Bouncing Back

Alyx here.  I know I haven’t been on in a month, but I’ve been busy with other things in my life . . . and I’ve been licking some wounds.

I recently attended a seminar on wholesaling for artists and at the end of it, I paid for a critique of our MAS Artwork portfolio.  The person giving the critique didn’t have much to say about our actual images, but she wasn’t happy about our overall collection.  She kept saying that we didn’t have a cohesive body of work . . . that what we have seems scattered.

Looking back on what she said now, I can see that it’s not horrible, but it really hit me hard at the time.  I realize that artists can become too attached to their work and not be able to view them objectively, so I tried not to let it affect me too much, but I kept hearing “Your stuff’s not good enough” in my head (even though she NEVER said those words).

So I buried myself in another project that had been on my plate for a while.  I didn’t touch any photos for two months.  And whenever those thoughts popped into my head, I steered the focus elsewhere.  But all the while, I’ve been mulling it over subconsciously, and I’ve come up with some thoughts about it:

  1.  Art is subjective.  I know this.  I’ve read this in SO many places.  I’ve even seen it first-hand when I hear one person gush over one of my photos and later hear another person say that same one isn’t one of their favorites, but that they like a different one.  Art.  Is.  Subjective.
  2. I’m still a relative newbie at this, so it’s going to take me a while to build up a cohesive body of work.  I’ve read articles about artists who’ve taken 8-10 years to get noticed by galleries & other prominent people.  I’ve only been doing this for the last 5 years as an amateur, and have only considered myself a professional for the last 2 years.  I’ve got a long way to go.
  3. I actually DO have more collections than what people see on the website.  When I go to take pictures, I take 10-30 shots of each subject, in a variety of angles.  Heck, I’ve got about 12 different angles of the Athens National Library Steps.  I just assumed that people would be bored from looking at THAT many photos of one subject, so I only posted six of them (two of which are the same image, just one is in black and white.
    Athens_Library_Steps_BW
  4. She wasn’t critiquing my work, just my (apparent) lack of any collection.  So I need to hear the feedback for what it actually is, and not take it as an attack on my skill as a photographer.  Heck, while I was licking my wounds those two months, I also won awards for photos that had been submitted to some contests a while back.  Both Heavenly Light and Athens National Library Steps 2 won awards during that time.Lake Tahoe 2012 - Heavenly LightAthens_National_Library_Steps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, now that I’ve had some distance from the actual critique, I’m feeling better about my photography again.  I’m ready to get out there with my camera and take more pictures.  I might even use the feedback to help me focus in a certain direction with my pictures.  Who knows . . . by this time next year, the site might look completely different.

Stay tuned . . .

Validation

There are some great moments of validation in an artist’s career:

  1. When someone likes a piece of your work
  2. When someone likes a piece of your work enough to buy it
  3. When you win an award for a piece of your work

Thankfully, I’ve had the first two happen . . . and now I can say I’ve hit the trifecta!

A few weeks back I submitted one of my photos for an online contest with a company called Art Forward Contests (unfortunately their site is down for maintenance, but please check back):

Lake Tahoe 2012 - Heavenly LightThis piece, called Heavenly Light, is one of the images that, while I was capturing it, I KNEW would be amazing (provided I caught it right).  So I was thrilled when I saw how it turned out.

That’s why I thought to include it in the Art Forward contest.  And when I heard from them two weeks ago that I won, I was over the moon!  There were over 800 artists who submitted their pieces for this contest, and mine was chosen for the Bronze award!  According to the congratulatory letter that came in the email, my name will show up on a double-page spread in an upcoming International Gallery Guide.  This guide is distributed in Galleries, Museums, and other locations, and apparently reaches hundreds of thousands of art patrons around the world.  In addition to that, my image and contact information will appear in the “Winners” section of the website (when they finish updating it), which has a following of about 15,000 and growing.

I think I literally bolted out of my seat and jumped up and down for joy when I read the email, for I can now call myself an award-winning photographer.  I did win one before for a piece called Open Reflection, but that was when this was all just a hobby for me . . . when I was just testing the waters to see if I could make a go of this photography business.  For some reason, this award seems more of a validation, saying “Yes, your photography is good enough.  You may continue.”

It also encourages me to continue submitting my photos to contests.  Who knows, the next award I receive might be the Gold.