All for the love not the dough

3rd April 2016

It’s brutal how rejection becomes a part of my job that I have to learn to not just accept but also defeat. Photography is personal. Anything that embodies your soul and passion can at times leave you vulnerable. I embrace constructive criticism and actively seek it.

However sometimes rejection is hard. It is a part of me, I cannot escape it. My photography is divided. My personal work is self-initiated, boundless and can be kept secret. Commissioned work is on full display even if I am ashamed of the results. I’ve learnt to accept this and focus simply on enjoying the creating and working hard to do my best. When pitching for commercial jobs there is often weeks of conference calls, emails and an emotional rollercoaster can tease even an occupied mind. This week I was on the brink of obtaining a job I really had my heart set on. It was a great shoot and paid well, meaning another Romanian adventure could be a possibility. The usual back and forth ensued until the blow of rejection winded me. It’s not often I get down about losing out on a job but this one was a bit of a disappointment. Rosie and I furiously ploughed through our tasks of the day, my email pinged – my mood sunk. I decided to do the only thing I knew would help. I announced we were off for a stroll and grabbed my camera bag. The fresh air hit my lungs like a cold shower and the silky hand of the sun on my cheeks instantly cheered me up. We strolled calmly down to the canal and headed for the open fields.

As I set up my large format and nestled under my hood to see the screen I felt whole again. I love the fun of escaping into the darkness. It reminds me of pulling a duvet over my head to ignore the call of reality. The excited and curious child in me rose and the feeling of disappointment shifted into perspective. I grabbed the polaroid as even when my Hasselblad decided to jam, my mind focussed on the positives and let go of any drama; disallowing anything to destruct the serenity. I peeled back the Polaroid, crouched over the pile of various cameras and smiled with satisfaction. “Hey, it looks good.” I said with a grin Rosie beamed at me. “Fuck the money Laura, that’s what it’s about.” For a youngster her wise words were perfect timing. She was right, I knew she was, and hearing it was a lovely echo. I knew I’d look back on the image with disappointment, judgement and frustration at its inadequacy. Shunning it into the pile of rejection. But what mattered, what triumphed over everything, was how happy and whole I felt creating it. Being out there, in the elements, with silence, time and space to do what I love. I’m aware that this week has hijacked my usual Thursday post so Ill place another image here for my incompetence.

This next image is another from the BBC shoot. I’ve included it as looking through recent work, this shoot still reminds me how I need to simply drag Gem Fletcher out again for a summer adventure. As the days offer more light I feel excited about taking another stroll soon. OAO x