I remember being a young photographer (it seems so long ago now) avidly reading the photography magazines that were available on the high street. They all had their own year-long competitions and I would fiercely devour the content each month.
But as much as these grand features provided inspiration, they were also pretty dispiriting. I knew, as a twenty-year-old working for minimum wage, that I wouldn't be able to afford the kinds of trips that were required to shoot the exotic images that always won.
Shots of camel trains in the desert, wrinkled old Indian men, and starving children in Africa - these were the mainstays of the photography magazine competition scene at the time. And many of these tropes still endure.
It makes me sad, in a way, that these 'exotic' shots consistently win so many competitions that have their roots in British institutions. They encourage the kind of lifestyle that simply isn't sustainable for our planet in the long run.
I'm hoping that as Greta Thunberg spreads the message that we have one planet and we must look after it, that photography competitions start to focus more on local imagery. It might seem like a small and irrelevant goal compared to other environmental action, but each small part adds up to a larger whole.
Until "local" photography is given the same kudos as the exotic, we're going to struggle in the wider world of image-making. So perhaps if you're active in a local camera club you could suggest that they introduce an annual competition where images have to be taken within a 10-mile radius - that could provide a good challenge and a way of bringing the focus back to the local area!
Anyway, I'll leave with you just a little link to an article that I wrote recently on how we can consider our environmental footprint as photographers. I think it's an incredibly important thing to think about at the moment, and I hope that you do too.