There was a time, long ago, when I was much involved in sports. Like many of my friends I played hockey, baseball, and tennis, and even took turns at track and at wrestling. Many of my friends either excelled at one or another of these endeavors or were lucky to belong to teams which did very well. They were awarded medals for their efforts and others were lucky to have won trophies. I can still remember coveting the awards which had gone to others for I too wanted one of these physical symbols of achievement, so badly in fact that my good mother once purchased a trophy for me. Its figurine was nondescript and, of course, had no inscription on the nameplate. Many years later, as young women, my daughters showed goats, sheep, hogs, rabbits, poultry and beef at our annual county fair. Joanna and I have an attic full of trophies which attests to their successes in the show ring. Both girls were also competitive fencers and each has her collection of awards. Joanna has not only received ribbons for participating as a member of a competition sheep-to-shawl team but she also has an extensive collection of awards received for fiber art that she has entered in local and more distant competitions. Suffice it to say that, among this winning family, I have always felt rather unaccomplished. If you follow the comments section of this blog closely you will know that I mentioned in replies to comments made here that, with much trepidation, I entered my first photo competition. It was a juried show and entries were judged this past week. I am happy to report that all of my submissions were accepted and two of them won awards. The image of dried Teasel took Third and the one of the falls was awarded the single Honorable Mention of the show. These achievements were more than a half century in coming … scary when you think of it in just that way.

18 thoughts on “Unabashed

  1. Congratulations! I am not surprised that you got such positive feedback. Actually, I think some of your photos are even better than the ones that won! How many did you submit? This should give you the push to enter other contests. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

    • I submitted three … these two and then one of a bunch of cows on a beautiful green and blue background … I heard that the judge thought it could have been cropped more appropriately. Anyway, I was satisfied. D

  2. Congratulations! Yes, a submission is certainly step that would make sensible-minded people think twice. Fortunately, as the rest of us who visit your blog know, you do have the talent, skill and perseverance. And I love the images too.

    • I shouldn’t say such things Maurice but this was something of a litmus test for me. Truth-be-told, this was a very little show held in a less-than-cosmopolitan part of the world. My thinking was that if I couldn’t ‘make grade’ here then there was little hope. Now, having said that, I was overjoyed when I learned of the results … really, I was. I have become to unsure of my work. I have become quite unable to judge its quality. Very often I’ll begin processing what I think is a nice image and then, after a bit, my opinion will shift and I’ll abandon my effort. Some would say that I’m difficult to satisfy … I would say that I’m not quite in gear yet. D

  3. Congratulations again. I definitely think this should be sufficient motivation to keep putting yourself out there … but in the meantime, you should bask in your accomplishment. Well done indeed!

  4. Now others know what we, your loyal cadre of followers, know … you’re good. I especially loved the recent, dramatic, photo of the goat kid. Congratulations on the recent awards.

  5. Congrats – Dave! Well deserved! It is great to see that your talent, hard work, and perseverance have finally paid off. I understand your trepidation – I assume it is difficult to take the decision to put your artwork “to the test” as its value cannot be measured in numbers … though there are of course some criteria for quality – which your images meet beyond a doubt. So on the one hand you have to be prepared to accept – in a truly stoic way – that you might not have been lucky or jurors had applied arbitrary criteria. On the other hand even the most detached stoic can’t help but celebrate an award … which creates an asymmetric relationship of “failure” and “success” that’s probably not easy to handle.

  6. I’m with Jenny on this – your photographs are amazing quality and the captures are always spot-on. True, I’m partial to your farm! Please continue to enter photo contests – the world needs to be in on your shots, D, and you deserve the recognition. My experience is sort of opposite – I would win at categories created in my honor ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s because I am ALWAYS unabashed! But a bit of what I’m implying is that you should not be afraid to stick your neck out there with photographs, or anything you are passionate about, and just have fun sharing! There are always people grateful that you did.

    • Thanks much T. I have absolutely zero confidence in my own work. I only took Psych 1 in college so am not qualified to know why this is the case. Positive comments from wonderful folks like yourself go a long, long, way to boosting my own confidence in my work. Perhaps some day even I may think my stuff is OK. How are you doing up there? We lost a horse this past Friday evening … so we’re a bit down. Life goes on … lambs will be arriving shortly. D

    • Thanks Jenny. Some would observe that I suffer from a pathological case of lacking confidence in my work. And, I would agree! Entering this first contest was difficult because I worried about a bad outcome and the influence that might have had on my motivation to keep moving forward. Everyone says that I should simply do what I do and not worry about the opinions of others. I find that difficult for there are standards … there are styles and approaches that appeal and others that do not. I want folks to enjoy my images. Sure, if I simply did my own thing, there might be a few out there who would appreciate it. But I’d like to be able to appeal to a somewhat larger audience. Positive comments from folks like you do much to motivate me … thank you. Who knows … someday I might actually think my work is OK. D

      • Sounds like me with my writing. Knowing how to find your audience is key – what appeals to one might not appeal to another. It’s a creative problem and one that can make me feel downhearted very quickly!

        • I hear you Jenny, loud-and-clear. I’m not sure what appeals to those out there in the blogging world. I’d like to say that I do not find my motivation in feedback or show of appreciation (likes) … but I’d be telling a falsehood if I did. Sure, we all like to know we’re doing well. What absolutely floors me is that many blogs, which (in my own good opinion) aren’t much to ‘write home about,’ can have thousands and even tens of thousands of followers! How does that happen? They say to do what you do … and do it well … and sooner or later people will find you. Is that really true in the blogging world? How does one increase readership? We’re not sunny today in Pennsylvania but everyone is breathing a heavy sigh of relief for the most recent heavy snows passed south of us overnight. Whew! I hope you have sunny skies today. D

          • Some sunny skies interspersed with heavy showers today – giving rise to that wonderful contrast of colour – black sky with sun in the distance. You’d do it justice with your camera, I’m sure. As for increasing blog readership – I think it’s trial and error. You have to read a lot of blogs, maybe. I’m always a bit suspicious of blogs with thousands of followers, especially when this doesn’t seem to be commensurate with its comments tally. On balance, I’d prefer to have fewer ‘followers’ who actually read what I write, rather than lots who click away madly and then never return ๐Ÿ™‚

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