Show Your Work – Next Steps

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End of a Superb School Year

This month, and at long last, our course finally wrapped up with the announcement of the awards and the delivery of our marks.  Believe you me, January, February and most of March were tortuous, awaiting these results.  The next phase is entirely mentoring; helping us set up websites to display and sell our photographs and working on self-promotion – creating a solid marketing plan.

Every day of this course was pure joy but now I’m fidgeting-in-my-seat excited about the possibilities before me and about how quickly everything seems to be falling into place.  A career in photography began in my imagination, being accepted into the course was my dream and now the sky just may be the limit for me.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!

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Show Your Work

People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.
[Steve Jobs*]

Both in class and privately with my TA and Professor, we’ve talked a lot about showing our work to make connections; attracting followers and patrons by sharing our process and influencing their choices with our images. Through these contacts we can develop networks of creatives who will critique, encourage, inspire and praise each other perhaps leading to future collaboration. Best? This has already started to happen for me with two famous, world-class wildlife photographers who have generously and kindly taken me under their wings. Squee! The professional associations are truly amazing, but showing off? That’s another matter altogether.

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Bragging
(Humble or otherwise.)

Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
    or the strong boast of their strength
    or the rich boast of their riches.
[Jeremiah 9:23]

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My dad knew his bible inside-out and, whenever I became boastful, he’d quote this verse to me (over and over and over again!). He was not wrong; blowing one’s own horn is frowned upon in our society and is a trait I personally despise.

Paradox: How to be proud of and show off one’s work without being offensive. Not an easy task, not by a long shot!

Really, when did you last take full credit for anything? An occasion when you demanded recognition for your individual contribution or achievement (not simply to share it with a team). A time you knew you deserved praise and were happy to say so. Have you ever?

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The Ambiguity Of Being A Strong, Successful Woman

There is no doubt in my mind, that society sends women mixed messages which only complicates the notion of self-promotion. Researchers and psychologists alike know that women working in male-dominated fields are much slower to take credit for their work than their male counterparts. On those occasions that glory and acclaim are given, rather than simply saying thank you, women tend to deflect and defer. For better or worse, studies have shown that being boastful is a key component of creative success. In this circumstance, owning one’s achievements and accolades is not about arrogance but parity and fairness. Owning that your work is first-rate isn’t bigheaded if it’s simply true.

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Bragging, essentially, is an extension of accountability; if one accepts the bad, owning up to mistakes, one must then confidently take credit for triumphs and successes.

For centuries women have been taught that vaunting is unattractive, that it makes them unappealing. As a society, a culture, if we want women to be as comfortable as men are in taking credit and with self-promotion, then we must stop shunning women who do that very thing. And other women are the main culprits – just scan Twitter and other social media if you think I’m wrong!

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Web Design

Next up for me is creating my own website.  I’m nervous and excited and happy and scared at the prospect.  Once it is up and running, I will be sharing my work – lots of it – but bragging?  Stay tuned… 

*This is the unabridged text of Mr. Jobs’ quote:

“Some people say, ‘Give customers what they want.’ But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, ‘If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, “A faster horse!”‘ People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.”  

‘Til next time, y’all…

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(All photographs taken at Presqu’ile Provincial Park, 29th March 2019.)

 

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2 thoughts on “Show Your Work – Next Steps

  1. I think the balance you’re talking about (showing your work without showing off) involves infusing the process with a spirit of generosity and sharing. And how can the world not be grateful to you for putting more goodness into it?

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