The Wild West © 2016 NATE METZ
The Wild West © 2016 NATE METZ
After the recent storms calmed down, approaching the new moon’s lower tideline, I scampered down to see what was left of the beaches – a surprising amount for all the hubbub. The afternoon sun lent well to some high-contrast images as I continue to tweak my color channels during black and white conversion.
It wouldn’t be fall without some photos of the changing leaves.
In black and white:
The height of summer mid-day in the pine dunes evokes drab colors and high contrast images. The digital grain adds some grit back to the elemental qualities. Although jovial, even the slice of a dolphin fin cuts and slashes. Light becomes dark, almost infrared. This is the end of July.
Normally white balance is a challenge shooting winter weather weather and landscapes. But, I embrace the casts and hues on the sensor because my eye sees them too. Here is about 6″ of powder in the woods with indigo and golden natural filters.
This week was very exciting for me to win two blue ribbons in the Delmarva on View exhibit at the Lewes Public Library. And customary to my spiritual life, I feel compelled to pause for a moment and reflect with gratitude, examine my attitudes, and ponder the direction of my life. Just for a moment, though, because then I’m going back to revel in the excitement and accolades!
I woke up on Wednesday thinking about next month’s Members’ Show at the Newark Arts Alliance, debating whether or not I would be entering a photograph. I was juried into 3 shows there already this year, which I consider to be marks in the successful column of my art business ledger because previously I wasn’t showing anywhere. None of those works sold, though, yet. I was admittedly feeling a bit defeated and had decided to not frame anything to take to NAA. Upon that decision, a little self-doubt crept in: “Maybe you aren’t really that good.” and “People aren’t really responding to your work, so why even show it?” and there was the “It’s okay to take a break, regroup, and try again next year.”
By then, I was out of bed and had gotten coffee to jump online for a couple minutes before going to work. (“Yeah, huge success you are with a paying day job.”) Awaiting in my inbox was notification that I had placed in the Delmarva on View exhibit. (“What?!”) I was so beyond excited, I quickly posted on here and Facebook the news. And then it was time for work. Postponing the rest of my happy dance, I had more time to think about my photography in general.
In my head I kept hearing the wise voice of my Art Biz Coach, Alyson, telling me I just need to keep showing and getting my work in front of people and talking about it. I can build sales and a following from there, but it can take 3-5 years to have anything substantial. After all, I started from the ground up. And then I remembered my definition of success: “Don’t give up!” and “I am talented with a unique point of view.” and there was the “Be grateful for every little win along the way leading up to the big ones.” I do know that I have a gift and that I’m fortunate enough to have the resources to share it with people like I do. I’m grateful I got this reminder from the judges saying I placed first and awarded best in show in the professional category.
It is very gratifying to receive this recognition. At the reception, I was talking with my parents about professional versus amateur categories on display. The winner circle noted the division, but the remaining 130 works hanging did not. Honestly, some of them I was unable to tell from a photographic stand point. Others, it was quite clear from the framing choices alone! I’m still impressed by the talent culled from all levels, though. Which then led to the discussion of why I entered the professional category if my art business is not my primary source of income. As I was completing the submission paperwork I asked myself the very same question, so it was easy to explain:
I am an Artist. I take my work very, but not too, seriously. I have spent countless hours working on composition and framing, teaching myself how to use a dSLR and Photoshop. I use this blog and an iPhone photo journal to explore topics and develop my own unique, creative point of view. I self-published a book. I show in exhibits. I have a business license and pay my taxes. I use business cards. I am a professional and I am successful.
It is really the attitude and approach I have that makes it so. Well, and that I self identify as a professional. There is no universal definition, no application process or metrics to reach for qualification. It was my decision. In interviewing with the press at the opening reception I was asked who I worked for. My initial reaction was confusion because I didn’t think I needed a studio or other conventional trappings of a pro. I answered: “Myself. I’m independent.” I am confident and comfortable with the direction and growth of my art, my photography.
I see this all as very defining moment for me because it clarified my reflections on myself, my photography, and my business goals. It’s a great confidence booster and as I see it, part of the universe pointing me along further along the path of my dreams! Stylistically that means I will be continuing to work in a square format and perfecting my B&W conversions, along with the color works.
It’s with much excitement and gratitude that I share with you this morning an e-mail I received about the Delmarva on View Exhibit at the Lewes Public Library: I placed FIRST in the PROFESSIONAL category! Please join me at the Library for an opening reception from 5-8PM on Saturday, June 28th* where I will be recognized. You can also go to the library during regular business hours to see the 147 entries on display.
*This is a corrected date. It’s this weekend!
For Mother’s Day, my mum and I took a road trip to visit some family. I did bring my dSLR along, but snapping these images with my smart phone captured the pace of the trip much better. It was a quick trip, but still enough time for this photo journal: