This week I participated in the Scotiabank Contact Festival portfolio reviews. For those who are not familiar with portfolio reviews, basically it is an opportunity to show your work to people in the industry…curator’s, gallery representatives, photographers etc, and get feedback. For this particular review, each accepted photographer was scheduled for five one on one twenty minute reviews. During the portfolio review process, despite whatever armour you put on your ego before entering the room, it hurts to hear criticism. As a photographer, I tend to bare all…….I really do speak emotionally through my work. I lay it all out there, for the world to see. Receiving criticism almost feels like a personal attack in a way. How dare you say that about me…about my work? It takes a very strong person to bare their soul…put it all out there and accept the inevitable. SO, there I was, baring my soul….my work layed out on the table in front of the reviewer….a few moments of silence as they take it all in……my heart beating a few beats faster than normal, my stomach in butterflies……..anticipating the worst. Despite my greatest fears, my work was received with relative positivity. But what amazed me most, is my tendency to dwell on the negative. What they didn’t like, what they thought needed work, what didn’t work in their opinion. As I drove home, I questioned my abilities. I questioned my vision. I questioned why I photograph in the first place. I wallowed in the negativity. I let it consume me. And then I closed the door. I moved forward. I focused on the positive. I focused on how I can use harsh criticism to better myself and my craft. There is always room for growth…..for learning…..for betterment. Although their honesty hurt my ego, I got over myself and was thankfully able to see without a doubt that the artist in me is here for keeps…..growing, learning, evolving…….Not everyone will love everything I create, and that is ok, but if it resonates with just one person than that’s what makes all the hard work worthwhile.
Although this image isn’t perfect…there are flaws……there are imperfections, I thought it was appropriate to illustrate my ego……a little cracked from the experience, yet able to be repaired with self love and commitment to better myself.