I don’t often submit images for competitions or publication. In part because I’m busy with day to day work. But also because I don’t feel that I’ve hit my pinnacle yet. I’m my own worst critic but that’s ok with me – because being critical of my own work only pushes me further, to be better and better, every time single time I pick up my camera to shoot. I want to be the ultimate judge – deciding when I’ve reached my definition of mastery.
But then, once in a while, I will submit. I was so proud when after overriding terrible fears and talking myself into it for weeks, I finally submitted and was chosen for publication in the international BW fine art magazine NUDE. It was especially rewarding because it was for a personal project that had been simmering for a couple of years, one that was near and dear to my heart. And I was proud when a client referred me to a Newsday reporter which launched a piece on pinup work – my image on the cover of the Lifestyle section. Since then my work has appeared in other small publications, but usually, as with Newsday, because someone mentioned to someone else what I was doing. Not because I was out there pushing my wares. : )
Today however, I felt compelled to submit work to PDN magazine. They run international competitions throughout the year – but the theme of this one hit home for me. It’s called “One Life.” And the goal is to have photographers think about the story they tell through their work, the images they shoot.
As part of the submission, you have to provide your artist statement. Although I’ve taken several stabs at creating an artist’s statement, I’ve never really settled on one. The gist is always the same. And it always involves a fair amount of tweaking and rewriting and simmering down. But today, it just flowed. I realize my purpose is clear. It’s simple. And it empowers me to keep moving forward no matter what challenges come before me. And there have been plenty of challenges.
As a mom of three, there’s the never-ending balancing act. That’s a given. But on top of that – there are always new pressures and new challenges in this ultra-competitive field. Through it all, I just stay focused on my purpose and block out the noise. But then, there are the everyday challenges of running a business…..AND the everyday rewards.
Sitting with a client who tells me that she turns to my images when she’s feeling down and gets uplifted every time….well, that just makes all those challenges seem so insignificant that they melt away. Through it all, I see how all women – no matter what our backgrounds – share so much in common. Imagine the power we would hold if we saw past all our trivial differences to realize the vastly overwhelming world we share in common – “One Life”…a woman’s life.
That’s the space I live in. You see, I’m not arrogant. I don’t use a speakerphone to shout out to the world that I’m the best. I just focus on the amazing women (and families) who come through my door, who invite me into their worlds for a little while, and I do my best to bring a little joy into their lives.
That’s who I am.
(You can see my submission page for the One Life contest here: One Life – Susan Eckert)
Have a wonderful day!