The first time I do anything, I am a bundle of nerves. I like knowing exactly what to expect and how it will look and feel. When I had the opportunity to show my work in a gallery for the first time, all my nerves got together and decided to throw a party. After all the big decisions of what to show and getting my photos down to the curator, I had the smaller decisions to make. What do I wear? How early do I get there? How late do I stay? What will I feel like afterwards? I started reading blog posts and articles on the subject. One recurring theme was the warning of the let down after the show was over. Let down? I just reached my big goal for 2014 and I am going to feel let down?
Yes, yes I am. A few days after the show, a sadness crept over me. I have spent some time processing it and I think I landed on why I am feeling this sadness and disappointment. When I imagined my photos hanging on the walls of a public building, I imagined my heart knowing…. really knowing… that I was a photographer. Somehow, I thought I would believe in myself more. I imagined that my heart and mind would change the way I felt about my work. However, my heart and mind did not change that quickly.
With some time, change did come. For the first time in my journey of taking photographs, I realized wanted to please myself. I think any photographer, or any artist, would say this is a huge shift in thinking. Suddenly, what I think of myself and my work is the most important thing. I have finally answered the questions, “What am doing with my photography? What is reason behind each click?” Ready for it? I take photos because I love it. And with each click, I see light dancing on something and I must capture it.
Does this mean I don’t care what other people think of my photography or that I don’t want to hear if it moves them? No. Every artist loves to hear those things. We long to inspire others. We hope we touch hearts. It means that I also long to inspire myself. It means I have become my own muse. My love for light is all there is, and it is enough.
So brave! As much as I think I would be thrilled to have my own images up in a gallery, I know I would probably have a panic attack as well. It’s a lot to put your work out there isn’t it. To be so brave as to share your heart and work.
I’m so happy for you, having gone through this… and knowing that in the end… you felt strong enough to say.. I love my own work, regardless of what happens.
Yes. So proud of you! xx
Thank you, friend! xx
I agree with all of this. I didn’t get to hang my pictures in a real gallery, it was a city art walk however all my feelings were so very similar to yours. Like almost identical. Only I was not left feeling let down. I was left feeling relieved. Relieved it was behind me. That being okay with what I do just for myself is okay and that if others want to look at it too and feel some sort of inspiration, I should be glad. Because mostly in all of this I feel pressure, an enormous pressure to please. “what do (they) want to see?” I’m probably talking mumbo jumbo but I keep realizing that the things I take pictures of are things that matter to me and I’m always so happy when someone might tell me they were touched by what I saw and then showed them. I didn’t even mean for it to happen but sometimes it does and that’s just by being in my own back yard or my own house because mostly, that’s where my images are taken. When I read in your words that “My love for light is all there is, and it is enough.” all I can say, it sure is enough and it’s enough to touch others and inspire others and it’s all because it’s what you love, it just trickles down. I can sure feel it when I look at your images.
Thank you for your kind words! They made my day. I am so glad this resonates with you too! xx
you are awesome my dear. i have thought the same thing myself about my photography, and that is exactly what i tell anyone who pushes me to do more. it makes me happy. the end. i wish you lived closer. xxxx
Yes… I wish the same thing.
So good…and yes, it is more than enough.
I would so have loved to see your photos in a gallery. I know it would have been really great. I am no photographer, especially compared to you and the ladies above. But I do love photography why my whole heart. It’s so important to feel comfortable and confident in what we photograph which I don’t think I really do yet. I do know I’m happy and comfortable in photographing my family and the things closest to me and when I post the photos I love I feel a little swell of pride in myself. But then I get in a rut where I don’t pick up the camera and don’t know what to photograph so I get sucked in to what others and doing and try to replicate or fit in and I just don’t. You always seem (to me anyway) that you are so completely comfortable in yourself. Your photos are always stunning and just seem to flow so beautifully. I’m so glad you have reached this place and you know what you are doing is enough. But seriously, I wouldn’t have doubted you were there already. 🙂
Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I think it is all a journey. I wonder if I will feel even more myself next year? I love your work… I think you are better than you believe. xx
i feel this post dear staci deep inside me. i can really relate, i had much the same realization after my 1st art gallery experience. and really, it was one of the most freeing, liberating gifts to receive. it is enough. more than enough… XOXOXO
Thank you xx.
It was a joy to be there with you that night, as a friend and an admirer of your eye, I love you friend!
Thank you for all your support. Love you, xx.
congratulations on showing in the arts district — that is awesome!! super duper awesome! and congrats on meeting your goal for the year. and, even more-so, thx for sharing the journey of “the leading up to” and the “aftermath” – because i SO appreciate the fine details in the journey of an artist, you are not alone. it is a relief to read your words: that you do it because you love it. (period). that is enough. thank you for sharing. and i hope i see your next show!!
Thank you! It has been a journey made easier because of inspiring friends like you.
Well written, Staci. Beautiful words, from the heart. And congratulations on your exhibition. I remember the feelings you had and expressed, from years ago when I hung a dozen images for a month in a large bookstore/coffee shop. As I was given a few months notice, I carefully viewed the exhibitions as they came and went, coming to the conclusion that all my images were embarrassing in the extreme. Nevertheless, up they went. During the month, I sneaked in for ten minutes when I was back in that town, hoping to see a vast crowd gathered about oohing and awing, but never a soul did I see standing in awe and amazement. And then the month was gone. A couple of months later, I was back in that area, and dropped in for coffee, and a look at the latest gallery. It was nice, AND had a couple of people looking at the artwork. I said to one viewer, “this is nice work, isn’t it”, to which she replied “pity you weren’t here a few months ago, there was a set of black and white architectural photographs that were absolutely stunningly. Somebody from out of town”. I didn’t say anything, but I floated out into the parking lot. The lesson for me was: do it for yourself, don’t anticipate praise or sales, but make sure everyone knows your name and contact number, just in case. 🙂 🙂
I love this story and what great advice. Thank you so much stopping by.
Took you long enough! 🙂 Just kidding girl — I’ve never had any doubts about your love for the art. It shows in every photograph you take.
Congratulations on having your work displayed. A real cool experience.
I do find it very interesting how having your work displayed changed your view on photography, making it more of a personal journey.
I have been fortunate enough to have some pictures displayed and sold in local coffee shops. The big change it did for me was somehow permitting me to think of my photos as “art”. Still not entirely comfortable with calling them that, but am trying to grow comfortable with the term.