work

Putting Yourself Out There - Showing Your Work

For me this was one of my biggest struggles when I was first starting out as a photographer and believe me it was an ongoing inner battle, I was nervous!  What will other people think of my work? Will they say it sucks? Will they like it?

I was THAT guy who would only show my work to friends and family and of course the feedback was always good, which in hindsight was more of a hindrance than help when I look back on it now.  Showing your work to your family and friends is one thing, they are not going to tell you your work sucks are they? They are going to say the things they think you want to hear which doesn’t benefit you in any way, shape or form.

It’s very tough to put yourself out there, seemingly on display and sharing your work with a bunch of strangers. You feel vulnerable, naked and alone!  After all, this is something you created from scratch you put your heart and soul into this. Everybody is a critic, everyone has something to say. It takes a lot of courage. You are worried about being judged, what will everyone say about you’re work, I get it! You are going to get deflated and knocked down but you just have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and grab your camera and make more photographs.

You have to reach way down within and find the courage to get your work seen.  Get as many eyes on it as possible!  That way you find out what you need to work on and know which areas you need to improve.  There will always be areas you can improve on even after years of being a photographer and just as in regular life you are NEVER EVER finished learning.

One of my past photography teachers reached out to me recently and we were talking and he said: “…as artists, we thrive on encouragement. It's like the tide, when it's in it feels good and when it’s out, it can be damn lonely!” His words rang in my head for days afterwards. This really struck a chord in me and if you are reading this right now, you know who you are. Thank you for all your words of encouragement as of late, they mean a lot to me.

So people don’t give up!  Keep consistently putting your work out there. Yes, it is definitely not an easy thing to do but it IS necessary!

 

Photo courtesy of Linda Langerak

Applications, Submissions and Rejection

Fear of rejection is a huge thing and I believe it lives in all of us. For some it hides in the deep recesses of our minds and for others it is right there, constantly in the forefront. It’s there in varying degrees depending on the individual and there is nothing wrong with that, it’s natural. Nobody wants to be rejected be it by a member of the opposite sex, not getting a job we applied for or in an artist’s case, not getting accepted to exhibit in that art show or gallery or even a magazine submission.
The result of this fear can be absolutely paralyzing to some that it can even prevent a person from going after what they really want in life. Now to me that’s heartbreaking! We have all faced rejections in our lives at some point and survived the trauma to talk about it. Hell, maybe some of us have even laughed it off. My point being: it will not kill you, it will only strengthen your resolve! In fact, I have had a recent string or run of rejections. I didn’t get my work accepted by a gallery. I didn’t get a job I bid on and I didn’t get accepted to exhibit at a show I applied to and all of this taking place in less than a month’s time. Lo and behold, here I am still standing and talking/writing about it.
You are going to get rejected but you will also go on runs of good things happening and feel like you just can’t lose or be stopped. You have to be prepared to take the good with the bad. As Chase Jarvis says “get used to hearing the word NO”. In this business and in life, the sooner you learn and accept that the better off you will be.
There are always going to be people that don’t like your art or what you are doing but don’t let it discourage or dissuade you. There will also be people that love your work, your style, and your art. Just don’t let rejection and disappointment get the better of you or get in the way. Never stop creating and go after what you want in life. Make it happen, make it work!

 

Image courtesy of nuclearchowdermarketing.com