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.
REFLECTIONS © 2012 NATE METZ
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!
DUNE LINES © 2014 NATE METZ $115
custom wood frame with U/V protected glass
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:
There is nothing very overt about the provocative nature of my photographs. Often, they are beautiful moments of color, line, form, and texture. I do find, though, as I continue to submit work and meet other artists and converse with gallery folk that my work isn’t Photography with a capital P. It’s unexpected in some ways because it’s not how most people would use a camera. For example, these tidal lines are rather unassuming perhaps, but I see a delicacy worthy of framing. But, no, you say, it’s pedestrian at best– lacks varying qualities of color, depth of field, and these five other technical aspects of a Photograph.
Tide Lines © 2014 NATE METZ
This is my brand, my photography. I’m not overly intricate or technical in my approach, although my perfectionism may ask me to lean that way at times. I challenge your classic and traditional view of photography, and that’s my style of provocation. I do not accept any established definition of what art should be. I own my expression fully. These prints are for sale because they are worth money and would look great hanging on your wall or even a 4×6 on your desk. If you already know me, then this diatribe is not news. If you’re new to Nate World, now you know!
Needless to say, I do already embrace this Damn Good Advice and follow it unconsciously. Being a cultural provocateur is an archetype repeated throughout many areas of my life. It isn’t easy and I don’t know that I would pick it out for myself if I had a deck to choose from because it is an ongoing challenge. It requires great strength and courage to think freely and remain centered so that I can continue to honor the pure place of my creativity. I’m glad seasoned creators like Lois can ask younger generations to continue to push boundaries and reinvent the art world.
An Unexpected Surprise © 2014 NATE METZ
The bay side of the park always reveals beautiful patterns with the changing tides. This day, the overcast skies helped diffuse the mid-day sun and really highlight these patterns.
As always, you can get an 8×10 $20, 11×14 $45, but also available in custom sizes like the square crops I post here! Please post a comment or send me an e-mail if you would like prints. I appreciate your continued support as an artist!
A cursory glance through the dunes at the park can seem dull and drab: browns, grays, muted greens. Because I had all afternoon, I slowed my walk down into a meditative state so I could really experience the sights around me. The longer I lingered the more I saw and the more diversity my lens found.
As always, you can get an 8×10 $20, 11×14 $45, but also available in custom sizes like the square crops I post here! Please post a comment or send me an e-mail if you would like prints.
Somehow snow on the beach seems contradictory, smashing the idea summer fun with the harshness of winter. During the winter months, before migratory birds occupy the cape, the state park opens the outermost portion of Cape Henlopen Beach to foot traffic. On this particularly warm, sunny afternoon I captured some glimpses of nature’s elegant paradox between the snow and the sand. The patterns formed appear random, but a closer molecular study would show complex engineering of ice crystal formation. The delicate intricacies of the snow and ice slowly melting remind me of the beauty in the down cycle of life processes. The gentle shift of late winter to early spring speaks of patience and life reemerging.
Please post a comment or send me an e-mail if you would like prints. As always, you can get an 8×10 $20, 11×14 $45, but also available in custom sizes like the square crops I post here!
If you are already following my work, you’ll recognize one of these images as Beach Melts from the NAA “In the Abstract” exhibit in March.
The Cape Henlopen State Park is one of my favorite places to hike and take photographs. Forests and mountains definitely feel like home to me, but I’m learning to enjoy the coastal landscape. The next couple posts are a series of photographs taken from late winter, early spring. Please post a comment or send me an e-mail if you would like prints. As always, you can get an 8×10 $20, 11×14 $45, but also available in custom sizes like the square crops I post here!
A nice hike led me along these frames this late spring: