Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Honesty Is a Scary Policy

I am not certain exactly what I hope to achieve with a photography blog except that I read it is one of the 16 things that photographers should do to catapult their careers. Given what Mythbusters have demonstrated are the effects of a catapult on a human being, I'm not convinced this is going to be the boost I need, but rather than writing all the posts in my head, here they are.

I've been taking pictures with cool cameras since at least 15 but I wouldn't say that I was a photographer. In fact, I think I had a cool camera because it was the old one that my mom didn't use anymore and not because I sought one out. I've seriously enjoyed taking pictures for about 8 years now and would maybe start to call myself a photographer (but only in a small voice when no one is really paying attention) in the last year.

If you hear a whistling in the air while you read this, that is the wind created as I swing wildly back and forth between confidence in my abilities and total certainty of my lack. Cameras are amazing, filters are incredible, who doesn't take good pictures these days (I mean, if they want to?) Okay, I guess Anthony Weiner.

I just got a fancier camera because I was having image clarity envy, so now I will find out if that's really the big deal I was thinking it might be. I tend to like my photos blurry and grainy, but I want them to be that way because I choose it, not because that's as clear as it got. Since I've gotten the camera I haven't really been out much, so I took some pictures of my daughter (who works for food and shelter) and is, of course, the most beautiful girl in the world. If you can't take a good picture of her, it's because your camera is broken.

Violet Travels through Photographic History

Talk about planning ahead. Some photographers will spend hours setting up the lights and getting the scene just right. I started out 7 years ago by making my own model. Beat that.

Jack's View
Violet in the Trees

I also enjoy photo manipulation which I have seen called a number of different things. I think the term I like most is 'deviant art' but I've just always felt at home with that adjective. Manipulation seems selfish somehow, like how Mr. Burns would probably deal with images, "Dance, photo monkey!" These sometimes also involve my homemade models…

I entered some photos in the 11th annual Smithsonian photo contest (which I was surprised was free!) I also submitted some work to The Hand magazine which are under review for issue #3. Even if they don't get accepted, that covers the cost of that issue and it looks like a really cool magazine. Finally, I submitted some work to Vermont Photography Workplace which had a call for an exhibit called Imagined Realities. I'm curious to see what kind of reaction I get. I know that I should expect a whole bunch of rejections - I've read all of the stuff about people spending years submitting over and over and over again and not getting accepted and then winding up being acknowledged as brilliant. I'm not sure I have the strength to withstand all of the rejection on the off chance that it means I'm a genius and not just a mediocre photographer.

I was a finalist in the 2013 Best of Photography Contest in Photographer's Forum and although I was so excited that I squealed like a little girl and the finalist selection rate was 14% (out of over 10,000 submissions), I still have a sneaking suspicion that it's really just to get people to buy the $55 book. There goes the swinging again…

Guadalajara Bicycles - Finalist, 33rd Best of Photography
Contest, Photographer's Forum & Sigma

Finally, I feel like I should mention Mike Birbiglia because he said he has a program that looks for his name on the internet and lets him know when he is mentioned and I would like to let him know, in the most socially awkward way possible, that in comparison to the kinds of things that fall out of my mouth on a  regular basis, the things that he says are positively Frank Sinatra smooth.