A while back, I entered some of my photos into the Southern Tier Biennial Competition. This was the first time I have ever entered my art into any sort of juried art competition so it was an exciting learning experience to say the least. When I first stumbled on this competition, I toyed with the idea of even submitting anything for a long time. I was currently in the process of creating my first collection and showing any of it, especially to folks at home was scary. In New York City, I was allowed to be anonymous with my photography, I could post photos on Instagram or on my website to complete strangers and no one except those close to me knew what I was doing. Entering this competition would change all that. Olean is a small town, if I entered this competition and one of my photos was selected, people would know it was me.

            Well, as you can see from the first sentence, I ended up entering the competition and to my surprise, one of my photos was selected! I was no longer allowed to hide behind the anonymous curtain and to be honest, I don’t think I want to.


            I used to have this Imposter syndrome when it came to saying I was a photographer. In my hometown, I don’t think anyone has ever really known me as a photographer besides close friends and family. In high school I stayed pretty far away from the arts and was never known as an artsy type. To quote Art &Fear by David Bayley and Ted Orland, (which is a really great book by the way, I highly recommend it), ”Fear that you are not a real artist causes you to undervalue your work”, and I was tired of undervaluing my work that I was extremely proud of just because someone might not label me as an artist. The Southern Tier Biennial Competition is my way of stepping out and saying, “I take photos and I think they are pretty good. Hopefully you will like them too”. I even had to create an artist statement and a short bio, so now I really feel legit. legit.  ( My end goal for this is to keep going, to keep taking photos and to soon have a small exhibit of my own that shows my first collection of Gelatin silver print, called Crowded Isolation.

The Southern Tier Biennial Exhibit is now open at the Olean Public Library and JCC. My photo will be on display at the Olean Public Library until October 27th.