Is it ego, is it vanity or is it just naive stupidity? Over the past 4 years I have been trying to get back up to speed (and go faster, much faster!)on the techniques and technicalities of photography as well as just get back into being creative after years of enforced neglect. Over this period I have been lucky and fortunate enough to get support and encouragement, as well as praise, from a variety of people. So, naturally, you feel as if you must be getting somewhere and must be alright at this photography lark. Then you go and attempt a couple of weddings, enter a couple of competitions, take photos outside your 'comfort zone' (my case - horses) and be part of an exhibition. It's then that you come back down to earth with a bump:
The wedding shots I am generally happy with but boy do I have a greater respect for wedding photographers - you have soooo much to think about and perform 'live'. Then I foolishly thought you could nip up to a town, take a prize winning photo for a calender competition and beat the people who live there and have 100's of shots! Pillock. But worse than that, I didn't even get a look in - no runner up or highly commended mention - nothing. I prostituted myself too by taking a calender shot (shame on me):
I loved being with the horses and I don't care what others think of those shots because I had a great experience:
I participated alongside others from the local camera club to put on an exhibition as part of NEOS (Google it). There was an impressive eclectic mix of photos. I sold - none. We ran a wee competition asking visitors to pick their favourite shot - I came nowhere near the winners. It was stiff competition that's for sure!
So what do I make of all of this? Yes, I spent some of this weekend thinking I must be crap at photography but, and this is important to me, all that it did was make me want to push myself even further and faster. Everything I have done over the last two months has moved me forward. Before the exhibition I never printed my photos(to my wife's annoyance)nor had I mounted pictures either. I also got a reminder of why you should NEVER try to judge your audience (or indeed the judges!) - just be yourself.
I have learned an awful lot, not only about photography, but about myself. It's good to have a hobby don't you think?