I sold out
Two weeks ago I received the largest reprint order I've had in many years and I gleefully accepted even though the portrait was not what I consider completely successful. I needed the money but more importantly, four years ago I ruptured a disk in my back and I knew that this job was going to put me through the wringer. Well tonight I finished the printing and tomorrow I start the matting and framing. I'm going through Norco, like popcorn and it is truly a godsend. My husband is very supportive but can do very little to help me as he knows very little about the process and keeps saying "that's good enough. Nobody but you can see the difference." On the bright side, the commission is substantial enough to pay the taxes on the property and the home owners insurance and still have enough left over to replenish our savings which have been pretty decimated since the economic downturn. I guess I just want someone to tell me that it's okay to feel bad about taking money for something you feel you could have done better. Anybody else ever felt this same ambivalence? Thanks for answering.
P.S. The client just loves the portrait and I suppose that's what's important.
Last edited by archer; 02-25-2011 at 07:50 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: add a p.s. punctuation
Don't look at it as selling out.
Portraiture is highly subjective and invariably the sitter picks OUR last choice for the one they love.
I'm so glad work is coming your way.
I think all of us look at our own work and think that it could be better and I don't believe that we will ever be satisfied with what we turn out. So yes, take the money and continue to strive to make your work better.
John Lennon told George Martin, one year before he was murdered, that he wishes he could have re-recorded most Beatles songs, as he felt they could have been better. When asked about Strawberry Fields, for which Martin said he bled to make it a masterpiece, Lennon replied..."especially Strawberry Fields!"
Most artists are extremely critical of their own work and often disappointed by their efforts. Human nature, I guess. If your clients love your work, and you have done your best to give them what they wanted to make them happy, then you should feel good about your efforts and not guilty for proper compensation. It's always good to wanting to do better, but it sometimes takes a toll on ourselves and makes the creative process a lot harder.
Sometimes we are our own harshest critics, and rightfully so. That can often lead us to think an image is poor, not good enough etc, but others see our images from entirely different perspectives.
So I don't think you sold out, we all have to live. However if you had an exhibition of portraits and used that image then that'd be an entirely different issue.
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It simply means others think you are a success. A reprint order...A curtain call. Accept it, enjoy it for what it is and LIVE!
That's not selling out. Not at all.
Since it is a work for hire, the opinion of the one doing the hiring is the only opinion that matters, and from what you said they are quite pleased. Are you doing the best job you can with the printing and matting? Handling the contracted work in a professional manner? Then there is nothing left to beat yourself up about (even though a good beating could be an excuse for more Norco! )
Thank your customer and cash the check!
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"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive" - Howard Thurman
We are always our own worst critics. If the client loves the portrait and wants to bless you with a rather hefty stipend in appreciation, and in exchange for reprints, who are you to say no to it. I sympathize with your pain. I have two ruptured dicks in my lumbar and five cervical discs that are totally collapsed. I am possibly having surgery on my neck(disc fusion)to alleviate the pain. My pain mediation plan is a tad more aggresive than yours(morphine). Congrats on the bonus round and now, 'tis time to relax and enjoy life a little(as soon as the work is delivered).
What is a master but a master student? And if that's true, then there's a responsibility on you to keep getting better and to explore avenues of your profession.
I have a shot which I abhor, I think it is just wrong in the composition and balance. Won 2nd place at a photo show a couple of years ago after my mom entered it on my behalf but I still hate it.
The sad truth for artists (and hardest to swallow) is you are hired for your skill but not your opinion. Take the money and do what you need to do and love.
Once a photographer is convinced that the camera can lie and that, strictly speaking, the vast majority of photographs are "camera lies," inasmuch as they tell only part of a story or tell it in a distorted form, half the battle is won. Once he has conceded that photography is not a "naturalistic" medium of rendition and that striving for "naturalism" in a photograph is futile, he can turn his attention to using a camera to make more effective pictures.