David Byrd's picture

The Valkyrie of Vengeance: Flight

I am so very grateful to share this image today and the achievement that comes with it.

This is the first piece that I prepared purposefully for the International Print Competition hosted by Professional Photographers of America, and it is also the first time that I have been a part of this very illustrious and difficult competition.

I would like to take this moment to thank three of the people involved in bringing this image to life. First and foremost, my wonderful wife Bethany. Her encouragement and support is never-ending and for that I am grateful. The amazing talent embodying the character of the Valkyrie of Vengeance, Bri Robynn Rambo. You are as talented on camera as you are behind it and I am thankful to have had the chance to create with you. Finally, the lady that shares her creativity, friendship and wisdom with me: Lauren Edmondson. You are the best and I look forward to the art ahead of us.

I started doing research on the competition early in 2017 and was prepared to enter, but I stalled and decided not to be a part of it. I create art all the time; the work has elements that are done well and pieces that can always be improved. When I was an actor, I constantly heard from mentors and teachers that a great actor leaves a final performance never feeling as if the journey is done and the work is ready to be finished - you can always improve. It was that philosophy that motivated me to not compete, because I simply do not create my art to follow the “rules of the game” for a competition.

When I competed in the Shutterfest 2018 image competition and took first and second place in my category as well as Grand Award for the entire competition, I was indescribably awed and so very thankful. I entered several pieces into that competition, but only one that I purposefully put my gathered knowledge and wisdom together to compete. That image is the piece that won. That moment gave me a greater gift than trophies or prizes: it gave me a conversation with my father who was dying. He had been so worried to leave this life, for fear that his children and wife would be left alone to fend for themselves. When I told him about that award, the conversation I had with Sal Cincotta on the phone that night, he rested his head back on his chair, closed his eyes and softly said, “You’re gonna be okay.”

That moment impacted my life completely and became a new cornerstone in my foundation and purpose.

My image for the IPC received a score of 95 which is the Superior category and also automatically enters the image into the exclusive Loan Collection of Professional Photographers of America. This is one of the highest honors you can receive from this competition. My image will travel the world and be seen by so many.

So Dad, you’re right – I’m gonna be okay. Thanks partner, for everything.

Model: Bri Robynn Rambo
HMUA: Lauren Edmondson
Leather bracers: Vincent Cantillon
Feather shoulder harness: Videnoir
Location: Parkwood Photography Studios

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