Ouch! Yesterday I received the news that I am not as good a photographer as I thought I was. Whatever we are passionate about, whatever it is we spend a lot of time doing, we like to kid ourselves that we are good at it. And I was always happy with the self belief that I am a good photographer. Hell I tell everyone I am good photographer, people tell me I’m a good photographer and people who have bought my images thought I was a decent photographer. So it hurts when someone who is actually qualified to critique photography tells you there is room for improvement.
You know when you see Simon Cowell rip into someone on one of his talent shows, well that dejected face of the hopeful is the face I had yesterday while I was reading my ‘Feedback on Images 2014’ I received from the Royal Photographic Society. I am applying for accreditation with the RPS, and as part of that process I need to choose 10 of my images and create a hanging order (placing them on a wall in a nice display if you like). Now I have 6868 images in my library. How do I pick 10? What will the board members be looking for? Well here was my first go at making those choices:-
This is what I submitted to the RPS for ‘Advice & Guidance Feedback’ as part of my accreditation application. I thought it was a good representation of my work. I was wrong 🙁 The report I received back basically advised that I would be better off not submitting 70% of the images. I was gob smacked. And I am not ashamed of sharing my disappointment with you, humiliating though I find it. If anyone knows about photography it’s the RPS, and you have to take notice of what they have to say. I hated reading my feedback, but I knew what they were saying was correct.
So what had the Simon Cowell of the RPS just said to me? In essence he was saying; you have talent, but not what we are looking for right now. But please come back and try again.
Well I have to be honest with you, a recommendation to not include 70% of my images in my submission (for various reasons) made me want to drop out of photography completely. I just though “Whats the point?”. I’m not a good photographer and whats the point in pursuing it any further? I was disillusioned and felt like giving it up as a bad job.
Later when I calmed down I read the feedback again and studied my images again, and again. One was rejected because it was basically a duplicate. One had quality issues, one had distractions, others had lighting issues and one of my favorite images of all time was called ‘Ordinary!‘. Anyway all those recommended for removal, were removed from the set. And now I am in the process of selecting 7 new images to accompany the acceptable 3. My hopes are rising again as I pick my way through the 6868 images on my computer looking for credible replacements. But I have got one more to pick, and I am struggling. Anyway I am going to put some more time and thought into it, and hopefully in about a week I will forward another submission for ‘Advice and Feedback’.
I will publish on my blog my new selected 10 images when I submit. And then about 4 weeks later I will unashamedly publish the RPS’s comments when I receive them back. You may find some cheap photographic equipment on sale from me shortly afterwards 😉