March 16, 2008


Rejection hurts. No matter what kind. Whether you’re getting your heart stomped on by a fellow 6th grader who doesn’t like you because “you’re fat!”, denied admission to a sorority because your daddy is not an attorney or a surgeon, or hearing that your photos are just not good enough to be part of an exhibit, rejection sucks.

I received another rejection email today. This one was for a photography exhibit that I really thought I stood a chance of getting into. But again, I was told “We’re sorry. You’re not good enough for us.” At least now, in the world of the Internet, people can apologize, and pretend to be remorseful for hurting my feelings. Freddie didn’t do that, but he was just an 11-year old punk. The sorority just didn’t invite me back the next day, and that was ok with me because they were all snobby bitches and I didn’t like their house anyway. But finding out something I created isn’t good enough to be included in something I so wanted to be part of makes me want to stop trying to get in.

However, for some reason, this rejection didn’t upset me as much as the magazine rejection. This one just made me introspective. When I received that first rejection email, I chalked it up to the judges’ stupidity. It was them, not me. And “Fine then! I’ll get my work seen some other way! Some better way! So suck it, you, you…magazine that I would still love to see my photo in someday! Pfft!

Maybe “thanks, but no thanks” email hurts less because it isn’t the first time? Does it get easier? Or do you slowly start believing that your work is not that great? You start to realize that you and your friends are the only ones who think you photographs are any good and you really have no business in the company of amazing photographers and who do you think you are? Go back to the kids’ table, you annoying little thing. Yeah, that’s where I am now.

I was planning to launch a photography site earlier this month. But I am uninspired to do so. With my recent rejections comes insecurity. Right now I feel like my photographs are nothing but snapshots with some nice depth of field. Some of them are pretty, or nicely composed, but really. Nothing special. Nothing that warrants a spot in a gallery or a quarter-page in a magazine, or an entire web site focused solely on them. That’s how I feel, anyway. So the photo site is on hold indefinitely. Maybe now I’ll just take photos because I like to. Maybe I’ll stop wanting my work to be in people’s houses, office lobbies, cubicles. (I wish I could do that. But I want more.)

I don’t aspire to be famous. But when I hand someone a photograph, asking them to publish it in their overpriced magazine or hang in their fancy gallery, I’m giving them a part of me. And when they do not accept it, they are not just rejecting a photo. They’re also rejecting me. And prior feelings of rejection come flooding back and I want to retreat to my safe place. So for now I am finished submitting my work to anything other than Flickr. I just can’t set myself up for further rejection.

Besides, Flickr loves me. And thanks to them, I can say my work has been in a gallery. Because it has. Technically. OK. So it was there for just a few hours. But still. Below is a shot from Flickr’s 4th birthday party, held last night at 111 Minna in San Francisco. 111 Mina is a gallery. Notice anything familiar?

My a gallery :-)

And there’s a certain feline that Matte photographed in this one:

Daphne's face in a gallery

Here are a few other shots I took at the party. It was so fun to be in a room full of people who love to take photos. And no one thought anyone was a dork for zooming in on buttons, focusing on cupcakes or taking long exposure shots of the crowd as they admired everyone’s work. People oohed and aahed at Flickrites’ flash set ups and kickass cameras. And everyone went home with some sweet swag. Happy 4th Birthday, Flickr. (You don’t look a day over 3, by the way). Thanks for accepting me as I am and for allowing me to expose myself to millions of people.