I received my schedule of 18 reviewers for Fotofest. Through the magic of Google, I learned more about each individual reviewer. My research clearly indicates that I’m wasting time even driving to the airport. The quick internet search (through the lens of fear) proves each reviewer is not interested in my work and I chose wrong. There is nothing in it for me and I should just stay home where I’m truly needed.
The above assertion is based on converstaions with the reviewers in my head; not the ones I will eventually meet. Each mental session consists of me trying to get something from them: working my fine art bullshit mojo and getting shot down. They refuse to be seduced by my charm and, dare I say, profound, thoughtful talent. They see I’m not interesting and far too self-absorbed to be taken seriously.
Instead of trying to block the fear based voices, I let them talk themselves out. They stop with plenty of time for the real work to begin. When I’m able to just observe and listen to my insecurities, I learn something. I get to see the full spectrum of my motivations.
What are my motivations? What do I want to have “happen”? Let’s start with the most base first: I want people to buy my photos so I can recoup the incredible expense I have put into making them. I would love to stop throwing money at my art and I want my reviewers to throw some at it too. It’s a bit blunt, but there it is.
That has a real sense of entitlement to it wouldn’t you agree? Thinking I’m owed something for work that comes through me is childish.
What’s left after that? Let me begin again:
Over the course of four days, I get to formally meet 18 professionals in the fine art photography world. I don’t have a “strategy” for maximizing the value of my meetings. Any relationship worth a damn is free of strategy or design. Here is what I want to have happen under the banner of having nothing to lose.
- I want to meet people who inspire me by their own work.
- I want to learn more about the photo world and the people in it.
- I want to learn what I can do to improve my work habits.
- I want to share my love of making art.
- I want the pictures to be touchstones for a spiritual experience or, at least, a reminder that such things are possible.
- I also want to learn how to make my portfolio better. How can I improve the viewing experience? What part of me is still in the way? What images are strong, which can be better? What is the next chapter in the story?
- I can’t control what my pictures will do. I can control my level of interference in what they can do. I want to remember that when I’m sitting across from someone who just wants to be helpful.
The point of writing this all down is to bring my mind back to right size and to share in my preparation process. Also, I want to project an image of someone above earthly concerns (money). Forgive the grandiose elements and accept the rest as honest desire.
Having said that, if both my portfolios get bought on the spot, I’m not going to fight the universe on it.