Well, I am not sure this is a post I was planning on writing – The Unsuccessful Photography Panel. But on my drive home yesterday from Wales I knew it was something important to share.
There is a little bit of a stigma, a decision to hide when your panel is unsuccessful.
The fears you had created it coming to reality.
But damn it I am proud of what I have achieved!
There were moments over the last however many months that I would never get this panel in. I owe a great deal to Terrie for pushing me forward and helping me break past my self-sabotage and procrastination.
The fact I had a panel in front of amazing judges (whose hard work and dedication are honestly second to none). Is a huge achievement, one that many may never manage to do.
Let's talk about creating the panel...
Even with the level of knowledge and practice, I have with mindset. The minute I stepped passed my comfort zone, the negative thinking and imposter syndrome jumped in. After all as human as you guys.
You don’t have a panel of work good enough. You don’t have competition-level prints. Your work isn’t at Associateship or Fellowship (put in the level you are going for). Why are you doing this? Just give it up.
I think at one point I was even asking Debbie (from Loxley) to tell me they couldn’t get it printed in time. Honestly, if there was a way of avoiding creating this panel I found it.
Unfortunately or luckily I am surrounded by the most amazing and supportive people. Who called me out on what I was doing . Therefore I needed to step up!
Let’s just mention when I did step up my computer decided it was time to stop working… energetic sabotage at its finest. I know for some that may be a little woo-woo, but at some point, I will do a post on it.
This ended up leaving me with very little time to turn the panel around (and I can honestly say to you all. Learn from my mistake with this!).
The Fears We don't face become our limits!
The judging day
Despite all of this. Somehow I had a panel ready to be hung on Wednesday. Honestly, I knew the moment I started hanging the images on the panel wall that this would be an Unsuccessful Photography Panel. I could see the issues a mile off. It helps that I have spent an amazing 2 days judging school learning. Another blog post will be on how amazing that is and why you should do it.
I wish I could put into words the level of support, and the safe space The Societies of Photographers created. How all of the photographers there on the day banded together in solid support. I can say with a heart and voice full of emotion that this was one of the best parts. A group of truly amazing photographers, some of who had never met before. Hugging, supporting, and being there with encouragement, comments, and energy.
Surprisingly my nerves didn’t kick in until it was my time to put my panel up. Then I think they hit me all at once. Even more so when I could see the issues that would stop this from being successful and a pass.
I have never seen a panel judged before or prints for competition. I can say to every single one of you, whether you are going to enter or not (which you really should). That this is an experience every photographer should have.
As you can tell by the post title what I knew was going to happen as I put them up happened and the photography panel was unsuccessful (PLEASE NOTE I AM NOT SAYING FAILED – thanks to a couple of awesome photographers for reminding me that “failed” is not true). And yes there were tears. But at the end of the day, I had a panel of images in front of the judges. One that over the last however many months I had to fight myself for.
Our biggest fight is often with ourselves! Remember that!
So why am I writing this?
To tell you it is ok to have an unsuccessful moment. To talk about something that is usually hidden. For some reason, we only talk about the wins and not the lessons.
I want to share my success. The success of winning against my own mind. The mind that didn’t want me to do this. A mind that would have happily stayed in its comfort zone. One that wanted to stay safe. To show you that you too can get passed your brain and do amazing things.
To tell you it’s ok to get emotional about your work. I can not tell you how much emotion was in the room, from everyone. Included me and I never cry, sorry judges for putting you through that
Also to say that if you are thinking of putting in a panel for qualification then know that it is a safe place. That The Societies of Photographers (as will other ones I am sure), will look after you and you will be surrounded by the most amazing people.
And finally, if you want to grow as a photographer, push yourself, learn, and become more. Enter the competitions, and enter your panel! What you will learn from doing this no matter the outcome of it is so important.
Embrace the judge’s comments, they are there because they want to see you become the best photographer you can be. The comments aren’t to disappoint you and make you think you aren’t good enough. They are there to help you grow, learn and become more than you could ever imagine.
Thank you judges for your time, your energy, and your knowledge.
Thank you Terrie for creating an amazing system. For creating a safe and supported space. And for getting me to do this.
I may have had an Unsuccessful Photography Panel, but I have never had a better experience. I would go and do it all again in a heartbeat!
Keep an eye out as I WILL be putting another panel in, in the future. And I am truly excited to do so, with the knowledge I have.
Side note… honestly I am not going to go into details on why the panel failed. BUT I will say, don’t let your self-sabotage mean you put your panel in for print really late. Make sure you have the time to check things over and re-print anything you need. I know on my next panel it will be printed at least a month before the judging date.
So glad that you have have such a positive outlook. There is no doubt that you are a fantastic photographer who is well capable of producing a winning panel. Thank you for sharing and good luck next time!