I recently had the unfortunate experience of being rejected. This isn’t special. We all suffer hundreds of rejections day to day. Rejection is a fact of life. Except this rejection stung when most others don’t.
What is my worth today? That depends… Have I produced anything today that isn’t crap?
Many of the rejections I face as a photographer are speculative. They are rejections from potential clients. Once upon a time, they stung, but no longer. No, this rejection was of existing work that I liked, work that I had made for myself and that I’m proud of. It’s good, and that other should want to see (or so says my internal monologue).
This isn’t first or the last time this sort of rejection will occur since I have no intention of giving up photography. It really shouldn’t have bothered me. So why did it?
Like most artists, I live on the self-worth roller-coaster. What is my worth today? That depends… Have I produced anything today that isn’t crap?
After I got over the initial “how dare they reject that!” moment and the following “damn, it must actually suck” hour, I decided not to worry about it to much. What I did instead of moping (ok, I moped a bit), was watch a few TED talks about rejection, which turned into several hours of TED talks about just about every subject.
Here are two that dovetailed nicely with the situation and I thought others might find helpful. Two different perspectives, two different people, two different situations. Same message: whatever happens, whether unimaginable success or utter failure, work hard at what you love every day and the rest will take care of itself.
The Take Away: Whatever happens, if you are doing what you love, who cares? Image rejected by a show? Go make more photos! Image sold for $1.6M? Go make more photos! The response is exactly the same. Do what you love doing.
For The Right Reasons…
The Take Away: I’m not in this for the fame or even the validation of other. I’m in this because I love taking pictures and working hard in that realm is fun. Hopefully I’m good enough that people want to hire me, but photography isn’t about making money. If money was the motivation, I’d be writing software instead.
In Case You Are Wondering
Here are the images that were rejected. Who knows why… It doesn’t really matter.
He is a self taught experiential learner who is addicted to the possibilities that new (to him) gear open up. He loves to share the things he has worked out. Andrew started with a passion for landscape and night photography and quickly branched out to work in just about every form of photography. He is an ex-software developer with extensive experience in the IT realm.