Andy Adams (Flak) sent me a lovely email about his new feature, the work of this year’s Santa Fe portfolio review attendees. As I was not selected I felt a little bitter about the whole thing. So I told Andy, I was really not in to posting about it. But today I came across Sarah Sudhoff’s lovely post about her experience and reconsidered. We are all striving for the same things, and we all put the same amount of energy, time, love and sacrifice into photography. Sarah’s work also deals with a very real issue, and I imagine galleries say similar things to her about the difficulty of selling work and that maybe it does not match the sofa so to speak. But her images are startlingly beautiful, despite the very painful and emotional subject matter of cancer. A word people do everything in their power to avoid.
It struck me that there is something inherently strange about the built in valuation process of making art. Every day I wake up and face this process. I have to constantly subject my work to the judgment of others. But by making it, I have no other choice. Sometimes, it can be soul crushing and you see the good fortune of others and feel pretty bad for a moment. Reading Sarah’s post, I knew exactly how great she must have felt getting feedback and meeting the people who have the power to make her career happen. Getting that validation is almost like a drug . And when it’s taken away or withheld, it is brutal. So I guess the only solution is to let yourself feel horrible for a bit and then pick yourself up and move on. Because in reality we all go through it, even after we get a book deal or a show and move up the art world food chain. Without some sort of inner coping mechanism, you will be destroyed. It took me a very long time, but I really believe in my work. And in reality there are a ton of great things happening for me in my career. Sometimes I am shocked to see how far I have come in the year since I finished school. And I feel so grateful for all the wonderful support and feedback I have received.
A few night’s ago the lovely and very talented Corinne May Botz’s invited me to present my work to her portrait class at Cooper Union. I had to fill an hour and was a little nervous beforehand. But it was one of the most satisfying and rewarding experiences so far of my career. The students completely understood my work, and saw things I had not even considered. Watching the project come alive and affect people like that is why I have sacrificed so much and work so hard. So as my boyfriend is always telling me two steps forward one step back, means you are still moving a head.