Performance Anxiety

In recent months, friends, and even strangers, have wondered why I’m not displaying or entering my photography into contests. It’s a odd place for me. I’m not trained or educated in this creative field. It is not as innate to my being as is creative writing. This is art, but also a discipline, and has proven far more difficult for me than I had anticipated. Anyone who knows me well will surely tell you I am my greatest enemy, a constant questioner in my creative abilities, and I maintain a perpetual fear of both failing and succeeding. So, since February, I’ve delved into photography, and eight months later, still have the sense of novice about me. A limited portfolio can be viewed at Prisca Photography.

During my travels last week, I received an e-mail in regards to participating in a one night show at Mellow Mushroom, RAW: A Night of Visual Debauchery. Without much thought, I agreed. But then soon found myself greatly concerned because I knew the photos I’ve taken are predominately not fleshed out photo series. The possible exception is Earth, but that series is so dear to me, it is not meant for a one night show, a show where 14 other artists’ works will be on display along with my photographs. Which left only one semi-pursued series I’ve dabbled in: Thinking Out of Focus. And instantly my head fell into my hands, curses coming from my lips, and there I was in Texas where I could do little to work on it. Without thinking, I had agreed to what will be my first show and only having one photograph I would consider putting on display. With my return, I had under four days to figure something out and drop off the photos by technically…fourteen hours from right now as I write this blog entry. Stupid girl.

Along with this, I had scheduled three more Earth shoots this week, had a Presidential debate that couldn’t be missed, a surplus of editing that has yet to be touched (and still hasn’t been), and of course, my full time job that consumes so many hours of my life. Wednesday after work, I’m waiting at Cannon Park for the first Earth shoot of the week, but luckily they don’t show up. And with about an hour’s worth of daylight left, I hop in the car, find parking on Wentworth, and just start walking. I’m looking for vibrant hues, shadows, layers of textures, anything that catches my eye and shuttering away. This would be the only day I could really shoot before the weekend; so, I was half panicking around downtown streets. As daylight dwindled, I sat in my car sighing and refraining to give into the urge to beat my head against the wheel. Please, let there be something in these 50 frames. Let me not make a complete fool of myself the first time around.

I got lucky…so very lucky. And now I can breathe. These images made me think I must work half decently under pressure. I decided not to post any of the new photographs online, not to let but one soul see them before this Wednesday. Because I knew she’d either find some to be grand like I or tell me I better spend most of Saturday shooting away. In the early afternoon today, I met her at a cafe, and we picked the five images that will be displayed. That left me with the tasks of finding frames, printing, and matting.

With limited time, I went to Goodwill and snagged some unused frames that I intended to add a personal touch to. But soon, the afternoon was fading away, and I finally determined to buy simple frames from a crafts store and pre-cut matting. Next was finding the right photo paper, but most places carry glossy only. So, several stops later, I finally find luster and matte versions. Next, I needed a color calibration tool for my monitor and new printer. I’ve had difficulties the one time I used it getting colors and brightness to match, and with little time and few printing shops open I could trust, figured it’d be best to print the images myself. Odd enough, after 3 stops, no one knew of the devices I was talking about even though I know they exist. Having not eaten all day, I decided to grab dinner and arrived home at around 7. It took over three hours to print five images that I was satisfied with. 5 images out of the 30+ I printed. What was on display in Photoshop CS3 had to be manipulated to a horridly bright, color shifting site in order to print an image close to the original. I was beyond irked.

After researching on the internet, I found that Photoshop has only done so much to fix color calibration problems with mainstream printing devices such as Cannon, HP, and Epson, the latter of which is the brand I own. Minimal printing problems occur for MAC users because Photoshop revolved most of its creation in general around Apple based devices, leaving PC users a little left out in the cold. For Epson in particular, it is a non-postscript printer, meaning certain image alterations won’t register when printing. It’s like CS3 and Epson speak two different languages though each is producing an image for me. Epson has developed a RIP software that they sell to wipe their codex and replace it with postscript or at least be compatible with it, except they haven’t created a new enough version to go with my printer. And Adobe hasn’t developed a plugin to solve the problem. Epson blames Adobe, and Adobe blames Epson. Each claims it is the other company’s responsibility to repair these problems, but also conveniently doesn’t vocalize this printing problem with consumers. Bottom line, I’ll have to fiddle with any image I want printed for however long it takes to produce a decent print.

I’m sorry, but I didn’t spend hundreds of dollars for CS3, and hundreds of dollars for a printer not to be able to print photographs!!! CS3 is a photo editing software, and what purpose would it be for if not to eventually PRINT those photos?! So why not work with mainstream printing companies to make sure your software is compatible to theirs!? UGH. It’s to the point that I’d rather just sell this printer and have my images printed professionally with already calibrated devices. I’m disgusted, irritated, and obviously outraged enough to have a blog tangent about it. But it seriously is showing to be a waste of time and effort when I could just drop it off and comeback to well printed photographs.

Anyway, back to the original topic I was discussing…

This is my first show, a one night stand so-to-speak, but still a show. So, I’m greatly nervous, unsure, elated, hopeful, panicked, tired, and likely will be in need of several drinks come Wednesday at Mellow Mushroom. But, for those that can come, do so, 15 local artists and their works sounds like great stimulation for the eyes and creative mind, and it’ll help raise money for Redux.

This entry was published on October 19, 2008 at 5:39 am. It’s filed under Art, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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