We’re so delighted to publish Janine Graf’s third article to her column iSights. This is another very well written and topical article that we have no doubt you are going to enjoy, a lot and completely relate too. Over to you Janine… (foreword by Joanne Carter).
Colonel Sanders had felt the sting of rejection too, in fact, he felt it 1,009 times. Harland David “Colonel” Sanders’ fried chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it. One thousand and nine times! The 1,010th time was the charm.
With the much anticipated results of the Mobile Photo Awards recently announced, there has been a variety of emotions swirling around on the various social media platforms. The emotions were ranging from sheer elation, to injured egos, on down to simple befuddlement. I will admit that I experienced certain levels of all of those emotions myself. Yep, I did. I admit it. I’m human, and even more frightening is the fact I’m an artist on top of that (we artists tend to get emotional sometimes – ssshhhhhh). We pour our hearts and souls into our work, are proud of what we’ve created and then like proud parents we throw our creations out there for the world to hopefully accept, or as in the case of the MPA’s, for a panel of judges to pass judgment. It’s unnerving to say the least.
A good portion of the emotions I was hearing from fellow artists is that they felt defeated, that somehow their work wasn’t good enough. Feeling that your work isn’t good enough SUCKS. About six months or so into my iPhone photography journey I submitted a bunch of my favorite images to a very well-known curator of a very well-known mobile photography website. At around that time I believed my work was pretty good. Well, I liked it anyway. So I submitted my work to this person and they actually emailed me and told me straight up that they found my work “uninspiring” and included a list of the reasons why they were no good. I cried; after all, I am an emotional human artist. After receiving that ego shattering email I actually said out loud to myself, “I should just give up. Who am I kidding? I don’t know what I’m doing.” I took some time off submitting to anyone, to lick my wounds and regroup, but all the while still taking photos and reworking them on my iPhone; it was my passion after all. Ok, so this one person said I’m “uninspiring.” That is one person’s opinion. We all have them, opinions. Turns out this person wouldn’t be the last to reject my work either. If you count the number of bloggers / websites with showcases, open gallery calls to artists and competitions I’ve submitted to over the past couple of years, my work has been rejected many more times than it has been accepted. Wait . . . ok, now I’m depressed.
We aren’t robots. We are human beings with complex emotions . . . for now. Sure, right now we are upset about not placing in a competition, or maybe bummed out that we didn’t land in a weekly showcase, but it’s only a matter of time before the machines rise up and you discover that your hair dryer is laughing at you when you exit the shower. Oh that day is coming. That’s why I’ve started exercising again. And as scientists are working closer towards the singularity, it makes you wonder what will become of us artists when the nanobots take over our brains . . . I guess what I’m saying is that it’s ok to be emotional and even upset over feeling rejected. Go ahead and take a page from my book and cry if you think it’ll make you feel better (it will). But please, please don’t give up. If wanting public recognition for your work is what you crave, then keep submitting. Continue to create and push yourself to be better in your eyes; because that’s all that really matters anyways. I will confess that in retrospect I am sort of glad that person was such a flaming jerk to tough on me. I hated hearing it at the time, but they had a point, my work was maybe short of inspiring when I look back on it. Don’t you just hate that?
© Janine Graf – ‘Upside Downtown’
Imagine if Colonel Sanders gave up after his first 1,009 rejections? So next time you’re feeling defeated or rejected, channel your inner Colonel Sanders. I know I will. Do it for the Colonel!