I have a plan but I need your help (Part two).

Posted by on Mar 5, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

I want to talk about self confidence (or lack of it).

Lochan na h-Achlaise

A recent thread appeared of Facebook concerning what is considered commercial ( saleable) in the print/gallery area of the landscape photography world. Without getting into the meat and bones of that subject ( although it is something I would like to address in a future post) the author of the original post made a comment suggesting that gallery ownership may be ‘an ego trip and one that’s likely to bankrupt you’. Well I can testify that I’ve come close to the second half of that statement and that gallery ownership (in the U.K. at least) is not for the faint hearted but I hope I’ve learned from past mistakes. Regarding the ego bit though I certainly don’t agree. I’ve met a fair few ‘Fine Art’ gallery owners in the past with high opinions of themselves but the photographers with galleries have all been genuinely humble people with the celebration of landscape, nature and photography as an art form at the core of their
endeavours.

Towards Sgurr na h-Ulaidh

The dictionary definition of ego trip is ‘an activity done in order to increase one’s sense of self-importance’. I own and run a gallery because I’ve always found approaching other galleries to representing me an almost impossible task. In the past I would drive maybe a hundred miles to approach a gallery with my work and having parked up I would find myself, portfolio case in hand performing a U-turn just feet from the door. It’s not a fear of rejection, I’ve just always felt like an imposter, expecting at some point a gallery/fellow photographer/critic to pose the question ‘what on earth do you think you’re doing’ with regard to the images I take. For me the satisfaction in gallery ownership comes from producing a print that expresses my emotional response to the natural world and allows the viewer to connect in the same way. And since 99% of my customers haven’t heard of me before they enter the gallery it’s all about the photograph and very little to do with art world ‘collectibility’.

From Beinn Maol Challuim.

Anyway, I digress;

My project, which has suffered yet another time set back due to the extreme weather and some family related issues is all about my relationship with nature and mountains in a place that still feels like home. An area that continues to provide great comfort and healing and just a few regrets and painful memories.

Fraochaidh

I need your help in prompting me to go as often as I can. There always seem to be reasons not to go, to postpone a week, to wait to make sure everything is settled at home and at the gallery first. But the reality is that they never will be and I need to stop worrying, to expand my comfort zone once again and to start living the life I hoped for when I became a full time landscape photographer back in 2004. Many of us feel this fear of failure but I have discovered that it’s the fear itself that can make this a reality. There are so many quotations out there on this subject to inspire us to move forwards. This one perhaps struck a chord with me more than others as I’ve never felt ready ( I have even declined two invitations to exhibit at a certain Yorkshire photographers’ gallery because I didn’t feel that I had the images yet).

Upper Loch Etive


“You need to start long before you feel ready. – If you wait until you feel 100% ready, you will be waiting the rest of your life. Realise this! Some people wait all day for 5pm, all week for Friday, all year for the holidays, all their lives for happiness. Don’t be one of them”

and


”We waste our lives waiting for ideal paths to appear in front of us. But they never do. Because we forget that paths are made by walking, not waiting.”

One decision I have made since deciding to reignite this project is not to set too rigid a finishing date. Firstly I have no commercial pressures, no publisher, sponsor or organisation waiting for the results. Secondly and most importantly I really want to enjoy the journey as much, if not more than the result.

Buachaille Etive Mor.


Highlands Icon
Mull. A view just feet from the A828.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *