February 23, 2008

Talk about the passion

Tonight is a big night for Stacy and me. We are taking our passion, our hobby, and putting it out there for all to see. We are decorating her newly painted condo walls with our photographs and have invited our friends to come ogle, swoon, and love what we consider our best work. At least I hope that’s what they’ll do. I don’t take criticism well. Then again, I don’t take compliments well. On my wedding day, people told me I was beautiful. Well, of course I was. I was wearing a dress more expensive than anything I will ever wear again, and had a makeup artist and hair stylist to make me look my best. Every bride is beautiful on their wedding day, so duh. I looked beautiful. Whatevs.

But on a regular day, when I hear, “Your hair looks nice” or “That’s a pretty sweater,” my instant reaction is “Really? You think so?” even if I have left the house thinking “My hair is friggin’ gorgeous today and this is the cutest sweater known to man.” Because even if I think I look good, or my photos are good, I rarely believe other people when they feel the same. Sometimes in fact, I’ll deflect a compliment with a negative reaction. “You think I have a small waist? That’s only because my huge ass makes it look so.” Healthy, right?

As excited as I am to strut my stuff tonight, I kind of want to throw up a little bit. Because who am I to invite people over to look at my photos? I’m not Annie Leibovitz or Ansel Adams or…why do I not know the name of any famous photographers…someone else. Why would anyone want to see my photos? Am I not the equivalent of an overzealous first-time mom, showing off snapshots of her newborn? I feel a bit like Kirsten Wiig and Seth Rogan playing twins on Saturday Night Live, performing their musical talents, thereby interrupting their parents while they entertain guests. Or like when my sister and I would put Donny and Marie records on the record player and lip-sync in front of the grandparents. We thought we were superstars. But they were humoring us.

In choosing the photos for this exhibition, I knew of a few I wanted to include. For others, I looked at my Flickr stats to see what the viewing public liked most. That seems lame, given my propensity to ignore positive comments, but if I based it solely on what I liked, and my choices were not met with similar reactions, well then, not only would my photo be shitty, but apparently I’d also have no taste.

I honestly don’t know what it will take for me to believe that any photo I have ever taken (aside from this one) is fantastic. I hope tonight that someone sees one they like. Maybe it reminds them of something nice. Or they like the colors, or the composition, or the subject matter. Maybe I’ll hear that I’m merely good at picking out frames, or signing my name in a straight line on the mat board. Knowing my friends though, they will admire my work because it is mine and they are my friends. Friends want friends to be successful and happy. And friends are generally proud of their friends.

I need to remind myself that my first photo exhibition is in comfortable surroundings with familiar faces. I should not feel threatened, but confident. Tonight I will not walk behind two people discussing one of my shots and hear, “what the hell is up with that one?” But just in case I do, I will get Jürgen to whack them upside the head with his tail and lick them into submission.

Tonight’s baring of my soul coincides with the upcoming launch of my photography site. I like the idea of being someone else with my photography because a few of my inhibitions fall by the wayside. Because of this, I felt the need to use a name different from what people usually call me because I think Cat sounds more arty and edgy. Stay tuned to see what she/I come(s) up with.

And now I’m going to go throw up.

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