When I started GG, I was filled with apprehension and anxiety about introducing my work to the world. For a long time I avoided showing it to anyone, because my confidence was not there and I did not have the words yet to express myself in conceptual terms. Blogging and finding a community of fellow artists and curators helped me move past those issues. For so long, my photo mentor would push me to get out there and act like I deserved it, but until I slowly, bit by bit, started to believe it for myself, I was unable to. Some people are able to ‘fake it till they make it,’ but for me it is crucial that things in my life are genuine. My relationships with friends, family, colleagues, my images and my writing, so I had to wait until I could be genuine in presenting my work.
It is important to find a way to develop your confidence. It is not about ego, or self-aggrandizement, but about a heartfelt belief in what you are doing. There is a big difference between hubris and excitement for your own success. I grew up being told to “not get a big head,” and believing that success was to be hidden and downplayed because it would make people hate you. So eventually it seemed like failure was a better option, because at least it made you stop being a target. However the cost was too high. There has definitely been a trend to find the next hot young thing in the photo world, and artists are easily sucked into the hype. And if the lightening does not strike, and the first time you show your work to a gallery they don’t offer you a solo show, there is a tendency to feel like a failure. But last night, I realized that taking your time and slowly building your way up, is a much better route. With each step forward, I have time to think and digest and chose what is best for my work.
And as much as we like to believe in the cult of the individual in America, finding mentors and building relationships with those who can help you is imperative. Everything that has happened to me so far has been the result of both incredible effort on my part but also an equal amount of support and encouragement from others. And curating has absolutely helped me grow as an artist. I highly recommend focusing your energy on the work of others to open up your perspective. I succeed every two weeks, when I see how great the work looks on Women in Photography, and feel proud of everything Amy and I, with the support of Humble Arts, have been able to accomplish.
The art world is a tough place, and there are so many talented people out there, it is so important to focus on the things that matter. The highlight of my opening last night, was seeing one of my oldest friend’s from New York, now living in LA, appear in front of my picture without any warning. And seeing all of the other people I love come out to support me in a group show, made having my image on the wall mean so much more.
The icing on the cake, thanks you Nina and Christopher for the heads up, was discovering that James Danziger singled out my image to review on his blog, and oh yes, I come after Joel Sternfeld, Roe Ethridge, Alessandra Sanguinetti, and Vik Muniz. The post is an excellent survey of the fall photo season, and worth a look for that. Today is a very good day. (check out Will Steacy pic in the first image, my partner in crime at the show last night!) If you missed the show last night, Micheal Mazzeo has put together a really nice group of work and it runs through Oct 11th.