Saturday, November 21, 2009

best intentions

I was at the grocery store today and I heard a little squeal and this woman asked about my earrings as she'd just made some earrings that were meant to be hamburgers and she thought mine looked like food and she's absolutely not the first person to tell me that about this particular pair of earrings. Her companion agreed, and at least two other people have independently told me that my earrings look like food.

They don't look anything like food to me. I generally don't attempt novelty jewelry creations unless it's for a kid or something, so I was/am sort of thrown off that what I thought was an interesting configuration of shapes looks like food to others. It wasn't meant to be anything in particular!

Nobody who has commented on their foodly appearance has disliked them. So I guess insofar as jewelry/art/etc. is meant to please people, they have done their job. But they're sending a message, and one that I didn't intend, and that's ... disconcerting is too strong of a word. But some milder form of disconcerting might fit.

This interaction today brought me back to a notion that cycles around in my head not infrequently. Of the photos I've taken -- and made public in some form or another -- those that I love the very best, those that turned out just as I'd hoped or even better, those that I think are exactly what I meant to "say", most don't seem to resonate strongly with anybody but me.

I want to be clear that this isn't a "please admire my photos" fishing expedition -- I have come to accept that some people really like some of my photos. But insofar as anything of mine is "popular"*, those photos aren't generally ones that I feel particularly reflect my style.

This one at the top of the page here? For sure in my personal top 10 of work that I think says "Hilary". I spent more than a little bit figuring out this composition, and I got it just as I wanted it and this is the photo I meant to take.

A few months ago a friend was looking through my photos and came across this one and said something about how this photo was frustrating because he wanted to see the whole sign and there was this stuff in the way and what I should have done was just take a picture of the whole sign.

This friend never says things just to be nice, and gives useful feedback that I don't get from a lot of other people, so it was interesting to hear that perspective**. It didn't hurt my feelings, because I know I got what I wanted and did what I intended to do.

It makes me wonder about others' work; if that's a common experience -- your personal favorites of your own work never really matching up with what others tend to be drawn to. Would love to hear thoughts on this (and see your personal favorites!)

* as measured by Flickr favorites or purchases of prints, as I don't have much else to go on
** although I'm not sure if it was especially useful, as we don't share much of an aesthetic -- I'm more Lou Reed than Lionel Richie, for example

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