Years ago, after countless times trying to get into the Utah Art Festival, I finally got accepted. This was back in the early 2000′s. I was ecstatic! The Utah Festival was suppose to be a really good show but super hard to get into. There are probably over 1,500 applicants easy and they only let so many from each media in. It’s funny how its’ name is the “Utah” art festival but it seems they had a prejudice to bring in out of state artist. You get no extra points or consideration if you are from Utah. What happened to locals first? You know, the ones who live here and pay taxes here? At any rate, I was way excited to display my work to see how the general public would react. I had a very successful show and sold many framed photographs.
They always hold a contest in each media at the show. There were probably about 10 photography booths or so. Right next to my booth was a photographer whose sole collection was that of naked women in a swimming pool that were photographed underwater with colored gels. Pretty creative, cutting edge (if you want to call it that) experimental, out there. You know, the type that art critics love but the public does not. The exact material the judges like to see. I think I submitted this one. Guess what? He took first place in the photography category but guess how many he sold? Well, the show lasted 4 days if I remember right, and I didn’t see a single person carry away any colorful naked woman photographs. Yes, he had bragging rights for winning first place but I doubt he made enough to cover his gas driving out here.
Dont get me wrong, I can appreciate his work, his creativeness. I’m just stating the fact that there seems to be a disconnect with the public eye and that of the “qualified, experienced, (dare I say) far left, avant-garde, art critic and judge. Some shows are more bias towards this than others, but the Utah Art Festival seems to definitely be up there in the top. So next time you apply to get into a show think about really getting funky, contemporary, off the wall, for at least some of your entries, then bring along some work the general public will actually like so you can buy yourself a nice four course meal at the end of your 4 day show you worked so hard to prepare for.
There is so much “normal” good stuff out there to photograph sometimes it’s hard for me to go beyond the obvious because it is so obviously gorgeous everywhere I go. I’m working on mixing the two, the abstract and the representational for lack of a better word. I’m a pretty straight photographer, I capture what I see. I’m on the look out for the design of nature, wether it be a grand vista or an intimate detail. Small intricacies make up the larger picture and I love them both. Telling a story may take an approach of both. Seeing the small helps you understand the large. I’m finding beauty that is already there, that exist for all to see if one will but venture out and open their eyes. I’m not really creating anything at all, I’m just capturing what mother nature has worked her whole life to achieve, and she’s really good and what she does!