Wednesday, February 3, 2010

being an artist

Ecclesiax is organizing an art auction to raise money for relief in Haiti (Evening of February 26, for anyone in O-town who’s interested in attending), and I am donating some photography. I think this is a great initiative, but it’s also weird to call myself a visual artist and try to sell my art. As I’ve explained in previous posts, I love taking pictures, because it makes me see what’s around me. And, yes, I like it when my shots work out.

But this is something different. This is me standing up and saying “I take good enough pictures that someone who doesn’t even know me should want to put them on the wall.” And that’s a vulnerable experience – because if nobody does want my photos, it will be hard not to take it personally. I’ve been through this with singing, acting and writing over the years (even this blog carries the same anxieties of “I am assuming I have something worth saying …. Maybe I don’t”): it’s scary to stand up and own my talents, because then they are open to being refuted.

It’s like I am trying to cross some kind of line from amateur to “real” artist. And I know that that’s not the point: the fact that taking pictures makes me see the world through more fine-tuned eyes is reason enough to keep taking pictures, even if nobody wants to buy what I offer to the auction. But it’s still scary to put it out there, to let perfect strangers decide whether the way I have captured what I see is actually interesting or not …

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