As I continue to get older, the years seem to go by faster. I'd love to think that this is some concept that is new to you the reader, but I'm sure every one of you notices that too. What I don't know is if 2017 flew by as quickly for you as it did for me. For once I have gotten to the end of the year wanting the next to be better, but not because the one that is ending was bad. Don't get me wrong, there were challenges as always, but as photography goes, this has been the best year to date.
At the beginning of the year I was just getting the groundwork started on what has become an ongoing, long-term project. Compared to now, the concept was very basic, now it is so complex I have to stop myself from running off on tangents sometimes. I'd love to say that there is a working title, but I'd hazard to say that anyone who's had a working title has had ten-plus working titles. Either way, it has been a progress that has been challenging, enjoyable, and educational for multiple reasons and has evolved into something that has only become stronger as a whole work. However, if you talk to me at certain times, I'd probably not sound too confident about it, but I may have to save the reasoning for that for another post.
Having started to see the project I've been working on gel, I started to look into showing work. In years past I had shown a few times here in Augusta, but never made much, if any effort to show anywhere else. That being the case, I set out this year to get my work seen outside of town. I'd love to say that this website, along with social media, was enough to get eyes on my work, but in my opinion it wasn't enough. Therefore, I started sending out work on a regular basis for juried shows. Convinced it would take time to finally get into any shows, I was shocked when I was accepted into a show on just my second attempt. If you haven't looked at my exhibition record, in the about section of this page, it will be news that I've since had work shown in Portland, OR, Grand Forks, ND, and most recently, Budapest, Hungary. I set out to keep a strong exhibition record and didn't expect to get the positive response at the level I've had. Needless to say, the exhibition record is healthy, and I hope to continue at the same rate of showing in the coming year.
Most importantly to all that I've had going on this year has been staying driven and focused. I'd love to sit here and tell you the secret to what I've been doing, but in all honesty, anything I'd tell you is either common knowledge or, more than likely, a guess. What I can say is that a good bit of what I've considered successes have come from two things (these aren't guesses): Self-motivation, and Confidence.
To those who have known me for a while, I know, you're laughing your butts off right now. Anyone who knows me well, at least in a social aspect, might say, hopefully nicely, that self-motivation and confidence aren't exactly my strong points. Hell, even I'd probably tell you that when referring to anything BUT photography. However, these two things have become key. I have no real idea where the motivation has come from, but I can assure you it never comes from one place, person, or thing. There is always the drive to create more and better work, however the drive I have found in this past year is the drive to do the grunt work. There is a tedium to anything that is, or is considered, a job. A lot of the work that I have done this year has been sitting at the same computer I'm typing on right now. Anyone who spends hours doing that, even when it's for something they love, knows how monotonous it can become. I have had to stay motivated to get up and work on sending out more and more work, knowing most of it won't be accepted. I don't know where that drive and motivation came from, but what it has helped me have is the other key: confidence.
I have had to have confidence in all of my work to be able to send it out and get rejected the amount of time I have this year. Don't get me wrong, the number have times I've been accepted has been a pleasant surprise, but I definitely have not let it go to my head. Each acceptance, though, has fed my confidence and allowed me to strive for bigger goals. Also, it has allowed me to look at every rejection, not as a negative, but just another marker along a journey I've set out on. Confidence is key, and it's hard to come by sometimes, but when you find it, grab hold and use it.
In conclusion to all of my rambling, I also want to say thank you to everyone who has been there for me this year. I know that some of you I have thanked, and some I have not. There are some of you who deserve thanks that probably have no idea you even helped me. I want to say thank you to Black Box Gallery, University of North Dakota, Slow Exposures, PH21 Gallery, and Westobou for selecting to show my work this year. Most importantly, though, thank you to all my family and friends for being there. Most of you are not as involved in the creative process on a daily basis, but you sat and listened to me go on when I needed it and I can't thank you enough for that.
I hope all of you have a wonderful end of this year and that 2018 brings you all that you want from it.