It happened in an instant. It happened with such force that I was completely blind-sided. Words cannot convey the level of emotion that pummeled me. I was LABELED and will be forever grateful.
I have been working on a HUGE project over the last year and if you like, you can read more about that HERE. This project was an unrealized dream that in hindsight has moved me forward so creatively I often stop to pinch myself to make sure it is real.
About a year ago, I was selected to exhibit my photography at our local art gallery as part of a small group of featured artists for the entire month of August 2018. Along with myself, there are two other artists chosen to exhibit who create in different mediums. One works magic with wood and the other with calligraphy and illustrations.
Because we were chosen about a year ago, we were given plenty of time to refine our collections, develop artists statements, and prepare mentally to "show our work" to the live public. It just seems like yesterday when I received the email letting me know I was chosen after submitting examples of my photography for their jury review and artist selection.
This past year has flown by with a flurry of activity ranging from fresh photo shoot ideas, determining the best fine art paper for printing the images, to the framing design. As I chose to do all of the planning, creating, and work myself, minutes turned into days, days turned into weeks, which turned into months, which has brought me to now...all in the blink of an eye.
Just last weekend I put the final touches on the framed prints, printed and signed the certificates of authenticity, and ordered the individual prints and show kits for the exhibit. I had 90% of my creative work completed.
I wrote and rewrote my artist statement (which if you haven't tried writing one for yourself, it is much harder than it sounds), gave my exhibit a title for the theme, took a breath to look at the collection in it's entirety and was very happy with what I saw.
The exhibit collection was ready.....
Then came the email in which I was LABELED.
The email came early last week from the gallery representatives and they provided information for us to submit pictures of our exhibit pieces for a press release, photos for marketing collateral, and our artist statement and bio. They also shared dates on when to bring in our art for set up/display AND the date of our artist reception. My heart really started pounding at the reality of all and I quickly discovered I had a bit more work to do.
As I neared the bottom of the email, I noticed they had listed all three of the featured artist names and the type of work we would be showing...... and this is what I saw...
Joan Marie - Culinary Photography
There it was.....right in front of my eyes....a label for my creative work!!!! A description of my niche!!! My focus! My Passion!....from a set of "outsider eyes". From folks who viewed and curated art on a daily basis...
Yes "CULINARY"....It was perfect
Let me explain....
If you have followed my blog for awhile, you will recall the many many types of creative projects I have undertaken. From creating a "farmhouse kitchen" photo shoot set, to building a harvest table top, photographing homemade dinner rolls, and my vintage kitchen tool and bakeware collecting for props.
All this time I wished I could've stated my "niche". I wanted to confidently share my title of photographic style. My "specialty" if you will...and try as I might, nothing seemed to fit.
I didn't consider myself to be a "food photographer" as those folks love to cook and create recipes all the while shooting their delicious creations....I tried that and since I don't enjoy cooking that was a no-go. I didn't want to focus on interiors and decorating as that was not my forte either. I tried flower photography and that didn't work as I envisioned.....I kept experimenting and practicing and just couldn't answer the question...
"What type of photography do you do Joan?"
Additionally I knew what I absolutely DID NOT enjoy and that was landscape/nature photography and taking lifestyle or portrait images.
So as I continually looked over my entire collection of still life images, I searched for a trend, a pattern, or even a suggestion as to where my focus was with photography....it eluded me. Onward I forged constantly seeking the answer to my photography style type....
BUT...with one email "label"....it all changed.
When I saw my name and what the gallery determined as the focus of my body of work I would be exhibiting, I was floored as there was the answer....I ran to the thesaurus and dictionary....
of, relating to, or used in cooking or the kitchen.
YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! YES!!!
My love of photographing fruits, vegetables, muffins, cakes, crusty loaves of bread and vintage kitchen props. My love of farmhouse kitchens, aprons, green wood handled kitchen utensils, old rusty scales, slabs of old wood for backdrops, linens, tin cookie cutters, old bread pans and cookie sheets, and farmer's market fare. Old worn cutting boards, mason jars with zinc lids, and spools of kitchen twine. These are the things I love to create images with.
So with one email, containing one label of me and my work, my style found a name.
Now when someone asks me "What type of photography do you do Joan?"....I can proudly and confidently reply...
I am a CULINARY PHOTOGRAPHER who LOVES photographing all things "of, relating to, or used in cooking or the kitchen.
.....and let me tell you....it feels good.
As I near the preparation finish line for this exhibit, I will be sharing images of the final framed pieces, the crazy wonderful awesome piece I found for displaying my show kit matted prints, how I designed the certificates of authenticity, a unique frame "backing" idea, and how I came up with a theme and title for my showing.
AHHHH....the life of a Culinary Photographer (wink)
Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for visiting!