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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cute Kittens and Bunnies

Did I get your attention?  Good.

We all face the same problem: How can we get our work seen and acknowledged?  I’ve been thinking a lot about what we do to get attention; what we do to make people see us.  We’re told all the time that we “need to create buzz,” and there are examples of those successes all around us.

So what are you doing to create that buzz for your work?  Do you find it difficult to publicize yourself and your work, not wanting people to think you’re boasting?  After all, we’re told it’s not polite to stand up in the world and say, “Hey, look at this great thing I’m doing (I’ve done).”  Maybe you think you don’t deserve the special attention.  Well it’s time to silence those voices in your head.  You can be the most fantastic photographer in the universe, but if no one knows you’re there, what difference does it make?

What’s wrong with being proud of your work and wanting to share it, to let people know you feel strongly about it?

There are so many ways for you to get noticed, to stand out from the crowd these days.  It’s wrong to think that in this world with billions of people just being talented is enough.

But are you trying to be all things to all people--a jack-of-all-trades photographer? Do you think that if you can do many things it makes you more attractive to a potential client? Yes, some people are able to build a career doing just that and if that’s what you really want to do, great. But think for a moment: If a potential client has someone who shoots everything for them, why would they hire you?

It takes looking deep inside yourself to really get at what you are good at and more importantly, what you really want to do.  You have to be brutally honest with yourself to find out whether you have what it takes to be a successful photographer.

Once you’ve made the commitment to yourself, what’s next?  I’m going to cut to the chase here.  Getting noticed is not just about throwing your work online and then Tweeting or putting it on FB.  It’s about engaging others to take a look.  It’s about presenting your work without fear.  There are ways to put your work in front of people in the industry, whether it’s at a portfolio review or through establishing a relationship with someone you want to work for.  Even more, it’s about getting out of your shell, getting out of your own way, and making opportunities for yourself, instead of waiting to be found and brought out of the wilderness.

You cannot make everyone want to work with you no matter how good your work is.  But you don’t need that.  You are not competing with everyone who has a camera.  You are competing with yourself, and those people who really move themselves forward: the go-getters, the innovators, and the people who have the creative drive to be successful.  And that’s a much smaller group than you think.

So, do you have the courage to be unique?  Are you willing to be true to yourself, and willing to stand behind that decision?  Are you ready to take possession of who you are and what you do?  Or are you waiting for someone to take you by the hand and give you what you think you want?

Challenge yourself. Give yourself permission. Stand up and let the world know you’re here.

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Anonymous Fran Pelzman Liscio said...

What a great post, Stella. Are those the kittens and bunnies from Toodles and her Friends, one of the greatest photo books of all times? (And let's not forget the part where Toodles helps Mr. and Mrs. Osmond Flop Ears make a cake.)
Seriously, this classic little book featuring criminally adorable tiny critters (which was "made possible only by patient unfailing kindness on the part of the photographer at all times")is a true classic, just like the sweet and poignant photography of "Edith and the Bears". More important, because Harry Whittier Frees was true to what he clearly cherished, his photos move and affect me as much as the exquisite work of, say, Robert Mapplethorpe, who was completely true to his vision and what he loved.

July 26, 2012  

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