I’ve actually always hated the word “stupid.” I think it is because it was the absolute worst name to either call another child or to be called when I was growing up. And I have memories of being chastised for it (although not as heavily chastised as I was by my mom when I called a little boy an SOB in our front yard. That yielded a thorough washing of the mouth with nasty Dial soap.)
But I have come to consider that looking stupid, foolish, silly, pathetic will all really be worth it as I launch 2019 and my efforts to expose myself as a photographer. I have slinked (or slunk?) into the world by posting my images on Facebook and Instagram and in 2018 even set up this web site where my blogs reside. But now I am about to embark on a real opportunity to “out” myself in the world by actually making concerted efforts to share my creativity with others.
Not totally sure all the forms this will take; however, my first foray was to enter a local photography contest as a novice. I entered 2 pieces in the dark of night in stealth mode (email.) When I learned that the judging would be a public forum the next week, I thought, “Oh, I’m done for! Now I will have to be shown up as a fraud and a fake and a complete amateur.” Well, yes, I am an amateur…..
The critique was thorough as a judge displayed each entry in brilliant color (or black and white) in front of the audience and proceeded to hesitate (meaning he hated the piece) or extol the wonders of the photographer and the work. As my first (and favorite) entry was flashed on the bigger-than-jumbotron monitor, I panicked. And yes, the judge didn’t like it. I was crushed. And then the audience started to complain about his critique in a most wondrous way. I slouched down in my seat hoping not to be exposed as the owner of this work,, but after the audience finished their critique of the judge’s critique, the program moved on.
Finally, my second entry was displayed. Silence. No comment from the judge until he said, “This I love.” I breathed a sigh of relief. He went on to explain why he liked it and I felt judged, but delighted. Maybe my work didn’t suck completely. As the judge came to the end of the critiques he began to announce the winners. Third place, second place and then (still pleased by the fact that he liked one of my entries) he called my name and the title of my work as the first place recipient.
No plaque, now trophy, no cash prize. But I will say that this award was one of the most prized announcements of my life! Being willing to look stupid will be my natural state of being from now on. Remember the cannonball!