Thursday, May 31, 2007

Taking your temperature in someone else's mouth

Whenever I see a parent yelling at a kid in a grocery store I always think to myself, "I would never do that." "That is so ugly" "What are they thinking?". Then invariably a week or a month later I find myself in line at the cash register or in the frozen food section screaming at one or more of my children to put that down/knock it off or else face the standard Rolodex of threats we use to get the kids to listen.

I entered a a series of images (The Villa Series) in the local APA show. I think of myself as someone with a national reach and thought for sure I would be a shoe-in. I had already been practicing the humble head nod I would you use as my peers offered congratulations.

Years before when I was just starting out I got a couple images in the same show. My wife and I went together and had a great time looking at all the images together and hopeful of the career I might have. Then a little man with a black beret and cape walks in with many of his minions. My wife asked who is That? I explained he was the local big time photographer. "You will never be like that!" she said. I assured her I didn't even have it in me.

Back to the present. Needless to say the APA only took one image from Villa series and I was livid. I told the poor guy at the APA if he didn't show the whole series then he couldn't show any of them. He explained invitations with my name had already gone out and it was too late to pull the image. He was way too nice about it.

I had become the little man in the beret and the ugly parent screaming at his kids.

So like a good insecure photographer looking for validation I went about scouring the country for a show that would accept the images. I found an APA chapter in southern california that was willing to take a couple of the images. Of course this did not have the intended effect of making me feel any better and just made me feel kind of small.

In a more perfect world knowing that I had created a body of work that I was proud of would be enough. I would not need to take my temperature in someone else's mouth to know how I am doing.


Rob Prideaux said...

I'm totally getting a cape. Totally.

(himself) said...

Self-deprecation really does work. People really respect failure more than we care to admit. However, living as close to it as I do makes it hard to have the same level of appreciation.

Anonymous said...

These are great GREAT stories. Thanks for lifting my spirits!