Some of you who have started reading my blog because of my writing about Mexico may not know it but I'm a photographer. I guess I've been a photographer for a long, long time but I've also been other things along the way, a wife, a mother, a manager, a consultant. But for the last 15 years, photography has been my center, my anchor. I've been fortunate enough to be in groups shows and to have one-person shows and to sell some of my work along the way.
I guess it is always the photographer's dream to have a book published. Well the possibility of a publisher appearing on my doorstep with a contract is maybe less than being struck by lightening. But more and more self-publishing is a financial possibility. There are companies who can publish your book "on demand" like Lulu.com. In addition, photographers are making wonderful handmade books. There are a lot of possibilities.
I have a couple of projects that I'd like to make into books, the largest one being the 16th Century Mexican Churches that I researched and photographed over several years. I'm thinking an edition of 50 for family and a few friends and maybe even sales through Amazon or PhotoEye. These images were shot with black and white film so I started going through the old negs and scanning the images. Suddenly I was finding it hard to do this because my inner critic was saying......
This stuff is old work, don't you have anything new?
Lots of people have photographed the Mexican churches...do you have anything new to say in these images?
Too bad you didn't photograph the project in color like Eliot Porter.
Thank goodness you didn't print this one, it is really terrible.
Why are you wasting your time with this. No one is interested.
Do any of you have an inner critic? I hope he isn't as brutal as mine is. I can't tell you how many times I've had to write in my daily journal, "Shut-up you SOB. This IS GOOD WORK!" Well anyway he was beating me up pretty good recently and one night I wasn't able to sleep so I came down to the computer. I logged on and decided to go to my pbase photography site. I hadn't been there in a while. The site said I had a recent message in my guestbook. I clicked on it and read:
Ms. Mercer, I have been a fan of yours for years. I walked into AfterImage Gallery in Dallas and bought 8 of your photos immediately. I even tried to call you in Houston to ask you about the series. (These are of Mexican Churches.) I could never find the correct number or receive an answer. I love the other series I've seen on the web. If you're "in the mood" to have a conversation about your work .............These images were sold eight or nine years ago. Why now, just when I'm filled with doubt about this work did she find me and how in the world did she find me in the vast universe of the internet.
I don't know why I'm amazed when my guardian angel has sent help so many times before to push the inner critic back to whatever dark place he goes but I AM amazed and so thankful. I'll be back to scanning more images from the Mexican Church Project tomorrow. It is going to be a lot of hard work for this little book to come together but one step at a time.