A mental hump…

For some time my parents, my mother in particular, have been encouraging… perhaps pushing… me to look into selling some of my pictures as prints. Personally I think this is rather deranged even though I do think I get some good shots on occasion…

An occasional good shot

While I do love the encouraging words and thoughts it’s the sort of thing I imagine many children take with a grain of salt. You know… of course mom and dad are going to be supportive and such. It’s all part of the job, right?

Please don’t misunderstand. I do not mean to impugne their encouragement in any way. It’s mostly a matter of it being easier to dismiss such support than it is to embrace it. It’s part of the way I work, for better or worse. (worse I’m certain)

But also of late I have been receiving no small amount of prodding, encouragement and definite pushing from my neighbors and friends, the Edwards. They are a couple who live across the street and whose lawn I mow. We have long had this lawn-mowing relationship, but over the past five or so months it has bloomed into a friendship as well.

Part of this friendship has included a lot of pushing me to seriously consider selling my images as prints. Lynda, herself an artist and lover of art, has been particularly encouraging, helping me to think about various ways I might get my feet wet in the world of selling one’s own works.

And truth be told I wouldn’t mind giving it a whirl…

Albino squirrel

Our albino squirrel: Abbie

We have discussed obtaining a booth in a local art festival, but that one was already closed to new entries. But there remains other opportunities coming up as we move from the dog days of summer into the more pleasant months of Autumn.

But there remains one single hurdle… hump, if you will… which I need to overcome and that is the one of self-deprecation.

Simply put: I like, even love, some of my work, but it’s one thing to think well of your own work and another to think highly enough such that others would be willing to part with their hard-earned cash for it.

It is an obstacle with which I have been fighting for pretty much all my life. Not about photography specifically, but about most anything at which I showed any genuine talent. It’s part of who I am to doubt myself. To be insecure. To see no worth in whatever it is I can do, whether I do it well or not.

However, I do not image this isn’t an uncommon problem amongst artists. Not that I wish to place myself into the same category as real artists (see? there! I’m doing it already), but aren’t we usually our own worst critics?

I know plenty of folks on Flickr whose work I think is vastly superior to my own, yet there is nothing wrong with my work. More to the point, there is nothing saying that others, the public, wouldn’t enjoy my prints as much as I enjoy the pictures of others on Flickr.

Fortunately a very strange thing occurred on Friday while I was in attendance at a First Friday event in a small town south of where I live. I have attended a handful of the First Friday events at this place and learned the other day the event is doing well enough that they are in the process of converting the basement space into studios. And while I don’t need studio space it is a space from which to sell my wares.

Oddly enough, when I heard about this instead of thinking the usual thoughts (“No one would buy my pictures,” etc.) and putting up obstacles to success I was almost giddy with the idea that I might give it a try. That I could make it work.

Unheard of.

Woodland flower

Woodland flower

Now that the weekend has passed I wonder if I might be better served by trying to work some fairs and festivals for a year or two if for no other reason than to gauge the market potential for selling my work. After all, the rental of a booth at a weekend art festival is far less than that of rent for a space in a building.

Please don’t construe this to mean I’m back-tracking upon myself. No. Instead I prefer to think it is being more realistic and reasonable about the appropriate way to commence such a bold adventure. So let’s see if we can get this whole thing rolling…

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5 thoughts on “A mental hump…

  1. Have you thought about trying to sell to some magazines first? That white albino squirrel is unusual; it might help you break into the market. You are a good writer too and could probably do some writing for a nature magazine. I don’t write for that type of publication so I don’t know the ins and outs but I like the writing and the photography you do.

  2. Thanks for the compliments Kym. They are very much appreciated.

    I hadn’t thought about selling to a magazine. I don’t even know what magazines might be interested in my photography. I guess I would have to find out what’s available about there and whether or not they accept contributions (free or otherwise).

    Even more things to ponder now!

  3. My grandmother is usually the one trying to convince me I should try to make money from my photo’s, it was the same when I was writing short stories, she just thinks anything her grandchildren does is the best thing in the world :p

    I think one of the problems (and also one of the good things) with todays age of easily available information is that you’re exposed to so many incredibly talentet photographers – it’s easy to feel that there are a lot of better ones out there. If I had lived before the internet era and my pictures had looked as good as they do, then I would probably be out there trying to sell them right now.

    One thing I’ve been thinking of giving a try is to sell some of my photos as post cards, so that might be something you could consider as well.

  4. A simpler method of getting your photographs out there (you do want to share your pictures with others with other right? Have people enjoy your way f looking at the world) is to get several portfolios together and take them to local galleries. Make portfolios that look professional, but that you don’t mind leaving at a gallery for several months at a time. Let the galleries decide if your photographs are worth showing (and try the local fairs and booth at the same time if you want). They generally won’t charge rent or anything else, just a commission on all sales that they make.

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