Successful In My Own Eyes


Tonight is the opening of Patriotism at the Washington Gallery of Photography and I am excited to have been selected to be a part of it.  This is my first public showing of work since Artomatic 2007, and the first time for prints, so I am a bit nervous about how they will be received.  But, beyond those feelings, and the stress of getting the work ready etc, my mind has been filled with both recent comments in emails from friends, and memories of conversations that I had while a student at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography (RMSP).  My mind has been filled with enjoying the feeling of “making it”.

Yeah, I can see you now, across the Intertube laughing you’re a** off right now.  “What a loser….”, you may be saying to your self.  Sure, I am fully aware that the small exhibitions that I have been in and will be a part of in the near future are not that big of a deal in many ways. The sales that I have are far from being able to support my life on this planet, and because of that I would not be a  “successful photographer” by others definition of that expression.  But, the truth is I have met most of the goals that I set for myself at RMSP.  The main goal was to make images that were the images that I wanted to make, my way, and have people be interested in looking at them.  I am happy to announce to myself (which is often hard to do) and to the rest of the world that I am a successful artist and photographer.  You have no idea how hard it was for me to write that. 

Do I have other goals that are loftier, that have been developed since my time at RMSP?  Oh sure, there are lots of them, and some of them are crazily lofty!  But that is how an adventure filled, full life is built right?  I mean if you are not setting goals to achieve, and just “holding what you got” (old phrase from my Jump Master days) then are you not wasting the short time that you have in life?  Well, I understand that we all have our own views of what is a well spent life, just as everyone has a different view on what a “successful photographer” is.

Is “success” as a photographer about money, fame, the truth to ones vision/art, living in a box and sticking it to the “man”?  There is no right or wrong answer, and that is the answer to so many of the questions that we as humans have in life.  Frankly we don’t deal with that well.  Just like we have to place a label on EVERYTHING, and make sure that that thing is properly pigeonholed into its correct category, we also must have a solid right or wrong answer for things.  So you may be asking were the hell is this post going? 

Well, I ran across a very interesting thread at the Large Format Photographers Forum that I wanted to share with the few people that happen to be bumping into my blog.  It is VERY long, but there are some very interesting views. You may not be a photographer, or even an artist, but maybe you will think about your own view of success.  Are your thoughts on what success is defined by other people, other companies, or the media and what you see on your TV?  Take some time to slow down and think about what success is in your mind, and then think about why you think that way… might just discover that you are trying to be a success in someone else’s eyes and not your own.

Stay true to yourself and take the time to create something everyday!  Thanks for reading.


~ by Phil Nesmith on July 13, 2007.

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