So seriously, what do we need competitions, awards, or prizes for? ... I’m sure it’s nice to win something ... and as I said, for vegetables or show dogs, I get the idea. But for photographs?
Especially in this day and age where there are so many photographs around — so many of them genuinely good — what’s the point of (metaphorically speaking) putting a ribbon on a small number? ... What’s the value of competitions or awards if there are so many of them?
I basically agree with Colberg but would add (as I wrote previously) that the biggest problem with competitions, awards and prizes is that those pictures which are recognized / "winners" demonstrate nothing other than the bias of the judge(s) thereof. Kinda like a glorified "like" button on the internet.
While I dabble in juried photo competitions just for the pure hell of it, the only "competition" I care about is submitting a body-of-work portfolio to a gallery director / curator and "winning" the grand prize of an exhibition of my work. But of course, those "competitions" are subject to the exact same conditions as any photo competition. In this case, the bias of the gallery director / curator. What is gold to one gallery director / curator can be, and often is, garbage to another.
And, BTW, heaven help you if your ego is wrapped up in either exhibition seeking (or any other photo competitions) success or failure cuz you might end up cutting off an ear - hopefully yours, not a gallery director's.