In general, I want to be like everyone else. I don’t like to be singled out or have any extra attention directed towards me. I am fine blending into a group, and will do my best to make sure I don’t stand out. But as an artist this is a bit of a conundrum because I absolutely don’t want my art to be the same as everyone else’s. My art needs to have a unique voice and stand apart from the group.
Recently I joined an on-line photography group. In January the group hosted a “Still Life Challenge” with cash prizes. As I was brainstorming I knew that I wanted to make something different; chart a new course for my photography and challenge myself. I made a pact with myself that my final image would be something that pleased me and would reflect me.
I really love studio photography, and my initial dream was to be a commercial photographer. I haven't tried any studio photography in…..well….years so this "Still Life Challenge" was a perfect opportunity to circle back. My initial concept was a fail. Rather than bore you with details I’ll just say that I needed a Plan B. Time was running out so I desperately searched the rooms in my house for a prop. What I came up with was weird and I wasn’t exactly sure how it was going to work out but I set it up and took some pictures.
And what I came up with was…..different. I knew that I could proudly proclaim it as my own, and I had completed my goal of creating something that represented me. But I also new it was different so I was anxious about entering it. I perused the website to get a sense of what other people were entering. There were really beautiful still life images; some of them what you would expect such as fruits, flowers and wine; some were outdoor scenes that were carefully crafted to create lines and shapes. Mine was definitely not traditional and definitely not like the others.
It made me nervous. Why? I don't know any of these people. We all have names next to our posts, and some have photos next to their names, but I'll probably never see any of them in person. The bottom line was that I was in love with my picture, and I knew that I had done myself justice even if I didn't win. The deadline came, and I hit the submit button. Then I waited. And when the results were announced, I had won 2nd place!
That was amazing! Why in the world was I sweating it? It was really wonderful for my neurotic self to receive validation of my art...being different turned out not to be such a bad thing.
Here's the photo: