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.

7 people have roominated about “Rejection”

  • Saj says:

    I would be thrilled to have your photos in my house and to see them in my office lobby. And not just because I’m your SIL! You are extremely talented. Don’t let some crap magazine or exhibit organizer tell you differently.

    So maybe this exhibit wasn’t your thing. But I truly believe “your thing” is still to come. Don’t give up. But if it feels good to wallow in some self-pity for a while, I’m all for it. We all deserve a day (or week) like that!

    Just know that you have a LOT of people out here in the blog-o-sphere who believe in your talent. I’ve seen the comments on your Flickr page, and I know there will be many more to come. LOVE YOU!!!

  • Jeff's Place says:

    Exactly what Saj commented above.
    Well except, I am not your SIL.

  • Alison says:

    Yeah, what they said!

  • Sandi says:

    We all know you’re talented. Besides, I read somewhere that The DaVinci Code or some other book that’s as popular was rejected 18 times before someone agreed to publish it! Don’t assume the publisher know anything. Assume your friends do!

  • Denise says:

    You are super talented. I think you should still do the site.

    Took 8 years for my first (and only) song to get published. By that time I had received 3 rejections from major hymn publishers, and already left the field for a “real job.”

  • alissa says:

    I don’t think rejection ever gets easier. And I know how hard it is to tune the negative out, but you still have to try. Take some time to take care of yourself and then get back in there, the world can never have too many beautiful photos.

    Thanks for playing the movie quote game by the way! I love your site, I’ll definitely be back.

  • 180/360 says:

    You are definitely a talented photographer. Don’t second guess yourself because of some magazine.

    You really should make your photos site. It’s great to do even if it’s just for you! I’ve had infinitely more traffic and interest from my photography website than I’d ever imagined.

    I often feel like I’m just another photographer out there because there are SO many talented artists. Sometimes it gets me down, but mostly it just makes me work harder. 🙂

roominate on this yourself