So I was going to write a blog about stress, and I’m still going to – on Friday, but at the moment I am thinking very hard about how to take my photography further. I wanted to join the Improvers group at our local photography club but despite the groups new year starting in September the Improvers group was already full with a waiting list. So with that in mind I’ve asked for a mentor to help me, someone to give me pointers and help me build my skill up. I’m hoping that in time I will be able to take part in exhibitions and competitions (ooh that rhymes), something that at this point is more than a little daunting.
Do I think my work is the best? Far from it, but I do feel that it deserves to be seen, even if only by a few people. I’m willing to take direction, but don’t know where to find it and am feeling more than a little frustrated today. They have their monthly competition this week and I didn’t show up, not because I didn’t want to take part but because I don’t know how to print my images so the colour shows upright, and I don’t know how to mount said image after. Where do you find information like that? Google has an overwhelming amount of information and that’s half the problem, there’s just so much information. Since I wasn’t brave enough to take my poorly mounted and slightly off colour image to the meeting tonight I thought I’d share it with you guys.
This is the original image, nothing special aside from my kid pulling the best smug face, not sure what that was about. I decided to go black and white and crop it a little closer, you can see the two side by side below.
I even asked for advice, the suggestion was to crop more closely so I followed the advice.
This was my finished piece, and below is my attempt at mounting it onto the card. The image is darker than I wanted, the tone wasn’t quite right and despite an hour of googling, I don’t feel that I’ve cracked mounting it either. It’s a frustrating experience, that seems to be the theme of the day.
And this leads me to the point of this post, frustration. Only kidding, that’s not the theme I promise, its competitions and exhibitions, honest.
Entering competitions is a scary experience, putting your work forward for others to critique – or criticise, opening yourself up to the opinions of others. Our work is our baby, and having to listen to what could be considered bad things is hard to hear.
But I want a chance to exhibit my work, I want a chance to enter competitions and push myself to improve, without critique that’s not possible. I guess the inability to join a group of people who are equally willing to push themselves has left me feeling fed up, I know lots of photographers, but they are all miles ahead of me. Not to mention opinions vary across the board and getting straight-up answers seems to be impossible.
So what have I learnt today that will help me, and you? Firstly, I reminded myself that it was better to try than to not, okay a little late for the competition, but it’s a start, I tried to print my own images, and I tried to mount one all by myself, I still don’t get where mounting tape comes in.
I learnt to edit skin, that was a really good video for beginners, I wouldn’t rely too heavily on it, but definitely consider it to get you started. I have to add that his video is fast-moving, so expect to have to pause and go back a few times, also, he’s far more interesting to watch than some of the others lol. There are some very monotone videos, his channel is PIXimperfect and he had some very useful tips, I recommend checking his channel out.
Next, photo mounting, this document helped me get a rough idea of how to do it, though I wish I’d looked up a video instead, I bought my mounting board in WH Smiths, £6.99 for 10 pieces of 1400mg mounting board, not the worst price, plus no postage. I hope these are of some use to you, I’m not going to lie, I got a little confused when they started on about glueing the image to a backing card – clearly, I need more help on this.
The only exhibitions I’ve managed to get into are via Gurushots and while that makes me happy, my inability to see the image up for itself takes something away from the experience. So today I am hunting for opportunities to put my work forward, I don’t expect to get accepted, but as I improve I’ll keep entering competitions and applying to be part of exhibitions. You never know, it might work.
If you’re considering entering a competition join me with this one https://www.thephotographicangle.co.uk/competition
And if you’re not averse to paying for wall space at an exhibition and can afford it (I can’t), check out here, they don’t have space this year, but there will be other years: https://londonphotoshow.org/enter/