I am just home from PPNC’s (Professional Photographers of North Carolina) annual convention and I have run the gamut of emotions in the past 4 days. I entered Print Competition. This is one of the images I entered. For the first year since I have started entering competition I did not have any prints that received merits. I was upset. There were tears. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. (I've been watching Forrest Gump on AMC all week.)It is very confirming to have your images praised by a panel of experienced, well trained judges. On the other hand, it is very humbling to have your prints just passed over quietly, not meeting the mark of excellence. My good intentioned friends and family replied with “Those judges don’t know what they are talking about.” But, oh yes they do!!! I pulled my print case for the judges to look at images and explain to me where I fell short. And in my heart of hearts I already knew what was wrong with my prints. I just couldn’t admit it to myself because I am so connected to them. I learned some valuable lessons this year. As a result I grew as a photographer.
At the convention and other meetings I always see amazing photographers, whom I deeply respect, sitting with me in the classes offered. I’ve often wondered why they are sitting in a class they could just as easily be teaching. When questioned, they always reply, “ You always learn something in any class. Even the smallest piece of information is valuable if you’ve never heard it before.” I accepted that concept for a long time. However, it never completely satisfied my question. As I sit here today just hours from leaving the convention I am excited. I have new ideas for prints I want to make and how to run my business. I’ve reestablished old friendships and made a few new ones. I have renewed energy from absorbing myself in what I love to do. I want that energy to stay with me for a long time. I find that the excitement always fades and I give in to reality. I have to think the same thing happens to the photographers I admire who have been doing this for a while. They understand that it is not necessarily the program they are watching, but the energy that all of those human beings bring to the table. We can all feed off that energy for many days and weeks to come. And when it starts to fade, we get together again and renew our energy. I don’t understand why it is difficult to maintain that energy, I just know it is a reality for me and I suspect many others as well. It makes me look at other aspects of my life. We constantly juggle the realms of our lives hoping to keep energy up and all areas; family, friends, work, exercise and spirituality. But just as the gravitational theory states, “What goes up, must come down”, something is always going to be at the top, something is always going to be on the way up and also on the way down, and something is always going to be at the bottom. Is it possible to set all of the aspects of our life on a nice tall fence where they all remain level and moderately energized? Impossible I say! It also sounds boring. Good luck with your juggling!