The Ups and Downs of Photography

September 16, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I love photography for many reasons:

  • It combines art and science
  • It forces my non-artistic brain to think outside the box
  • It allows me to meet so many cool people within the industry and within so many other industries (e.g. music, writing, industrial, etc.)
  • It allows me to make others smile
  • It is challenging
  • etc.

This last year, I have went through a bit of a phase where I hated EVERYTHING I shot. Not because it was terrible, but because I didn't feel it was noteworthy. It was average. I wanted amazing. Clients seemed happy, I was getting some accreditations on the first try with the PPOC, so I knew it wasn't all bad, but I just didn't like where things were. I was in a slump. I felt stagnant. Made worse by the fact that in order to try something new, push myself, and get amazing shots, I was missing one precious resource; time. I know none of us have enough of it, and I don't even have kids so I don't have the best excuses as others do, but I have 2 careers that I love (photography and occupational therapy) and sometimes it seems hella difficult to keep both of them afloat at the same time. This summer was especially rough because I was in a car accident and had to turn down a lot of work based on my reduced physical capacity.

I debated even submitting any photos to the Alberta PPOC Provincial Salon. Partially because I felt I didn't have anything remarkable, and partially because it would mean taking time away from editing paying projects. On top of that, I knew I could use the entry fee for something else...a pair of new boots perhaps. The benefits of the salon is that you are provided with some feedback on your photos. Whether you are entered or not, the most value is in watching the critiquing online or in person. This is how you learn about photography and what judges are looking for. This is how you improve as a photographer. 

Worried I would regret it if I didn't send something, I picked 4 photos on a whim, and sent them in with very little extra editing. This was in early July.

Then at the end of August, I saw on Facebook a post that went something like, "Thank you everyone for your hard work this weekend at the PPOC-AB Salon!" Crap. I missed it. I completely forgot about it even though I had it in my scheduler; I think I was blocking it out because I was certain entering was a waste of my time. I didn't watch a single thing. I had no idea how my images did (I assumed not well) and I missed a good opportunity to learn. Shame on me. 

Then I got an e-mail that I had to read 5 times to understand. Not only had all 4 of my images got accepted, but one was awarded a Merit for one image! I had never received a merit before and I had never gone 4/4 at a Salon! 

Maybe I don't suck as much as I feel I do. I am my own worst critic at times. Sometimes you submit 4 images you think are slam dunks and you get slammed.  This was the opposite. Maybe I need a little more confidence in what I am doing. My Dad always says, "You need to be good to be lucky and lucky to be good." and I think this was one of those scenarios. It's a bit of both.

So I am on an extreme photography high. I'm out of my 18 month slump. I just nailed 3 shoots last week, and I get to see my images at the PPOC-AB Salon this weekend at our PPOC AB Educational Event this weekend in Calgary. 

Give me a month though. The highs and high, and the lows are low. Maybe I will get slaughtered in the other competition I entered. Maybe I won't get my next accreditation. Who knows; art is subjective. All I can say is photography is super emotional and challenging. This is why I love it. 


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