Dominic Hawgood is an award winning photographer having been selected for the acclaimed Hyères photo festival, Foam Magazine’s Talent issue and recently receiving the BJP’s IPA, Dominic tells us what its like to be a winner.
Can you offer a quick introduction to who you are, where you live and what you do?
I’m an artist based in London, who lives and works in the UK. I’m an RCA alumni and work with photography, lighting design, installation and CGI.
Which festivals / prizes do you have experience submitting to?
I’ve submitted for awards, residencies, competitions and festivals since finishing undergraduate study in 2005. I keep a list of most things I’ve ever entered:
Bradford National Media Museum x 3
Whitechapel Open x 2
AOP x 2
Center Awards x 2
Terry O’Neil x 2
Hyeres x 2
Diana Foundation x 1
ARC Award x 1
Artsway x 1
Rhubarb Rhubarb Bursary x 1
ArtSpace x 1
Ffotogallery Residency x 1
Hereford Festival x 1
Aspex x 1
3FF Urban Dialogues x 1
1000 Words x 1
Aesthetica x 1
Arts Trust Scotland x 1
FourCorners x 1
Belfast Photo Factory x 1
Rado Star Prize x 1
Extra Special People Bursary x 1
Udk Prize x 1
Voies Off x 1
Belfast Photo Festival x 1
Burn Magazine x 1
Portfolio Review x 1
Red Mansion x 1
reGeneration x 1
South London Gallery x 1
Foam x 1
QEST x 1
BJP x 1
Do you feel that once you were selected for your first ‘big’ prize, it was easier to be reconized and selected for other prizes ?
Hyeres was helpful, it started networking and getting my work out to a larger audience. BJP IPA was great because of all the publicity, and I could really feel that people were starting to take an interest in what I was doing. However the key decision was study. I chose to go to the RCA specifically because people hold the course in high regard, and when you finish, if you play things right, you can get a lot of attention compared to other courses in the UK. I studied hard and it paid off, and that was the turning point……from then on I pushed extremely hard to make as much headway as possible. Afterwards, for the very first time I started to get nominated for things rather than applying all the time, so I knew something had changed. Being selected for Foam Talent gave my practice greater exposure within Europe.
What are the key criteria that you consider when submitting a piece of work?
Things like ……Who is on the panel, do they have similar interests, have I spoken to then previously or do they know of my work? What is being asked from me? Do I have the time? What will I get from the experience? Will submitting push my work into a new area? How is the prize / award perceived? Is there budget?
There are so many awards / submissions for emerging photographers to submit to, how can you best decide which to apply for?
Look at where you want to get to and what the best route might be. As you can see from submission list I’m persistent but also I have strategy. Getting your work in front of people definitely helps, and winning is definitely not what it’s al about. I’ve found getting to a shortlist can be very beneficial as you get to speak with people, and years down the line that might make all the difference.
What paid submission would you recommend people to participate in? What would be your advice for someone applying for a paid submission?
One that offers value for money.
How do you balance commercial and personal work?
I’m still finding the balance right now, but my feeling is that I should always establish an artistic career before taking on commercial work.
What projects are you working on right now?
I’ve been commissioned by the European Photo Exhibition Award to produce new work. I’ve been working on a new project in response to that which I’ll be releasing around mid 2016.
Do you have a mentor that you contact or rely upon?
I speak to friends a lot about ideas, and I contact people who I think I would like to chat with. I built up tutor relations from study and this was really helpful, it’s really important to find individuals who have common interests.
Is there one award / prize that you look out for every year or one that you hold in higher esteem than others?
Not really, awards come and go so I just keep an eye out for things that will fit my practice. I’m changing the way I work quite quickly so it makes sense that the things I apply for also change and evolve.
If you could be on a judging panel yourself, how do you feel you would approach it?
With thought, consideration and respect