Well, so far! At least as measured by invitation into juried art shows.
I’ve been seriously submitting my photography to competitive art shows since soon after I retired from full-time teaching in summer 2017. Calculating an overall rate of acceptance is impossible because I don’t have complete records for the first couple of years, but I can say that in 2021, my work was invited into a bit under half of the shows to which I applied.
More interesting to me: I noticed that whereas some images got invited more than once, others I thought just as good or better never or rarely got invited. So…, in part because the struggle to make decisions about what to submit is real, I decided to make a list of works ranked by how often they have been in juried shows. Would any helpful patterns emerge?
Topping the list, Lotus Fractal is the only piece that has been invited five times, twice into international shows, twice into national shows and once into a local show. Interestingly, I made the original exposure for that image in October 2019. But even though I liked the original exposure, turning it into a worthy image was a struggle. Cropping, contrast, tone–all of it. I spent a lot of time on it and finally in 2021, it was ready, and it was accepted into its first show quickly.
J.J. Audubon Bridge, New Roads, La. has been in four shows (3 national, 1 regional) and Take Flight has been in three (2 national, 1 regional). These two pieces illustrate well my interest in the built environment, both completed structures and those in progress.
I can’t put all of the images that ended up on the list in a single blog post, but here are the totals:
- One was in five shows
- Two were in four shows
- Four were in three shows
- Nineteen were in two shows
- Fifty-two were in one show
That’s 78 artworks that have appeared in juried shows at the international, national, regional and/or local level in the last few years. Good on me!
But are they my best? Getting into juried shows is only one kind of measure. Here’s another: While Take Flight was on the wall at the Jones Gallery in Kansas City, I went to the opening reception and had the privilege of watching a couple pause in front of the image. Soon they were deep in conversation, the man pointing at things in the photograph as he spoke. I finally went over and introduced myself. He had done high rise construction and was using my artwork to explain to his companion how buildings are reinforced as they are built.
For this artist, it doesn’t get any better than that.
And, to answer my own question, given the diversity of these images, I do not see any patterns here that will help me make the next set of decisions about what to submit! Do you?