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 gottenÂ my share of them before, but last week was the first time I’d been honored withÂ one since moving here. And it broke the hot streak, which really I had no control over any more than a MLB player’sÂ 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!
Submitting work is a little like sending your child off to school.Â 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 andÂ 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.