Thursday, June 9, 2011

First fail in the "epic fail" project: Foto8

One of the advantages of making a last minute submission to a photo show is that you don't have to wait long for the results. Here's what the rejection email looks like:

Dear Photographer,
Thank you for entering the Foto8 Summershow 2011.
Your entry has been carefully considered, however we regret to inform you that your work has not been selected.
We hope that this does not discourage you from entering next year and we remind you that on Friday 8th July there will be a Launch Party for the opening of the exhibition at HOST Gallery, 1 Honduras Street, London, EC1Y 0TH which will run until Friday 12th August.   Details for tickets will be posted on the Foto8 website shortly.  Don’t forget that you are also invited to cast your own vote for the ‘Peoples’ Choice’ Award.
The Summershow 2011 raffle, with amazing prizes to be announced soon, will also be drawn on the night. 
Thank you again for your interest in the Foto8 Summershow 2011.
 If you read my "epic fail" post, you know that I'm going into this looking to accumulate some failures ("fingerposts on the road to achievement" and all that positive spin). That doesn't mean I'm not trying, so I'm always still hoping to fail at failing, but this first rejection was more relief than disappointment. Had I been accepted, I would have had to think up a plan to get me and my prints to London on short notice. And since I just got back from Paris, another transatlantic flight would be a stretch. I plan on documenting the failures, so we'll see if there's anything to be learned from the project.

After perusing last year's shortlisted works (you can see a slideshow on their site, they range from "wow" to "what the-?"), I concluded that I really had no idea what they were looking for. Should I choose something from Paris? Some pretty? Something gritty? What? In the end, I decided to enter three (that's how many you submit) photos from my Utah-based State Street project. After all, Utah culture is more exotic (and certainly less photographed) than Paris in many ways. Here is what I submitted (and we all know how well it turned out):

 "Our fathers' God"

 "Temple City"

"Utah Yard Sale"

I obviously wasn't going for pretty. I still like the photos in the context of my project, but they didn't inspire the judges. Why exactly, I don't know, because the judges don't have time to give feedback on a few thousand entries.

I have submitted the same three photos to a show in California. I'll find out in a week if the results are any different. I leave for Cincinnati in two days, but I'm hoping to do one or two more submissions (with different photos) before leaving.


timtop said...

I'm really liking this 'epic fail' idea for your posts. It's one thing we can all relate to and is perhaps something we don't talk about. At least not as much as the successes. Also there's potential for the subject to expand to other types of failings that are all related - the drop in confidence that can arise from rejection, feeling less talented than other photographers, etc.
I, and I'm sure others, appreciate your honesty and insight.


Jill said...

Congratulations on a step forward in your Epic Fail project. After looking at the slideshow and the wide range of selections (some baffling to me) I can only assume they didn't understand the context of your photos (genius is so often misunderstood).

Tim said...

I understand your “epic fail” premise, but I think you have it all wrong. If you set out to fail, or to “fail at failing,” you goal is still failure. Thomas Edison supposedly had 10,000 failures when searching for a lasting light bulb filament. His 10,000 failures were not “failures,” they were results. Why not elicit “epic results?” Forget the internet morons who think that skateboarders crushing their genitals on hand railings, or doing face-plants, are funny “epic fails”.

For me, your three photos were uninspiring and uninteresting. I’m surprised that you submitted them, because I know that your photos of people are so much more engaging. It was like you intentionally wanted to fail, so instead of failing, you actually succeeded. You have an artistic sensibility that most people only wish they had--and these photos were out-of-character, and boring. (Sorry, it had to be said.)

Leaders inspire people to be the best that they can be, not to expect epic failures. (It makes my genitals hurt just thinking about it.) I know that your intentions are good, but you are going about it in a confusing circuitous way. Submit some of your good photos--the ones you have been holding back. Inspire people with your talent instead of failures or pithy rebuttals to sincere comments made by caring infrequent Take Out Photo website visitors.

marc said...

Pithy rebuttals? I don't know about that, but I do like feedback so I was glad to get the comment. You are obviously not alone in finding those photos uninspiring-- it's just too bad the judges don't have time to give specific feedback. Anyway, it's definitely a different line of thinking than my street photography and I plan to keep doing both. The trick is finding things hat resonate with me and with others. So maybe the epic fail project is a sort of fishing expedition and I obviously won't use the same bait over and over. I also dont wan to submit work that I don't personally connect with, which is why I decided not to submit to a few shows (landscape for instance ) that just aren't me. I did, however, submit about 12 photos (including people!) to something that isn't due until July 15, so I'll post about that later. I'm in Cincinnati right now typing on an iPad (not easy ) so I will end my comment that is neither short enough to qualify as pithy nor defensive enough to qualify as a rebuttal (or so I imagine).

Md Enamul Hoq said...

Congratulations , I also like To project and your Epic Fail project is so nice.
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