Living life as an artist means getting used to rejection. Even anticipating it. Because rejection is inevitable both in the art world and in the business world.
I submit images from time to time to competitions; I respond to calls for gallery exhibitions; and I propose image concepts for magazine publication. Oftentimes the answer is "No thanks." Many times, there's no response at all. But then out of all the no's and black void responses there come the emphatic "YES" replies, the enthusiastic "That's a great idea! Let's do it," or the "Congratulations! You're invited to show your work!"
This week has been a bit nutty. Crazy spring snow ruined my shoot schedule, schools closed, opportunities to connect with prospects were missed, and tax season is creeping every closer (ugh!). But smack dab in the middle of this all, I got that "Congratulations!" email and for a minute, everything else faded away.
See, being a photographer is one thing. Being a business owner is an altogether different beast. And then, being an artist...well, that's like living on another planet (one yet to be discovered - hah!). I wrote about this a little in my earlier blog on pricing which you can find here. But the point is, you can work so hard and for so long to define your vision as an artist. Back in the day painters would work so hard on their craft and there was never any guarantee that in their lifetime, they'd see success. In fact, some never did...until after they were long gone. Still, they worked so hard for the love of their craft. Much as I do.
Although I shoot my clients from THEIR perspective, to help them tell THEIR story (not mine), I do try to take time to shoot for me. That's something rather different. Because when I shoot for me, I share a bit of my world, my thoughts, hopes, dreams, fears and challenges. Perhaps I haven't spent nearly enough time doing that over the years, always so busy with client work, but I plan for this year to be different. I look forward to sharing some of the results of that exploration with you.
So I'm putting it out there! My creative personal work is sprinkled out there on Instagram, on Facebook, on 500px, but I'm dedicating this year to building a strong personal portfolio. Because in the past, when I have shown my personal voice, that's when I've sparked something within someone somewhere out there who's randomly stumbled across it and who's heard and inspired by the message loud and clear. That's pure magic!
The reason why this particular "Congratulations!" is so important to me is because 1) I almost didn't enter but a nagging voice at the 11th hour told me to just send at least 1 image and so I did; and 2) my hero Joyce Tenneson (if you've never heard of her, please Google her!) was judging and choosing. She's curated a powerful collection of images that will be exhibited at PhotoPlace Gallery in Vermont. When I saw the collection I was so proud to have my work listed among them. I am so thankful to be exhibited among them. And I feel so inspired to keep going...to keep on keeping on despite the rejection that will inevitably continue to come despite my best efforts. Because I know...the Yes's WILL come if I work hard enough.
Keep on Keeping On, Trample Rejection,
and Wear Your Passion Like a Shield!