Comparatively Speaking

I got a grant to make another booklet from my Sense of Place series, and I’m working on designing it and researching quotes to go along with the photos and I came across the following from William Faulkner

Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.

I’ve been having this recurring conversation with different people lately about the fecundity of good art/photography/material out there and the seeming futility of trying to get recognized. My hope is that the fact that we are seeing so much good stuff is because there is a lot of opportunity out there as well. But at the end of the day we just have to stop looking at all that stuff and make better work. Better work than we made yesterday. This matters a lot. So when we (and I am definitely putting myself in this category) start bemoaning the fact that we aren’t in XX or ZZ isn’t calling us for that spread or whatever it is, just stop that line of thought. Refocus and ask yourself – how can I make better work today than I did yesterday. Maybe nothing has changed externally, but internally you are having a more productive dialogue – which with any luck and chutzpah will start making things happen for you.


4 thoughts on “Comparatively Speaking

  1. Thank you sweet ladies!

    Mel – you are very sweet and I am deeply honored, but I love the words so much and I find them so inspiring and it’s fun to pair and juxtapose them against the photos. Plus the researching is really fun too.

    While my grandmother lay dying we had some amazing conversations and one centered around her pursuing our genealogy – she whispered to me, “Its like a detective story.” Her statement has stayed with me and is always at the back of my mind whilst I approach my work, putting pieces of a mysterious puzzle together – and pairing these quotes with pictures is a detective story/jigsaw puzzle I am completely enchanted and obsessed with. But I will definitely take the gilding the lily under consideration. Love that phrase!


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