Art Show Revelations

When I first picked up a camera, I was shooting for the sake of shooting. Then I started shooting for other people–events, shows, portraits, etc. I think I’ve trained myself into shooting for someone else; obviously there’s my own take on a thing, but at the end of the day, no matter how happy I am with a photo, I am not 100% satisfied if the client doesn’t also love it.
I think this is why I’ve had so much trouble with art shows. I’ve come at them trying to figure out what a random audience of strangers will want to see, which is impossible and leads to frustration and insecurity.
I just dropped off my pieces for Art Libs, a show in Fort Washington, MD that combines art and Mad Libs. I had no idea what to put in, but the idea sounded too cool to pass up. As I put my pieces on the floor next to the others that had been dropped off, I felt an internal slump. I was thinking, “These aren’t good enough,” and “I should’ve used this other piece instead.” And then the lightbulb came on.
Doing a show isn’t about pleasing an unknown viewer. It’s about taking something you love and are proud of and showing the world. It’s about shooting for you and saying, “This is what I’ve got, take it or leave it.”
I’m glad I had this realization…I just wish I’d had it a day or two sooner when I still had time to swap around artwork.


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