So yesterday Mark mentioned how important it is to show your work. And I’m going to tell you how right he is.
The first time I had a photograph on display to the public was when I was in 9th grade through a school exhibit. I was so so excited and so so nervous at the same. I finally felt like an established artist! But what would everyone think?
Looking back, I realize that was a terrible photo and I’d probably be embarrassed to put it up again. But that’s a good thing. It means I’ve grown and I have a better understanding of what makes a good photo and what doesn’t. And (I like to think) I have a better style and workflow than I did then.
But since then I’ve taken every chance I’ve had to put my work out there. From the hallways in my school to the walls in my room. I’ve even had my work shown at The High Museum in a temporary exhibit!
But showing your work also teaches you how to talk about it, which I think is even more important. You become more comfortable with describing your work, explaining your work. And talking about it also teaches you as an artist about your work. Sometimes I didn’t understand why I photographed the way I photographed until I had to explain it to someone else. Why I chose the subjects I chose, or why I photographed or processed a certain way seemed subconscious to me, but once I had to reason it to someone else, I realized it was all with purpose. Every grain of silver halide. or every pixel.
So show your work. You don’t have to put it in a fancy exhibit. Just show your mom or your friend or your sister or you cat. And talk about it. Talk about it until you have nothing to say anymore. And talk about it until you’ve examined every corner of it and understand it perfectly.