Above, three recent but very different images that I had submitted to an online Gallery. Two are very recent, but the Apache Plume is from about 12+ years ago. So what does that say about my photography skills, style and personal vision. Keeping in mind that vision and style are not synonymous. These represent different styles, but I think a similar vision in regards to how I see the light and what attracts my eye.
All of these images received a similar ranking (details here). That soul destroying ‘Special Merit” category that keeps you wanting more. So what does “special merit” mean anyway? Have I not progressed at all in 12 years? Or are my interests and vision not the current hip and trendy thing? (I think the latter) So I’ll get recognition, but never actually win a contest? (One of my recent submissions is going to be published in a book this year. But that’s another story……..). And what is winning?
My middling success for a while sent me down “The Rabbit Hole” as I discussed recently on my photo diary. So I’m reflecting, reorganizing and redirecting my energies. At a recent Personal Vision Workshop with Cole Thompson, we discussed how winning can actually be a setback to the progress towards understanding our personal vision; leading us to pursue the WIN rather than the VISION. Small rewards can seriously sidetrack real goals and personal accomplishments.
Who are you making photographs for? Yourself or the win?