Throughout the course of the art fair season, I’ll have many kids come into my booth, some with parents, some with grandparents, and some with their friends. Although the little ones show interest, the kids most interested in the photography range in age from 5th grade to high school.
Some may say they enjoy the fine art photography though can’t afford it. Jokingly, I suggest they get their parents! If it’s a little slow at the time, I’ll ask which print they like best and why. During the conversation, it usually comes out that they have a special interest in art. Unkown to me, some kids come back to my booth each year, inspired by my prints.
The questions they ask are sincere, wanting to learn. I’ll share my business card with them, offering my web site with the articles that will answer their questions, and provide additional photography for their viewing enjoyment.
Learning more about their interest, I’ll offer one short snipet of advice.
Regardless of the creative endeavor of your pursuit,
let no one ever stifle your creativity
It doesn’t matter if they go into photography, painting, writing, music, engineering, physics, etc. – there will always be someone (a teacher, friend, judges, family members, or others) that will tell them they are doing it wrong, or “it’s never been done that way”, or “you’re not following directions”, or “it’s suppose to be shot (or painted or played) this way”. I then suggest – let these people say that, and then move on. Additionally I’ll suggest, never lose the fire within for the passion that drives them forward. And don’t allow others to put that fire out.
This past year (2016) a middle schooler with her grandparents came into my booth during a lull time on the Saturday of a two-day show. I could tell by observing them that her grandparents were supporting her interest, ansd it was she who was really attracted to my images. As they were about to leave, I asked her specifically which she like. It turned out to be the abstracts. From there the conversation flowed into her own interest in art, to which I once again overed my above advice. As she and her grandparents left, she took my card, excited to look at my web site.
The following morning, early on that Sunday, her grandparents came back specifically to see me. This young girl had gone home and told her mom all about the great conversation (and photography!) that she had encountered at the art fair. And then – just as she was going to show her mom my web site – she discovered she had lost my card! Her grandparents came back specifically to get another for her. (Talk about supporting grandparents! My compliments to them).
At that specific show, I sold not one print – but I made a million. If my photography inspires her to further her creativity in whatever endeavor she chooses, and my short advice helps keep that creative door open when many (who should know better) suggest it be closed – then yes, my show was a complete success.
To quote John Muir, “The power of imagination makes us infinite”.