Self Promotion and the Lack of Shame
We recently took a trip to India. It was supposed to just be a vacation but ended up being a photojournalistic trip. I reconnected with my love of taking still photos which goes back a long ways.
Upon arriving at home, several people told me I should make a book of the photos. They told me they were amazing pictures that captured humanity. I thought maybe they were right yet something in me whispered “yeah, they are ok, but don’t kid yourself, they are just ok.” Each time I went back thru the pictures I began to doubt my inner doubt. “Damn, I took some pretty decent photos.” Which should not be a huge surprise, I make my living doing video/film production, but I consider myself a craftsman. By that I mean I see my job more like a carpenter, I build things. I take pride in them, but it is not really art.
Well to hell with that. I decided to make a photobook and to gauge how many people would want it I did a kickstarter. I could self fund it, but wise counsel urged me to go the crowdsourcing route. This way someone else would help promote and sell the project.
I found that writing self promotion was difficult. I was raise to be humble (don’t laugh). To write things like “amazing photos capturing the essence of the human condition that will touch your soul” felt like bragging. This got me to thinking about all the ways I try promote my business. I love facebook, it is a great way to connect with a huge group of friends. It is also a great way to promote yourself and your projects. It is also a way to come off as “LOOK AT ME! I AM WONDERFUL!”
It was not until my friend Becky shared the kickstarter and said “So this crazy guy I grew up with and his amazing artist wife went to India this winter for two weeks. While he was there he took the most beautiful pictures of the people he met. We are talking soul exposing pictures of some of the most beautiful people you have ever seen. Then he added his raw honest commentary to each photo in a way only Scott Jolley could do. All of his heart and effort are being published into a book this summer. Check it out,and if you are as moved as I am, order one on his kickstarter campaign.”
I read this and felt awesome and weird at the same time. Was she really talking about me? Could I accept this?
Perhaps the “I am wonderful” part is not so bad. I feel we should embrace our good and bad. Perhaps we are all wonderful if we allow it. That said, I struggle with the concept.
My trip to India and the experience of the photos woke me back up. Often, I would not realize I had captured something awesome in a photo. It was not till I got home and really started to study them that I saw the real beauty in them. I allowed myself to see the real beauty in them and that I had taken them.
Anyway, If you would like to see them, they are free to view online. If you love them like I do, feel free to buy one.