Rejection { Minneapolis Area Photographer and Writer }

I’m living in a week of rejection. (You think I’d be used to it, on some level, living with a 13 year old girl–or, at least I’d be a bit more numb to it. Nope though.) Getting rejected as a freelancer is, basically, getting turned down for a job promotion in the corporate world. With us though–there’s usually just a generic email saying basically, ‘sorry, not sorry; but, you’re not good enough’, and that’s about it. Sometimes, there’s nothing–and you just find out by going to a website and realizing you weren’t included in an announcement, or that the contest winners are already posted (and your work is nowhere to be found). Usually, when you apply for anything, as a freelancer, you’re applying to a ‘no one’–meaning, you’re sending samples of your best work to someone whom you don’t know, have no working relationship with,  doesn’t know you, and doesn’t care if you succeed–they’re worried about themselves, their ‘look’, and ‘brand’. If you don’t fit in with your looks–you’re not needed. (Imagine the HR nightmare that would be in the corporate world. Rejecting someone for a job they’re qualified for–but don’t look right for? Sure…if you’re a model–as a writer/photographer, not so much.) I recently had applied for a writing position, only to have the ‘boss’ request to follow my personal account on Instagram. I, stupidly, accepted. I can’t help but wonder if I had posted more sayings about wine and coffee, posted more photos looking down, while including the tips of my shoes, and more non-selfie, selfies*, that I may have been accepted? Or, maybe I just suck? (Non-selfie, selfies, btw, are when you take a photo of yourself that looks almost accidental–but, you know you probably tried to get the shot over 20 times before finally settling on one to edit. The trend is, currently, not to include your eyes–just nose down, while making weird, pucker lips.) Anyway, I’ve been turned down, aka: rejected, three times this week alone. (One from the above mentioned writing thing, the other from a larger publication that, upon further inspection, was poorly maintained and rarely updated–so, I’m not so sure if it was me, or them. I think it was more them. And, the other one was more through work–but, nonetheless, something I put time into.) Normally, it only bugs me a little–because for every couple of things I get turned down for, I get accepted, or move up with something. This time, not so much. I just keep striking out.

Lately, I keep thinking about my field, and the internet, in general. My resume, and my portfolio, is all just a Google search away for anyone. Sure, I have a working resume, but no one wants that if you’re applying for freelance stuff and online publications. For being a super diverse place–the internet, for me and my field, isn’t even a little diversified. Every photographer is a blogger, and every blogger is a photographer. A huge amount are white, married, moms. A large quantity of those stick to primarily posting about recipes, crafts, and their kids. The vast percentage of those websites also look incredibly similar, visually. They’re white. They’re bright. There are lots of swirly, girly, logos that contain first, and middle names, or two, totally random words thrown together to sound cute; there’s a profile photo with a decent head shot, and there is a redundant selection of photos everywhere. (Nope. I don’t need to see the soup from 20 different angles and with varying DoF’s–I just need the recipe, and maybe one photo, per instruction, if you must.) The writing style of these bloggers also makes me feel like everyone took the same writing class. (Talk about being a hot mess; talk about your adorable, yet crazy, children; talk about how behind you are/how tired you are; talk, again, about being a hot mess; work up to the actual topic of your blog; insert, random, self-deprecating quips; post 20 of almost the same photos; promise to be back soon; sign with a few X’s and O’s; hit ‘publish’. ) More, and more, in my field–I feel like that if I follow that formula–I may succeed easier and/or quicker.

Going back to the beginning of the above paragraph–I come down to a spot where my ‘resume’ doesn’t look the same as everyone else’s. When you’re applying for a new, corporate, job–your resume is, typically, a reflection of what’s current and what the trends are–don’t use an objective statement and summary anymore, Times New Roman is good, don’t underline, or bold too much, etc. When you apply for a corporate job everyone knows you need a good, updated, resume that doesn’t stand out too much–that’s weird. I keep my site updated, always…but, it doesn’t look like the other ones in my field. I don’t want it to. I’m not like them anyway. However, when I feel that I may be losing work that could further my career, because I don’t look enough like ‘them’…I get stuck. I’m in a visual field–maybe following the trends is necessary until I get big enough to not have to follow the trends? Or, maybe someday, the people that I really want to notice me, will pay attention because everyone else looks the same and I stand out a bit? I don’t know. I’m at a loss.  It’s like I’m not normal enough to be ‘normal’, but not weird enough to be ‘weird’. I do think it’s time to refresh my webpage…maybe I’ll find inspiration within that? I don’t know. I’m stuck in this awful self-pity rut of not feeling good enough, career-wise. It’s been a couple of years since I was able to move up, forward, or go anywhere new, with my career–so, I’m really ready. (I’m bulking up with classes, reading and finding new inspiration currently–so, not all is lost.)




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