Fotofest in Houston is coming and I have a healthy mix of fear and anticipation about it. I also have unrealistic expectations about what might happen. I swing between crushing self-doubt to grandiose entitlement. The reality is, I’m afraid to put my work out because of all the petty “what-if’s” my mind can cook up. My ego is hard at work.
I spoke with a friend and she reminded me to get out of the way. All my fears have nothing to do with the work and everything to do with me. The images I’m bringing were created through me, not by me. I had to get out of their way and follow instructions. The same is true today. My job is to take these images to Houston, meet the people I’m supposed to meet and not worry about outcomes. Making art has never been about me, it has been about me getting out of the way of the art.
It was a mistake to think that stopped being true after the shutter clicked.
So, I know I’ve signed up to meet with people but I don’t know if these are the people I’m supposed to meet. My job is to carry the work and be open to chance. It turns out that making art and presenting art have the same requirements.
I’m reminded of a passage in some spiritual literature: ‘True is not what we thought it was. True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God.”
Today, I get to prepare as best I can for people to get to know the work I do. I’ll print out my resume, bring business cards, show my work and share my enthusiasm. I look forward to meeting people I have admired through the internet, making new friends and, learning new things.
Fotofest is not something I have to do, it is something I get to do. The difference between those two perspectives is gratitude.
I’m not going to Fotofest, I am being led and it is my job to stay out of the way.