The Drive of Shame, 2018 Edition (UPDATE: ONE GOT THROUGH!!)

Good morning.  I have to write this blog post early, because by the time you read it, I’ll be on the highway to Syracuse.

Let me explain.

The New York State Fair requires that all non-accepted entries for the photography competition be claimed today.  Of the six entries I submitted for 2018, three of them – Infrared Horizon 787, The Mahari Stream and No School Today, Brah – were not accepted for competition.  I received postcards confirming this on Saturday.

Ladies Make Their Own Entrances. Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens, 1/125 sec., ISO 400, f/5.6. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

The problem is — I did NOT receive any postcards for Washington County 2:30 a.m., American Dreamtime: Solarcan 368, or Ladies Make Their Own Entrances.  So I have no idea if they were rejected as well.

This concerns me.  Am I driving to Syracuse to claim three pictures – or four – or five – or all six?

And if it’s all six images … you know what that means.

Washington County, 2:30 am. Nikon Df camera, Irix 15mm f/24 lens, flipped to black and white with Google Nik Silver Efex Pro. Photo (c) 2018 Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

The #Syracurse continues in my life.

Because, for all intents and purposes, this will mean that ALL my photos were rejected from the New York State Fair for the third consecutive year, and four of the last five years.

This is not good.  Not in the least.

Because now it introduces doubt and self-loathing into my photographic experience.

And I shouldn’t think of this … but what if it’s true?

American Dreamtime: Solarcan 368. Solarcan pinhole camera, 10-month exposure. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

What if I lost my ability to create photos that would be worthy of appearing on the walls of the Harriet May Mills Art Center?

I mean … the last time my pictures made the walls there, Barack Obama was still president, I was still blogging for the Times Union, and the Mets were still a World Series contender.

Oy vey izmir.

And someone can say, “But Chuck, you have three entries in the Arts and Crafts category that WERE accepted, take your wins where you can.”

Yes I can.  But I’ve entered my photos in the photography competition for the better part of a decade.

And I konw that Altamont is around the corner.  And the Big E and Durham and BUILT and everything else.

And I don’t want to feel like I failed.  Like I deserved to fail.  Like the self-doubt is creeping in again.

The only thing I can do right now is drive to Syracuse and find out for myself what is going on.

And hope against hope, pray against prayer, that the reason I haven’t heard what happened to these three images … is because maybe they kept the “accepted” postcards in a separate pile, and those got sent through a different post office or something.

I’ll fill you in with another blog post later today if there’s any news.

UPDATE, 10:00 a.m.: I arrived in Syracuse about at 9:00 a.m.  The Superintendent of Arts was there.  She told me that all my artworks were ready for pickup.  All five of them.


Not SIX?


One photo made the cut and, for the first time in three years, a Chuck Miller artwork will hang on the walls of the Harriet May Mills Art Center…

And that photo is …

American Dreamtime: Solarcan 368. Solarcan pinhole camera, 10-month exposure. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

That’s right … the camera built out of a beer can and photo paper, the photo I garnered from a Kickstarter campaign, the image that baked for ten months in St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands, that picture was accepted!!!

Okay … feeling better now.

And although I have my remaining artworks in the car right now…

And I’m not happy that shots like Ladies Make Their Own Entrances or Washington County: 2:30 a.m. didn’t make the cut …

I’m thrilled that this experimental shot got through.

This … plus my three arts and crafts constructs …

Maybe this will be a great day after all.

And maybe … just maybe … the #Syracurse hashtag might fall through.