The Rejection

Mov­ing to a new town is fun. New peo­ple, new inspi­ra­tion, new places. And, if you’re lucky, new pho­tog­ra­phy oppor­tu­ni­ties. And Nashville has been quite kind with those opportunities.

But then you get the note. “Thank you for apply­ing, but your work was not select­ed…” We’ve all received that mes­sage at var­i­ous times. I’ve cer­tain­ly got­ten my share of them before, but last week was the first time I’d been hon­ored with one since mov­ing here. And it broke the hot streak, which real­ly I had no con­trol over any more than a MLB play­er’s socks have con­trol over his bat­ting aver­age. There are just so many fac­tors — the juror, the oth­er sub­mis­sions, the pre­vi­ous work the juror saw, the goal of the call, etc. It’s as if the actu­al work is just a small, small piece of the puzzle.

And so it’s easy to get a lit­tle frus­trat­ed, a lit­tle down. Why both­er cre­at­ing any­thing if it might as well sit in a draw­er? No one dreams of being Vivian Maier!

Accents 2014 #3

Accents 2014 #3

Sub­mit­ting work is a lit­tle like send­ing your child off to school. I’ve writ­ten about this before, and I still think it’s a work­able metaphor. You believe your work is unique and incred­i­ble but now your child will be part of a group where every­one believes their off­spring is spe­cial and has just so much to share with the world. And some­times your child does­n’t get picked for the lead role in the play, or even picked for any role. Which hurts, right? It stings and you feel judged both as a par­ent and you feel your child’s per­cep­tion of judgement.

But you pick them up, and you pick your­self up, and keep on with life. There are lessons in rejec­tion. We can hone our craft when we don’t make a cut. Even though there may not have been much con­trol over the selec­tion process, it is still an oppor­tu­ni­ty to revis­it and refine.

There will be future shows, and maybe even future shows where the same work is accept­ed. The time will come but only if we try again.