From time to time I have submitted my work to galleries. The first time was crushing. I gathered up twenty of my very best shots and brought them in. These showed the width and breath of my ability. I spread them out and the curator walk over and hard looked at them, she turned to me as said, “I am not interested in you best work!” I was shocked but I learned. Artists are judged on the body of their work. Photographers are judged on there last images.
Now this gets me to the subject I want to talk about. A few night ago I attended a show and talk by Nancy Rose. Who is Nancy you may ask. She is the Squirrel Lady. As she did her talk in Bridgwater she was featured on national television. Now let me back up, I have been following Nancy for a very long time’ Long before she was the Squirrel lady. She is an excellent photographer that can handle just about any situation. Along the way she started to photograph squirrels that came to her backyard feeder. Squirrels are easy to photograph as the are not afraid of human, and in cities, they get much of there food from us. Then Nancy got the bright idea to add props on her deck. This is how the Squirrel Lady was born. She has the most wonderful body of Squirrel photographs, each one is as cute as cute can be. So now you are thinking what value is there in taking cute pictures of squirrels? She has gained international fame for her work, she makes money selling stock and she is having fun. Think of it, the news is on the tele, you have been bombarded with stories of bombing, murder, rape and all sort sorts of tragic event and at the end they show one of Nancy’s images and you are left with a smile on your face. That is the worth!
So what does all this mean to the average photographer. Nancy’s work was only seen by a very small group of people when she was working so hard taking all sorts of wonderful pictures. When she specialized she became noticed.
The world is saying, “I am not interested in you best work only your best ideas!” So if you want to be a great photographer show your best images, if you want to be a great artist show your best work.
Specializing may not make you famous but it will make you special.