Photographic recognition, is it really meaningful?
Irrespective of your experience, skill, camera, budget or time, the images that you produce represent your view of the world. It makes no difference if someone likes, or dislikes your images. They are your images.
We find ourselves in a culture of recognition hunters. Am I good? Am I liked? And it strikes me that this type of thinking is the same silly idea, as in some schools, that kids should get a simulated success if they can’t achieve one themselves. It also is missing the point about being different. Difference is on the one hand something we celebrate, then in the same voice we shout down or dislike it when someone does not like what a creative has created. It is being demotivating. Well don’t ask then!
I recently saw a post about being “constructive” to new photographers. Well if they are under 16 I can accept that. As soon as they are adults though, they should accept the realities of the world. People may not like what they do! We need to be grown-ups and not behave like kids in school. I don’t expect or need anyone to like my pictures, but if there is someone who can enhance their style, their view, their inspiration from seeing what I do, then I am satisfied. Even if they use my work to decide avoiding doing the same! 🙂
Going back to the idea of simulated success as a motivator in school, it strikes me that school should be helping the kids to find their special quality, their skill, their passion. As adults we should be finding these personal qualities ourselves, perhaps with a little help from friends and partners. Art, writing, singing, dancing, thinking or whatever are not for everybody. The half full approach is to work out what special “fingerprint” of characteristics you possess and enjoy them. Stop hunting for recognition or authentication.
When someone gives me a heart, a thumbs up or whatever, should I feel endorsed? If so by whom…? I must, as a creative, decide what I want to create. If I am creating for acceptance then I am a slave to current opinion and not my own opinion.
If you want to make your creativity a business then this is slightly different as your customers will decide and there is little you can do about it.
So to all art photographers out there I would say this: Be yourself, other people will love or hate what you do, but only you must be happy with what you do. Take on board what matters to you.