The reason it has raised its head again is probably because I've recently invested considerable time in to an assignment. Then I question why I do that rather than something more constructive like gardening or baking. It is a recurring theme for me...why? Why bother? Why devote so much time to taking better images? I enjoy it clearly, but I enjoy creating lots of other things too...and they have much more practical and useful outputs...I think in my mind my photography in the long-term really does need an output too, otherwise as more of my time is invested in it, it will become harder and harder to justify. The other aspect I am struggling with, is as much as I enjoy my photography, I haven't particularly enjoyed commissions I've had...product shots, wedding, portraiture...it takes all the fun out of it...so as a business proposition I'm not really that keen either...so again the question comes back to why bother?
I think before I can answer that I have to address one key issue. At the moment my working processes are missing a vital part of the communication cycle. And that is, hardly anyone sees it!! Does that matter? Perhaps not, but why the hell am I making it then? I am making work, showing one or two friends, submitting it for assignment/assessment...and that's it. There seems to be a fundamental flaw in this process. So I guess this post is just to put a flag in the sand to remind myself that I need to consider 'putting my work out there'.
But I remain tentative for two reasons:
- who should the 'communicatee' be...or the target market if you will...I'm anxious that now I've made the leap from the aesthetically pleasing image to perhaps more meaningful images, I need to consider where to show them and of course whether any of it is 'good enough' (whatever that means)...
- and perhaps more honestly, it wouldn't be water off a duck's back if the work was severely criticised. I guess the fear of fear is sometimes greater than the thing itself, which I think is the case here.
So what is it that I should do? Enter competitions?...yes probably. Compile a portfolio to submit to magazines?...yes probably. And make an approach to galleries...gulp...turning tail!!
For now, I suspect I'll enter one or two online competitions where there is a level of anonymity. There are so many of them, many originating from the U.S., many you have to pay for and many I wonder about the legitimacy of. What strategy do you take? Do you just keep spending £20 here, $30 there on entry fees in the hope that one juror will eventually like your work? No, that doesn't feel right to me. There has to be a better strategy...I have in the past sporadically entered the odd competition and usually on a whim...nothing ever happens, I get disheartened and instead of bolstering my 'ego', it erodes it. So then I don't enter anything again for ages...I convince myself that most of the competitions are fund-raising initiatives or profiteering and leave it at that.
I sound like a cynic...but the promotional side of things (which incidently is what I was trained in) is what I am instinctively avoiding. I do need to tackle it...sometime...and I do need to understand my motives better...as the children grow up and need less of my time, I do sense I will need to make more of this aspect of my life or else lose it!