This is on the coast of Santander near the main city, around the ferry that leaves for Somo, a tiny little village on the other side of this bay. It was hard to get this shot without all the boats and people, but I tried hard to get this to get the loneliness motif to come across clearly.
This image was recently published in Onexposure, a fine art image gallery handpicked by screeners. The other day, I went on a rant about Onexposure, flickr and other community based picture sites - a lot of people agreed with me, and a lot of people set me straight. Regarding flickr, my friend Francesco did manage to convince me that there is quality work on flickr, although I still concede that it can be filtered to be exposed and highlighted better. Onexposure, I had mentioned was autocratic and had too many rules, and weren't fair sometimes.
Like many people that post there, I had submitted what I thought was some of my best work, and of course they were rejected. It is kind of natural to just be angry and lash out at that point, given that your best work just got shit on - but surprisingly, I didn't, instead I posted the image (New York, New York) to be critiqued. When I did that, I mentioned another published picture as a reference point, which is VERY similar to my picture. I came back to the post later to see that the moderators took that reference out. Confused, I put the link back thinking I made a mistake, but I then checked my email, and I saw that a moderator had mentioned this to me, and that the rules generally prohibit referring other pictures (on that site) in a critique. Well, it was THEN that I was angry and lashed out. I wrote a stern email to the moderator demanding an explanation for this, and what about a reference picture that is so against the rules. I had heard otherpeople talk about Onexposure as an 'elitist' site and such - there is even a t-shirt about the rejection from the site, so I was prepared for an expulsion email, or something of that sort. Well - to my surprise, I got a looooong email back from Kevin Ng, the head moderator over there, explaining all the confusing issues, every nuance that he goes through and every point that I made, giving reasons on some points, and clarifying their rules - some of which are pretty much unchangeable, and why they are that way.
Now, I'm kind of stubborn (my friends would say EXTREMELY f**king stubborn, but that's another story). When somebody tells me I can't do something, I have a habit of constantly questioning and harassing that person until I have an answer/reason that I can accept. I went back and forth with Kevin a few times, before I got to that answer and got to a point where I can see where the vision of the site is, and where he is coming fromâ€¦
What I learned was this:
- Kevin is very dedicated.
- My subconscious does not take rejection very well - my conscious self seems to handle it fineâ€¦
- Just because your picture is accepted at Onexposure doesn't mean it's better than all the others out there on flickr or any other unfiltered community based sites. They don't claim to be and doesn't aim to be THE art connoisseur of the web.
- If your picture gets rejected there, it doesn't mean it's bad.
- A group of photographers with fine-tuned eyes can do a lot for your photography and its growth.
- A group of really good photographs in one place can sometimes make you feel inadequate as a photographer.
- A group of really good photographs in one place can also insprire greatly.
And I think in a nutshell (7), this is the aim of the site. They have a bunch of rules, yes. It can sometime get nasty, because a member does not agree with the screeners decision, yes. But all in all, it results in a collection of pictures where 99% of the pictures are of very high quality (yes, high quality according to the screeners opinion - but go take a look - you'll have a tough time arguing otherwise) and that is a hard statistic to upkeep. The vision that the founders put forth is supported by all these rules, and it does it well, thanks to patient moderators like Kevin.
Not to mention, it definitely challenges you to put out your best work. I already feel that it makes me think a lot more about a picture than I used to - I find myself looking for good and bad details that make the pictures good or bad in my own images and images by others â€¦
In conclusion, I would like to quote what he had said about the site - maybe it can appease all the people whose pictures have been rejected so far (hey - that includes me, too :)
"What you will find that can make you successful on this site is perseverance (and I mean LOTS of it), very thick skin, and a complete willingness to submit yourself to scrutiny and criticsm. If you come into this site with completely open eyes and ears you can succeed. Of course, you also need vision, but that is assumed. As an example, the person listed under the critique tab as Commentator of the Week is a 15 year old photographer who spent, probably, the first three months here being continually rejected and derided by the much older (in age) members for his photos. Well, he persevered and now has 3 consecutive publishes and whats more, has earned the respect of the more experienced members. You can learn more on this site in a couple of months than some are able to learn in years.
Even the most experienced members here someimes scratch their heads and wonder why a picture is or is not published. No one here can point to a specific set of guidelines, criteria, whatever that is the formula for publish. The site looks for pictures that are technically solid, first and foremost, but after that, it's about how a picture touches the viewer - it can be because of the story, the aesthetics, the technical quality, the subject matter - it can be anything. You can't put guidelines and come up with a formula for that....it's just not possible. To be honest, part of the challenge and esteem of this site is the fact there is always that unknown factor that can lead to publication and rejection. It's what gives this site that "air" that does not exist anywhere else."
And finally, here's the link to the picture at onexposure.