The Rejection

September 14, 2014 at 12:04 pm

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.

gavin, july 2010

July 12, 2010 at 3:02 pm