You deserve it!
The ladies at Zumba crowded around to give their support.
A voice on the fringe of the group who wondered at the commotion, squealed, “You’re pregnant!?!”
Ummmm, NO. Hold the Presses! I need to clarify.
Last weekend, I won two photography awards.
When I planned to attend the Kansas Professional Photographers Association (KPPA) Shutter Expo in Manhattan, KS, I knew that they encouraged submissions of your best photography. I was to enter 4 works, give them titles and have them placed on display to be discussed and rated before the best of the best veteran photographers. The categories were Men, Women, Children, Pets, Wedding, etc.
So I decided to be brave and took the heart-pounding plunge.
In the darkened room, our images were projected onto a wall. The title was announced. Judges entered in the scores electronically. The tally average was announced. If one of the judges wanted to question the score, there was an open discussion between them about the merits of the work and the problem areas they identified. Anything that garnered a 79 was brought again before the judges and an opportunity was made for further discussion and a rescore.
When my image, Melancholy MayShell, projected I felt like a spot light was on me. But no. Nobody knew the artist so I was there in the dark listening to the best teachers in photography talk about what they liked and disliked about it. In those few moments, I grew by leaps and bounds as an artist. What was wrong could be corrected and what was good, could be made great.
Originally, I hadn’t planned to attend the awards banquet. But after that first day of judging, I realized the benefits of making connections with people who would continue to influence me in improving my art and teach me how to grow a successful business in a small town. My focus was to memorize name tags. I had no idea that the night would result in trophies. I received the highest combined score for a Newcomer and 2nd place in women's portraiture! Artists whose works take my breath away, came and pounded me with congratulations and encouragement.
I find that something monumental has shifted deep inside my heart. For so many years, I have worked in solitary and used sales figures alone to gauge my value in the marketplace. I always wanted to have a successful studio, but now I truly want to be a great artist. I want to learn how to tell a photographic story that will timelessly hang in the heart and minds of my community, as well as on their walls.
So yes, I am birthing -- not a child, but a great passion. It is a passion that will direct my life and bring endless creative challenges. When I start to waver, I will look at these stone-cold awards and know without a doubt that with a bit of bravery, I really can do it.