Sometime last spring, I sent off 12 images from the Nighthawks series to Color magazine for the portfolio contest, and then promptly forgot about it.
A couple of weeks ago, the magazine sent me an e-mail saying that my portfolio had been selected for inclusion in an upcoming issue. Not being dummies, they took the opportunity to ask me if I wanted to order a few extra copies. I bit.
Within a week, the magazines came. I immediately looked for my pictures. The reproduction wasn’t too bad. They mistitled one image, but there was my name, in big bold letters, spelled perfectly. All in all, I was pleased.
There are a few photographers who are perfectly happy if their images received no wider circulation than family and friends. A few more aspire only to having their work seen by a close group of photographers whose opinion they value. Most of us seek wider recognition. I’m not sure exactly why, but part of making art seems to be about getting it seen. It may be that art is communication, and that communication requires an audience. It may simply be ego. Whatever the reason, it’s there for me.
While having my images published is a source of satisfaction, the feedback is seriously attenuated when compared to selling work face to face, or even having an exhibition. When some of the Nighthawks images were published in LensWork, I received some congratulatory emails from people I didn’t know. So far, only my friends have remarked upon the Color portfolio.
The paucity of the feedback is somewhat compensated by my knowledge that Color has a very large circulation. I take comfort in the belief that there are many people out there looking at my work, even if they are silent.