The moment I sent the email I instantly regretted my decision. By the time I laid my head on my pillow that night I was in full on "what have I done!?" mode.
I had signed up for a portfolio review where I submitted 3 images for review by a panel of people of which many were in the business of hiring or educating photographers. My lament was which 3 images can I submit where I can show the diversity of my photographic skill and the individuality of my photographic style, and how can I make the images seem to fit with each other and be memorable. Also the images needed to be some of my best and the type of photos that I would want someone to hire me to create.
I came up with 3 pictures, confidently submitted them, then leaned back to enjoy my immediate regret. Why the fuck did I pick those images? That one isn't even sharp! A selfie!? Why the fuck did I submit a selfie!?
I have answers for all of these questions. I thought about writing them all down right now, but let's be honest, there are no right answers here. If I picked different images, I would have had different questions. It comes down to the simple truth that the 3 I picked were representative of the work I want to be doing.
I could defend each choice, but really I will never get to. Whatever I say about a picture will never likely reach the people looking at it, it has to stand on its own.
My fear of failure was way more painful than the mix of failure and success I actually experienced. My not sharp portrait of Jeff the biker, I had beat myself up for submitting it, some of the first comments on it were about its softness. I couldn't hide that from the panel. But I liked the image, and in spite of its technical deficiencies it was well received, one reviewer stating "I want to know more of what's going on here, I want to see more of this."
It was also a hoot to see people trained at looking at photos from top professional photographers mistake how a photo was made. My photo of the biker doing the burnout was a documentary photo taken hand held with available light, and it was described as an "obviously well produced shot with lighting and a fog machine."
All in all the whole evening was a success. I'm doing better in my journey as a photographer than I give myself credit for. I've still got a long way to go, but I'm on the right path. I want to find more markets for my photography, but I also want to find my style and my voice. I realized something the other day, I realized it was more important for me right now to find a voice for my photography than it is to find a market for it.
What next? Time to burry my face behind the camera. Also, I need to learn how to utilize my fog machine. Just because I didn't use one on that particular shot doesn't mean I'm not going to use one on the next shot!