Sharing Your Work

Blog Author Richard Newman

Do you share your work? It’s a really great way to learn how to become a better photographer. There are risks, but where there are risks, there are also rewards.

When you take a picture, you never know who will see it. I was profoundly affected by 9-11, as was every American. Five weeks after the attack, I was in New York City. The City was different, more than any time I had ever been there before and I started going in 1978. The streets were almost quiet, you could get a cab anywhere, and the visual impact of the posters of the lost and missing were everywhere. I was walking through Penn Station, just taking photos of the pictures on the walls.

In some way I felt a connection between the faces, the grief of those who had put them there. I was only looking at how the signs were organized in patterns because looking at the pictures and reading the messages was too overwhelming. I made a lot of exposures and chose one of the group for my portfolio.

Several years later I was showing my work to a large room of people in Las Vegas at a trade show. When I shared the photo from Penn Station, I heard someone in the room gasp. I thought, ”geez, I didn’t think my work was that bad”, and continued to show the rest of the images while commenting on them. After the presentation, a person came up to me, crying and very upset. I waited and watched as they approached. It turned out that the image I had shown from Penn Station featured a relative who had been lost. You never know who will see your work and be affected. I made sure to collect their contact info and promptly sent them a print when I returned home. You just never know . . .

Before I left for that trip, I had taken my 8x10 camera to photograph our Pacific Grove fire station and also the Chief. The “A” shift and the 3rd shift had signed a print, which I took with me to New York City. I presented it to a station near the attack. I offer a photo of myself and the Fireman that I gave it to that day as proof of good will that can be shared through photography and how much people can appreciate it.

So, how do you share your work? Bring friends over, open the wine or tequila, show them your work and take a risk. In the 50’s everybody showed Super 8 movies. Get a group together! I had a photo group called f1.0. The mission was to get together, drink a lot and take pictures of each other, which is about all I can fathom that the famous f64 group did. Find a way to share your work, take risks and reap the rewards.

I’d like to share a picture of photographer Bill Wright, feeding a goat a beer at 8:00am in the Big Bend. It makes me smile everyday when I look at it. Thanks Bill!

Now, share your work and email me about it (!

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