am just blogging about my own experiences.
To see the current accepted images go Here