Alta Ghost Town on Flickr.
What does photography mean to me and what do I want to do with it?
This is kind of part two of three in the series after my Telluride Photo Workshop experience. Part 1 was Episode 49 of Strumpet’s Voice, and was kind of an overview of the whole experience, and part 3 will be a Vlog (YouTube video) where I would like to illustrate a couple of the things I learned at the workshop. This, which I guess I’m calling Part 2, is an attempt to define for myself where I am as a photographer after the workshop.
I seem to do this kind of an analysis every 6 months or so, when something happens that makes me question the decision/stance that I decided on the last time I performed the analysis. So, last time I did this, I came to the conclusion that I am in the photography field for *myself*. I am not in this to open a gallery, to sell stock images, or to enter juried shows. I didn’t like the juried show experiences I had about a year ago, and I don’t think trying to enter the art world is “for me”.
So, every time I ‘hang out’ with other photographers, or do something like attend the workshop that I was just at, I start questioning whether I am doing the right thing. In addition to the workshop, I also just heard a This Week in Photo podcast showcasing the Master’s in Photography program at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
I walk away wondering if I should be trying to ‘do something’ with my photography talent. Should I be trying to get more recognitions. Should I be trying to sell my good images? Obviously, I am not totally immune to wanting recognition, etc, since I post my images to Google+, to Flickr, and I have a portfolio webpage on 500px that has my own domain name. Everyone likes to be told if their work is good and for recognition and praise. But that does not necessarily mean that I want to take it to another level.
I wish there was a way to get recognition for my progress as a photographer without attempting to join the Fine Art Photography world. That world is so competitive, at time so pretentious, and so demanding. I don’t feel the need to enter that world. I don’t *need* to make money from my work. I don’t *have* to sell my images, although, of course, it would be flattering to do so. Like getting an ‘A’ in class.
My husband thinks I should get enough feedback from myself and from him — he doesn’t see why any other ‘recognition’ is necessary. In theory, he is totally right. In theory, I shouldn’t need someone else to tell me if my work is any good. Other members of my family seem to think that I won’t be happy unless I become the ‘Best in my Field’ or become a successful professional.
I think the truth is somewhere in between. I still know that I do *not* want to pursue a professional gallery or art career. That world is just not for me. And I don’t want to run a business. I don’t want to compete with other artists for official, sort of, Art World recognition. Neither do I want no one else to see my work.
I would like to continue this as a hobby, but to become better. To improve, and to share my work with others.
That being said, some of you may have noticed that I have changed my default permissions setting on Flickr back from Attribution-Non-Commercial creative commons license to a Copyright License. Why should I stop myself from the opportunity to *ever* sell my images. Say someone comes along and actually wants to buy one. That is, after all, the ultimate flattery, isn’t it? If the image is already freely available under a CC license, why should they pay for it. Also, I find that the non-commercial use seems to be very very loosely interpreted. I’ve found several of my CC licensed images on what *I* might consider a commercial website. But it isn’t right there in the actual ‘purchase this’ section. Frankly, this really, really irritates me. Flattering? A bit. But you also get a real feeling of being abused.
So, that’s my analysis! Ha ha! Not sure if you think I’ve reached any wildly new conclusions, but I feel better about where I stand. And, one day, there might be a book. When I’m ‘good enough’.
Now, back to designing my friends and family photography gift for the Holidays.