At the crossroads…

I noticed this morning that I seem to feel a need to write mainly when I am feeling ‘dark’ so I would like to apologize to all of you who follow this blog. Be assured that it only reflects a small part of who I am – but hopefully more of that on a brighter day πŸ˜‰ . I will also continue to share my journey with you – but also not today.

Today is not a bright day. Through the windows I can see a grey and wet morning and I hear the wind howling which I usually quite like but today it only seems to enhance the sadness I feel inside.
I wanted to stay in bed, hiding not only from the world and reality but also from my dreams and hopes and maybe I would have if I had not been pushed out of bed by 3 cold and wet dog noses. Thank you, Darwin, Rajka and Arawn πŸ˜‰

Today is one of those days where I wonder if self-doubt is not simply an excuse to ignore reality.
Over the last few weeks I had to face reality as my husband is starting his own business and I do all the finances, controlling and accounting (back to the roots of my ‘real’ education). So I also had to look at the reality of my own little company and sparing you the details I just want to say that it is not rosy. That is when the self-doubt tried to distract me again…’oh, my work isn’t good enough’…ah, that is just self-doubt so let’s continue as before…but wait!

What if this is reality? What if I will simply never be able to cover my basic cost, not even talking about being able to make at least a tiny living from my art? What if there are simply not enough people who would like to buy any of my books or prints or start a mentoring program? Just looking at prints as an example, as I have offered them since I started the business – I had exactly 2 customers who bought prints.
Of course I feel incredibly happy and am so thankful to anyone who did buy a print or a book (some even got both books πŸ™‚ ) or started the mentoring program – you guys are wonderful! I am also still amazed by all the opportunities I got to share my ideas and work in interviews or articles – thank you from the bottom of my heart! Just inΒ case you were wondering, none of my interviews or articles would have happened if I had not been contacted – so an extra big thank you to those who saw something in my work and gave me a chance.

What is also a fact is that I love my work, I love every image, every poem, every book. Some are better than others which is normal as we are all learning and improving constantly, but they are all mine. I love creating and could not imagine my life without it.

Now I feel I have reached a crossroads and suddenly the path ahead is not clear anymore. There is of course good advice everywhere…’you need to get better at marketing’, ‘maybe you should do portraits’, ‘have you thought about finding a gallery’, ‘how about stock photography’ – and I have given the same advice to myself and others and theoretically it is all correct.
I can also hear my coaching self telling me that if I really wanted to I would do all of that – and if I don’t do these things it would seem that I don’t want it enough. But maybe that is where the real problem is – what is this ‘it’? What is it that I really want? Our society and especially the business world favours the extroverts, the people who like to be out there, who have no or at least fewer problems promoting themselves and their work – and don’t get me wrong, I admire ‘you’ but I will never be one of ‘you’ and that is also a fact as it would mean to change who I am.

So who am I and what do I really want? The answer is, I don’t know – not today at least…but maybe tomorrow…

16 Comments

  1. John on September 21, 2018 at 16:17

    I love that you are not afraid to share your thoughts and feelings through your blog…happy or reflective.
    I admire any artist who can do this and share these feelings with others through their art , words or both.
    Great to see another blog from you Isabel πŸ™‚

    • Isabel on September 23, 2018 at 08:33

      Writing and sharing my thoughts and feelings like this helps me to clear my mind and to find focus again. When I am able to write things down it often feels as if a curtain is lifting… So thank you so very much for your support, John – it really means so much to me!

  2. Nigel on September 22, 2018 at 09:52

    Thank you for sharing this, so well written and resonates with what I feel every day – not as a photographer, although maybe there as well, but in my chosen career which bizarrely is one where self confidence and self promotion play a bit part.

    • Isabel on September 23, 2018 at 08:29

      Thank you for reading it and taking the time to reply, Nigel I think it is sad that we feel the need or maybe even feel forced to play a role every day just so we don’t get pushed aside. I wonder if self promotion has always been so important or if that is a specific issue in our modern times…would be i teresting to know. When we met in Nottingham I got the feeling that you were what I would call a ‘quietly confident person’ at least with regards to your photography and that you should be remembering the beautiful images you had at the exhibition.

  3. Stephen Charlton on September 22, 2018 at 14:24

    Hello Isabel

    As you know I love your work
    If I have any reaction
    It is to share more of your images, more of your work, your way of seeing the world.
    And perhaps it is more your vision, your projection that is more important than the process.
    anyway I wish you only joy
    and a wonderful weekend

    Stephen

    • Isabel on September 23, 2018 at 08:12

      Dear Stephen – thank you so very much! You have a very good point about the sharing of (more) work. I had been thinking about this a while ago when I set up my new website… What kept me from putting up more work were the recommmendations I got from many of my mentors NOT to share too much work on ones website and to keep the portfolio small and consistent. I had started to wonder if that made sense for me or if I should give people both options, meaning those who just want to get a brief overview just stay at the top-level (just the titel images or the slide-show) and those who want more can then access all the individual albums/stories or maybe have an archive area. I think I will have a look at that again πŸ™‚

  4. Stephen Charlton on September 22, 2018 at 15:27

    So please put as much as you can in the “portfolio”

    and
    take care of you

  5. Stephen Charlton on September 22, 2018 at 19:02

    Trust in yourself
    always

    • Isabel on September 23, 2018 at 08:15

      I promise to never create work I don’t love and to try and trust in myself as an artist…trusting in myself as a business owner seems to be quite a different topic though πŸ˜‰

  6. Stephen Charlton on September 22, 2018 at 19:39

    Why is “dream walking ” no longer available … it is wonderful

    if you make it
    I will buy it

    • Isabel on September 23, 2018 at 08:19

      Thank you! Long story… but I am working on a new book which I hope you might enjoy as well. It will be a mix of images and words again and this time probably combined with one or more small paintings and/or darkroom prints. The concept is taking shape… πŸ™‚

  7. luca rovere on September 27, 2018 at 07:43

    Hi isabel
    No doubt of your work, it’s art, someono like it, someone not. That’s all. I like it
    If you’re an artist, you do what you like, money isn’t important, but if you want to sell a good (if you have a business your pictures became goods) you have to do what people like, needs or thinks to need. maybe coloured flowers, or oversatured lanscapes, or some picture they can use a save screen on their smarphone.
    puah!
    You speak about your dreams, but people want to read something about their dreams, the last camera with bilions of megapixel or the wanderfull super tele macro lens….
    Yes you are on a crossroad: artis or business woman? Both i hope.
    Difficult, but not impossible. And not so dirty: if you have a talent(and you have) you can hep people less talented. May be dreaming.
    My english is poor but i stay with you. Bye

    • Isabel on September 27, 2018 at 10:15

      Dear Luca, thank you so much for taking the time to write to me. There is something in your words that made me realise that first of all I want to create and with my art I want to make people happy, want to give them room for their deams, feelings and thoughts.
      I have to admit that if I could afford it I would not sell any of my work but give it away to those who love it…but in reality this is not possible as creating costs money and so does even simple living. So unless I find a rich patreon πŸ˜€ – just kidding – I have to find a way to somehow combine art and business. It will most likely involve having less time for my art but that will still be better than sacrificing it to the business…more soon once my mind has cleared completely and I know which path to take. Until then…I am very happy that you will stay with me (and your English is very understandable πŸ™‚ ) Let’s dream! Isabel

  8. Melita on September 29, 2018 at 18:58

    I wanted to reach out and let you know, Isabel, that you are not alone in this journey. I felt as if I were looking in a mirror reading your beautiful and heartfelt blog. Ironically I am at that same crossroad. For a long while now I have enjoyed my photography. Nothing makes my heart sing more with joy, than when I am out in nature capturing her moods and seasonal change, the freedom to express through composing an image or noticing the light and shadow. Yet, I had never really identified how I am perceived to the wider business audience until a recent conversation with a photographic committee member, who highlighted to me, that my work isn’t deemed commercial enough, but is more fine art. It was admired and appreciated, yet it still echoed the creative flair, the artist shining through in the image. I guess the question/s to ourselves, Are we artists creating fine art? ( I think we are) Could we switch that part of ourselves off to shoot in a more commercial, conventional way? Or do we continue to channel this gift, this talent and define our own style through Gallery representation, mixing our words and images to touch others hearts and minds. Sending out much love. Melita X

    • Isabel on October 2, 2018 at 06:42

      Dear Melita,
      thank you so much for sharing this with me. It really helps to know that I am not alone in this.
      I am taking some offline time at the moment to reflect on my vision and plans for the future, being online is too distracting πŸ˜‰
      Funny enough, I never thought about your work as anything else but fine art. You express so beautifully and it feels very personal so I have to agree with that committee member. I wish you all the best with your journey. This is one of those moments where I wish we would live closer together and could just sit down with a cupppa and talk…I bet we could do that for ages πŸ˜‰ Sending a BIG HUG! Isabel

  9. Melita on October 2, 2018 at 17:16

    Ah, that would be a wonderful thing indeed, I think the stars and moon would come out as we’d be so happy in our conversation that we wouldn’t notice the time. Enjoy having a digital break, I did this over the summer and now that I am back amongst it, I feel heavy and weighted. As always sending out creative love and virtual hugs X

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