Coaster Reflections is now at the Butler Institute of American Art's Midyear National Exhibition in Youngstown. I still find it hard to believe it got into the show. Receiving awards and being juried into shows is certainly validating, and also a lot of fun! But the question is, why? Why does one photograph get accolades while another, that seems to have similar qualities to me, is ignored?
I think part of the answer lies in what the viewer, in this case a judge, brings to the table. My first award was for a small print of an historic house. Later, someone who knew the judge told me that his "thing" was lighting and that he had loved the way the image was back-lighted. My award had nothing to do with the subject, just how it was lighted! More recently, Reflecting (a study of masks) won an award from a judge who loves masks. I understand these works have quality, but so do the other works submitted or entered into shows. Something about an image reaches out and grabs the judge, and the artist has no way of knowing in advance what that will be.
The point of my ramblings is this. I have been tempted to focus on trying to get into juried shows and win awards when I create images rather than creating them for myself. I realize this is a false path. My goal needs to continue to be to create images that move me. If they move someone else, fine. If not, fine. I need to be true to myself and grow as an artist. Okay, enough said. I promise not to pontificate in my next post.