#14: Winter Flowers II
On having to promote your work
I haven’t properly slept since the winter solstice. I live as if I were in the EST timezone. At this point, the easiest solution for me is to move to New York. How are you? Happy new year!
One of my resolutions this year is to be more open and connect with others through photography. This is going to be January’s theme. Today I’m going to apply it to the present. In a couple of weeks, I will get to the root of the problem in Dear Padua #2. By the way, thank you for the feedback. It wasn’t easy to send that newsletter, and I still cringe whenever I remember that people read it. But I know it’s going to be worth it in the long run.
My dislike and refusal of promoting my work ultimately boils down to the fact that I would rather not be seen than see myself fail. Ugh, that’s bad. I’ve been wondering what would happen if I were to change my mindset. The fact remains that promotion sounds like fighting for a piece of attention. Given that attention is a finite resource, we inevitably have to steal someone else’s spotlight to shine it on us. That… I have a bit of trouble with. Ideally, I’d want all of us to have a place in the garden.
(Notice how much of the language we use to speak about success is related to war? Fighting, stealing, dominating, more recently “bidding war”. While I’m certain there’s a place for this in the world, I’m afraid we’re not appreciative enough of the preservers among us — the gardeners, if you will.)
It’s pretty clear I’m being heavily influenced by my current reading, How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell. Among other things, it revealed to me a way of defining promotion that I don’t hate. Jenny puts it in terms of sharing one’s story. Not doing so would cause a disservice to potential kindred spirits who could benefit from our observations, or just make them feel less lonely.
Anyway, that’s what I took away from it.
We had our first snowfall on the 27th November 2021. An unexpected but welcome surprise, as I was really looking forward to continuing my project Winter Flowers. For so many winters, I went in full hibernation mode and barely took any photos. I’m proud of myself for having found a way around this and tricking my brain into feeling motivated. The hunter-gatherer in me is psyched.
It was a cold and windy Saturday. I went for a walk and took photos until I couldn’t feel my fingers anymore. So, not for too long. The biggest challenge was to focus and compose these photos.
The second day, we got even more heavy snowfall. So much so, that I was worried to go out. Okay, I was lazy. I still took photos of the hawthorn and sweet mock-orange bushes in our backyard. The worm-eating blackbirds were back too.
And on the third day, I was in a big depressive mood. It was the day before my birthday, which I suspect had a lot to do with it.
I didn’t say a word about my depression to anyone for 10 years. In fact, I only openly mentioned it last month. I still somehow feel guilty for bringing it up when giving context to my work. But please take it as just that, context. I’m mostly a fun person to be around.
After much insistence on William’s part, I went out with my camera, convinced I wouldn’t be able to take any meaningful photo. Friends, I was wrong. It was the most productive walk and a big boost to my mood. Winter Flowers saved me again.
When I was finally ready to go home the sun came out, so I stuck around a little bit longer. I noticed a couple of regal-looking wild teasels and I made my favourite photo of the day.
These are my first photos ever to be minted without being published on social media first. I’ve been growing my collection on Foundation. Circling back to my resolution of the year, putting my work on the blockchain is a big push in that direction. It makes me both believe in what I do and connect with others that may enjoy my photography. There are arguably cheaper to achieve this, I know. But it’s what works for me at the moment, and it makes me happy.
But I am in a garden
Tending to my own
So what do I care
And what do you care if I grow?
Starting a newsletter was one of the best decisions I took last year. It will always be my favourite (and free) place to be.
Thank you for reading,
Thanks for sharing! I agree that keeping art to yourself robs the people who need to hear it. This felt like a vision of a past self and made me realize how far I’d come but also what insecurities I still have.
I have felt a bit gross promoting as well but now I’ve committed to spurring and joining conversation, getting my words and photos out there, so when I do promote, it’s a fraction of what I’m already doing. My words have essentially been my promotion.