“Be yourself. I much prefer seeing something, even it is clumsy, that doesn’t look like somebody else’s work.” William Klein
Today, as I was posting my daily photograph on Facebook, I received an email that caught my attention. The first paragraph read: "Thank you for applying to the Louisville Art Association 28th National Photography Show to be held May 27 through June 5, 2022. We received 451 applications from a very competitive field of artists and are pleased to announce that our judge has CHOSEN ONE OR MORE of your images listed in this email for entry into the show – an impressive achievement as only 100 photographs were chosen! Congratulations!".
I couldn't believe it! It was an incredible feeling, especially since two of the three photographs I submitted were selected. The validation I received made my day. As a photographer, you always wonder if your work is "good enough." While I have almost 1,450 likes on my Facebook page, which is an impressive increase from the 30 likes I had in July 2021, and have received multiple orders for prints, the question still lingers in my mind - is my work competitive enough to be recognized by other photographers and the industry as a whole?
As an IT executive, I am familiar with performance reviews and promotions. Since I switched industries and became a photographer, I see these shows and competitions as my year-end performance reviews. They provide me with an indication of where I stand in a competitive field. Being recognized in such a competitive industry is essential to making a difference as a photographer.
I am a firm believer in shooting what I like and the way I see it. If I like my work, others will too, and I will eventually find clients. However, this is not about finding clients. It's about recognition and standing out in a highly competitive field.
This email is what I needed today as I prepare for my first show this weekend in Daytona Beach. It reaffirms my belief that my work is "good enough," and I need to keep pushing through to make a difference in the world of photography. These types of moments give me the courage to keep moving forward, even when I have doubts. I'm ecstatic, and it's what I needed to hear today!