Posted by on May 12, 2012  Add comments
May 122012
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I'm getting confused responses to this image


I recently put together a set of 18 of these environmental tree portraits. The set was rejected by one organisation and enthusiastically accepted for exhibition by another.
Who is right???

Rejection is part of art making so this was not entirely unexpected. It is however a bit harder to take when you put a huge amount of work into a project and the reasons for the rejection are unclear.

The question is “now what do I do”. To achieve success sometimes you need to tick the boxes and follow the rules – even though often no one will actually tell you what the rules are.  I saw the successful entries and they clearly followed a “client brief” that is not mentioned in the submission guidelines. Some wonderful work was accepted.

So what now? – I am left with two options. Do I walk away and tell myself that the ” judges” will not consider something that is different to their norm, or do I submit work that follows their rules?

The bottom line remains that in spite of not being successful I have made work that I am extremely pleased with and proud of.

In the mean time “The Nature of Trees” will be included in the 2013 exhibition schedule at the Down by the Liffey   Art Gallery just out of Christchurch. I'll let you know when and  you can come and judge for yourself.

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  9 Responses to “Glenorchy”

  1. I won’t go to the Down by the Liffey to judge, Ian, but I’m certainly going to go there to enjoy! Congratulations on being accepted for their exhibition.

  2. From someone who competes every week in various salons all round the world, sometime successfully sometimes totally bum out it really doesn’t matter, the important thing is YOU like your work & YOU have produced the image the best you can, what judges think is never consistent, your work is excellent, if a judge or judges dont like it they are philistines? Congrats to your exhibition.

  3. I totally empathise with you Ian. It happened to me back in 2004!!!!Your images are probably all honours images too – but it is so subjective (and maybe a little boring to create a “SET” without too many variations). Art is all in the eye of the beholder – we don’t need to tell you about that – you are at the top of the tree in my humble opinion. Just do it for yourself and one day that homogeneous set (for what it is worth) might just fall into place. You are probably way ahead of the field at the moment and the “selectors” don’t know how to see that – soon everyone will be doing what you are doing !!!

    Success is doing the best WE can and being happy with it. If others like our art as well then that is a big bonus to enjoy.

    I look forward to seeing your exhibition and will hope to get there.

  4. Ive seen your set and it works for me. The way I see it, making art is about finding your own truths first and then, secondly, sharing that with others. The competion process in itself is not part of that but is a useful method of getting your work in front of people. I quess a third function of art is learning that comes from other peoples reaction to it. However as soon as you produce something to someone else’s brief it becomes design. That implies some reward for the work which I guess can happen in completions and the honours system. So artist or designer?

  5. I agree entirely with Tim. Well written. I can only say, “remain true to yourself, Ian”.

  6. Great post Ian… And excellent fodder for discussion. I’m sorry you didn’t achieve all that you wished for, but very interesting outcome. There is a prescription that works for the honours and if you follow it I understand that success is likely. Key word – “follow”. There are photographers whose natural style fits it comfortably and results in some great work and success under that system. But it doesn’t suit everyone, or their work. The story seems to be pointing your direction for you, unless you choose to change what works for you to what works for someone else. I’ve headed off doing my own thing because I needed the time and space to firstly find my strengths, then develop them without remoulding my work to someone else’s image (excuse the pun). Good luck with the exhibition, I’d be very excited about that!

  7. Hi Ian, dont worry about the judges, i have seen many people in your situation over the years but we all seem to go back for more. You dont need them to tell you if it is good work or not, it is you at the end of the day that has to look at the images. I know of two people who are exhibiting in overseas compitions for this exact reason. Stand by your work Ian, you are the best judge. Trev

  8. Hi Ian. Interesting that the organisation that rejeceted your set has for years espoused the pictorialism doctrine (and judged accordingly), while at their own annual conventions often have guest speakers that are not pictorialist photographers, but into art or commercial photography, and as such would never win a major award in the organistion’s own competitions.

  9. I don’t know anything about judging or their criteria Ian, but I love this. Hang in there and enjoy.

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