Dealing with Fears of Rejection

“There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” 

-Brene Brown

Our fears of rejection within the realm of photography vary by person – whether with putting an image on a social media platform and not getting any likes, or maybe getting negative comments, to submitting something to a publication or gallery and getting denied. As with any type of rejection or negativity it’s so important to not take these things too personally.

The internet for one is mean. Some people are just looking to get out their own insecurities and maybe you’re the unlucky one they’ve settled on today. Others may very well think they’re giving constructive criticism and therefore helping you – even when it’s uncalled for. Maybe they’re right, maybe they’re wrong, but in the end it’s all subjective.

On the other hand, if you get denied from a publication or gallery – maybe your work didn’t fit with what else was submitted, or with the feel of the publication as a whole, maybe the specific judge just doesn’t like toy photography or whatever other genre you sent in, maybe it was something more technical all together, but once again, it’s subjective. Another judge, another day, another gallery and you very well could be looking at an acceptance email.

Someone’s going to read the above and say ‘or maybe their work sucks.’ And they’re right, sort of. Maybe you’re not a very good judge of your own work and it’s legitimately questionable in skill level or content or a laundry list of other reasons. But seriously, go and look at the contemporary art world – you’re not going to deem everything out there as good, but it’s there.

My point is, sometimes you’ll post your work online or you’ll submit it to some art space and you will only get positive responses. Other times you’ll hear nothing or get a negative response or two. It is all part of making photos, of making art, of creating. If we as creators accept that, the path ahead gets so much less stressful.

I can’t say that I’ll ever actually get over my fear of rejection, and negative comments, especially public ones, still sting. As an ingrained part of my personality I take things personally. But with the art world side of things, I have learned to let rejection slide onto the wayside. I’ll drag and drop the ‘Sorry, but…’ emails into a folder in my inbox and there they’ll stay.

It can be great to consider negative feedback – to try and find a takeaway from that feedback in which to improve your photos. Consider it, but don’t meditate on it or let it burrow down deep. And as far as rejections from publications or gallery spaces – most denials don’t come with feedback – so there’s really no point in obsessing over the whys.

Overtime, you will hopefully get to where you want to be. Until then, do your best, continue to learn, and the growth that comes will propel you closer to your goals.

~Tourmaline . (previously Jennifer Nichole Wells)

How have you learned to counter your fears of rejection?


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Is the photographer invisable?

I read Jennifer’s lovely post about portraits and that made me think. And to be honest I haven’t been able to stop thinking about photography and the definitions in that post. Let me start by saying this isn’t me saying I know better – I just have to share my thoughts about how I look at photography all together.

A starting point

It all started when I read the definition of portraits:

a pictorial representation of a person usually showing the face” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 

There is two things I object to. The first is that portraits most be of “people” – and I think I share that objection with Jennifer. But second I also object to the part that portraits is a representation of a person. Because I always think that a portrait is  more than just that. From my point of view I think that we as photographer are a part of the picture. I don’t think that portrait’s only are a representation of the subject but also a representation of the photographer.

Is the photographer invisable?

In any photographic image the result is a representation of the photographer and his or her knowledge about the subject. But also of the photographers values, perspective and objectives (which can be both personal or business) etc. Reading the definition of portraits make me wonder where is the photographer? We do interpret our motives: toys or persons. And that affects the portrait and in the end the image. We as photographers always give the viewer our representation of the motive. And every definition of photography ought to include that. As I see it 🙂

The image is representaion of the photographer

For me photography of toys or people is about the photographer as well as the motive. In my photography I don’t think that I even can do a portrait of who a person is or who or what a toy are. My strongest believe is that I only can do a picture of what I see and ”think” that person/toy is. So even though I love Jennifer’s post about portrait, I don’t agree with the idea that I as a photographer can be invisible and only portray or make a representation a person or a toy. We -as photographers -are, as I see it, very much part of the image.

Kristina

Thinking inside the box

Let me admit that I am not a builder of models. I am a photographer. So, along with the budget, I also try to minimize the work I put into the sets (hence their slightly minimalist feeling).

To achieve this, I try to build sets which are so flexible that they can be put to multiple uses. And with the above room, I think it worked. The whole thing started when I held a wall with a pair of windows under the desk lamp. I had been ready to discard it because the windows had turned out to be too crooked for H0 scale use. But then I suddenly realized that they could still be used for lighting a room. Continue reading Thinking inside the box

The Basics – Selective Focus

Selective focus is another tool you should add to your photographic tool bag. When you’re a landscape photographer being able to focus to infinity is important, but is that skill really important for toy photography? What happens when you play with the focus point on your toys? Can you tell a better, or different story? In the fast paced world of social media, can you create an image that stands out when it’s initially hard to read? Lets find out… Continue reading The Basics – Selective Focus

The Basics – Close-up filters

What is a close-up filter? Close-up filters are basically reading glasses for your camera lens. They are a nifty, and extremely inexpensive, way to turn any lens into a macro lens.

You heard me right. You can change the focal length of your lens by simply screwing on a close-up filter. Think of them as reading glasses for your lens.

I love my 90mm Sony lens. In fact I adore it, but it never seems to get me as close as I want to be to my subject. While I love the incredible details in LEGO mini figures, i’ve been unable to capture them adequatly. It is these small details and flourishes that inspire me to photograph these toys. Continue reading The Basics – Close-up filters

Raging Rancor Deconstructed

When I present or post an image like this I get a lot of questions on how I made it. So I’ve made an effort to take a few behind the scenes photos as I shoot or prep a shot. Here’s my first attempt at deconstructing an image and the process that led to the final result. Hopefully, this will help answer a few questions regarding my editing process.

ELEMENTS

  • Rancor
  • Flashlight
  • Light Painting Brushes Universal Connector
  • Light Painting Brushes 9 inch White Fiber Optic Tool
  • Red gel (dollar store gift wrap)
  • Canon 5D
  • Canon 50mm Macro f/2.5
  • Manfrotto 190X Pro B

Continue reading Raging Rancor Deconstructed

And then there was light

“Light comes in flickers, defining the darkness, not dispelling it.”
Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere

Although lighting is crucial in the Noir series, I never payed attention to how exactly I proceed. I do not know much about light. I only have a general idea of the look I want to achieve. And then I kind of play around, which at the end of the day leaves me with lots of pictures that are ‘same but different,’ as they say.

However, since the lighting in this series has been commented on a couple of times, I tried to pay more attention to the process. Here’s what I think I do:

It all started with ideas about lighting

At one point for example, I wanted the central person to be illuminated by light falling out of a door or a window, casting a long shadow. That’s how Noir started, and you can tell from the first pictures of the series that in the beginning, there was the light, and then the story followed. Continue reading And then there was light

The $5 Photograph

I’ll readily admit I have a lot of supplies for my toy photography – various toys, camera equipment and other gear.

I don’t have the latest and greatest anything, but I make what I have, and what I can further source, work for me.

This concept can be true at any range of your budget. While social media can make it seem like you need a $2000 camera and $300 figure to make it in this field/hobby that’s far from true. Continue reading The $5 Photograph

6 Ways to Fix your Photo Funk

Discouragement, fear, demotivation, I’ve discussed these way too much at this point here (I promise I’ll write about something else soon). But no matter how many posts I write (which end up being extensions of lectures I’ve given myself) about forgetting the world and creating for yourself, there is always more to say.

I am very good at not taking pictures. I’ll have tons of ideas itching at my brain, the supplies to make each one and absolutely no motivation. Whether stress, general creative discouragement, or a world of other thoughts in my head, sometimes I just can’t bring myself to create. The problem there, is that then I mentally beat myself up for not making photos and the cycle continues. Continue reading 6 Ways to Fix your Photo Funk

Growing little worlds

A strolling Brett gathers mo moss

“Growing little worlds” sounds like a cheesy song title, but it’s a way to create little living habitats for toys to roam.

I was intrigued to see Luigi’s ‘Killer Score’ and ‘The Are Not The Droids’ setups, in particular the scale, or lack of, that he utilised to create these shots.

It was interesting to read Shelly’s post on the outdoors being studios. I especially liked reading that Kristina had shown Shelly that you ‘can do a lot with very little’. Continue reading Growing little worlds