I will keep today's post short, sweet and filled with the next round of the latest Animal Tales. You will notice the pig in cake is back with a new story.
Lately, I've begun to retire some of the Tales, but every once in a while one or two make their way back into the lineup with an update. Often when I shoot, I end up having to pick between several strong images and when I write there are alternate stories that I put on the back burner.
The pig in cake is one of my earliest Tales. When I retired it this year, I couldn't shake the feeling that it was still relevant to my life and this year in particular, but the story had changed for me.
A theme that runs through a lot of this year's tales is that we never succeed alone. Friends, family, community, and customers have all had such a huge influence on my life. I know I wouldn't be where I am without your feedback and support and I appreciate it.
When I first started out with the Animal Tales 4 years ago, I was still struggling to find my creative place. I felt compelled to keep doing the 'serious' photography that I had been trained to do.
In fact, my first craft show was Mayday! Underground when it was at the Armory in Rochester four or five years ago. Back then my booth was a crazy mess of ideas; I was trying to find balance with the internal struggle of what I thought I 'should' be doing vs. what I wanted to be doing.
It was a hard time for me creatively and personally. I had a strong idea, but it wasn't sensible based on what I'd learned in my fine arts education. I didn't know if it would resonate with anyone else, or if people would just laugh at me and my Animal Tales. I was intimidated by both you guys as customers and by other artists. Everyone was so talented and seemed to know what they were doing.
I was so terrified that I decided to play it safe and just show the Animal Tales images with no stories (they were more Animals and less Tales). I also had my traditional fine art photography with me: the florals, black and whites, and the NY apple series. There was a whole bunch of visual crazy going on in my booth. But the Animals were front and center because they brought me joy.
It turns out they brought a bunch of other people joy too, and people laughed. Not at me, but with me and the Animals. And slowly I began to become more confident. Whenever someone bought one I would shyly tell the story that went with the image.
Overhearing the stories people began to ask me about the other image's stories. Customers came back with their friends and asked me to retell the story that went with the Animals they had purchased. Somewhere along the way, I stopped being so shy.
That day more than one customer and artist said, "you need to put the stories on the images." You can see where that vote of confidence has led me. So thank you for listening, sharing laughs, and for sharing with me your stories of what the Animal Tales mean to you.
You really have changed my life.