I am at ease with a small group and even better at one-on-one conversations but standing in front of a crowd full of eyes isn't something I jump at the chance to do. I was asked to talk about my work at Open Show Los Angeles and after saying no in my head, my fingers typed "yes" in an email. I am glad I did the opposite of what my fear told me to do.
It would be easy to tell you that I am a pro at public speaking and that I feel it's a piece of cake. That would be...in my mother's words, "a fib."
Even though I minored in Speech in college, It doesn't come naturally to me. It's easier and more comfortable for me to be alone on the road for months or approach a stranger in an alley at night to take their photograph, than it is to enter the safety of a room full of people staring at me waiting for me to speak. I am telling you all of this to let you know that it's ok to say yes to something that scares you to death. I promise you that you will feel on top of the world once it's over. Chances are great that you won't actually die.
|At Open Show Los Angeles with fellow speakers (L to R) Chang Kyun Kim, Clay Lipsky, Elizabeth Preger and Benjo Arwas|
A few days later, I attended Photo LA for the third year in a row. Just three years ago, I attended Photo LA for the first time and didn't know a soul. Last year, I knew a handful of people and this year, I was fortunate to be one of the top 20 finalists in the Emerging Focus competition. They had a reception for all of the finalists on Friday to announce the winners. All the judges were on hand to announce the winner, including David Schonauer, David Vincent Wolf, Gerd Ludwig, Joe Schmelzer and Scarlet Cheng. I was thrilled to hear my named called as the 3rd place winner.
Thank you to Dan Shepherd for asking me to do something that terrifies me and for all of the judges at Emerging Focus that chose "Brothers" for the 3rd place prize. I would recommend doing things that scare the hell out of you. The feeling you get after it's over is so well worth the stress from the fear. Remember, the good feeling comes AFTER the task is completed.
All of the top 20 images will be on display at ICON, Los Angeles now until the closing reception on March 10th.