Somewhere, I read that New Mexico is like one big artists’ colony. There are a great many artists of all stripes and abilities here. Classes, workshops and other instruction are readily available. As well as opportunities to exhibit your works. A vibrant market for art supports those who have enough skill, and they are many. Last week, I attended one example of the many opportunities to experience art. I went to the New Mexico Art Photography Exhibit at the state fairgrounds.
I was happy that only a few people were at the exhibit hall when I went it. Few people meant that I could study the pictures in peace. I was greeted at the door by a friendly fellow who told me all about the exhibit and gave me a card to fill out and a brochure with the exhibitors names. I was to select my favorite photo for the people’s choice award. Later, I found out that this man was one of the most famous of the local photographers and an able teacher of photography. Here he was greeting people and handing out exhibit information.
I walked into the main room which was, of course, belted with a rows of photographs of all sizes. As I looked at each picture, it became apparent that all the photographers were enormously skilled. Some of the photos in this room had purple “Best of Category” ribbons attached. I’m not sure what the categories were for the ribbons didn’t say, nor did the cards with the photographer’s name on them.
Making my way through the six rooms of photos, I wondered, over and over, how they choose the best? Certainly, there were some that I liked a better than others, but I don’t know if that was because they appealed to some personal aesthetic or if they were of a better quality.
When I went into one of the rooms, the fellow who had greeted me was giving a critic of a landscape to a woman who was obviously the photographer. She drank in every word as I listened to their exchange. The points he was making were infinitesimal tweaks of her work. But then, that’s the difference between good and great.
I made two circuits of the trying to select the one photo that I liked best. I got it narrowed down to about ten or so, but came no closer to selecting a favorite. I put the blank ballot on the table and picked up a membership form for the local photographers club. I had gone for inspiration. I came away, not daunted, but certainly with a greater sense of how very much I have to learn.