I have found the vast majority of visitors to my booth enjoy the quality of the print, the emotional attachment and the artist direction I apply to my photography. Likewise, there are a few visitors that do not enjoy any of these features. In Alain Briot’s book “Marketing Fine Art Photography”, he writes on page 29; “Not everyone will like what you do. …. Art creates passionate reactions and if your work creates such reactions it is proof that it is art“.
Although I don’t spend much time discussing my prints with those who don’t enjoy them, after reading the above line a few years ago, I now take their comments as a compliment. This might sound strange – their comments validate my artistic style and direction.
Liberating – My artistic vision
From the very second I click the shutter to the time I watch the cotton rag paper come off my large format printer, I’m applying my photographic vision and artistic style to the image as I desire. This truly is liberating. I know immediately some will like my vision, others will not.
I doubt those who don’t would ever purchase one of my prints regardless of how I captured, processed or printed the image. Those who do – love my work. They are captivated by the prints. They’ll admire, purchase, share a testimonial, and enjoy the print within their home decor. The prints will touch them emotionally and individually.
Judging – Awards and walk-throughs
Early in my art fair career, I quickly learned that not all judges will evaluate my prints in the same “light”. At some shows (not all) awards are given to selected artists based on their display, product, quality, and other variables. Judges are no different than any of us. We like what we like, and we shy away from what we don’t. I’ve won awards at art shows and have received great support from judges.
Likewise, I’ve had judges simply take a walk-through and move on. (As you may guess, I didn’t win). I’ve also had two judges view the booth together and discuss one particular print. One judge like it, the other did not. Ironically, the print under discussion continually draws people into my booth and sells quite well.
Do awards matter?
Well, having won a few awards I now add “award-winning” to my artist statement. Other than that, the awards themselves have never generated any sales. They just hang on my office wall, off to the side, up near the ceiling, out of the way. Unless someone reads my artist statement at the show, they’ll never know of the awards. And if they do, they probably skim right past those two words to read more interesting sections. No one has ever asked.
The award that counts – Satisfied Customers
To me, satisfied customers – not awards – matter most. While I thank the judges for their review, it is those who both admire and purchase my prints that I am most grateful. They know that I back all purchases with a 30-day money back “ Complete Customer Satisfaction” policy. (That never seems to matter). They’ve connected to my photographic vision. Many have purchased more than one print over the past few years. They, in the most positive way, have validated my photographic vision and artistic style. Thank you. Yes, for me, the satisfied customer is always my highest award.