It's a funny thing: I set up to write the tutorial about how failure is good for you and yet it was still unpleasant to add the screenshot above for all the world to see:)

Ok, let's start. When I just started my photography practice in Moscow I went to a masterclass of a very successful photographer and closer to the end of the talk he asked us this: for all the requests you make, what percentage of rejections do you get. Some of us were proud to report they encounter almost no rejections and he said quite obvious and yet unexpected thing: "you don't ask for enough".

Imagine a young photographer who maybe asks to be exhibited in a local library or (real example suggested in a book I read) prints his/her work and hangs them at home and then arranges a party for his friends to show the work out. Imagine only collaborating with models you already worked with, because they will not reject your offer, only doing what you know they will find pretty, basking in respect and glory from 5 models and 3 friends from you party and feeling all comfortable and...never growing.

Now imagine you are a young photographer and you come to the museum to demand exhibition and they laugh at you. And then you write to Vogue asking to publish your photos and they never answer and you call super experienced models and they give you an hourly price you can't afford (no TFP at this time dear). Again, you won't grow.

So how many rejections are optimal? I would say 50%-90%, depending on your personality. If you will cry yourself to sleep after each rejection, make it one for one - get rejected and then ask something easy to get approval. If you have thick skin, maybe make it 9 for 1, but remember, there is still such thing as too early. If you approach a gallery for example with half backed client's work you will spoil the first impression and it will be harder to reproach them when you will have some fine art on your hands. But maybe you will turn it to your advantage and demonstrate how fast you grow.

So let's start our failure series. During it I will be very transparent about my rejection history, so you might as well see what I had accomplished for now: https://alionakuznetsova.com/about/

  • Next week we will talk about personal, creative and business circles when it comes to communication and how to be open and creative in one circle, but competitive and confident in another
  • Then we will talk about how to distance your persona from your work that is being critiqued and about project approach (add a bit of a researcher mode to the mix)
  • Then we will talk about handling rejections, both internally and communication-wise
  • Then we will discuss how to regain confidence after mistake or especially hard rejection
  • And finally we will wrap up talking about vanity galleries, agencies and magazines

And then as a bonus we will answer a question I got about how to stay inspired - it doesn't belong in this tutorial, but I thought it might lighten the mood a bit:)

See you in a week guys, and if you would like to add something to this mix, send your suggestion to aliona.kuz@gmail.com (and maybe have it rejected, haha, just kidding)