Have you listened to the song “I love It” from Icona Pop? It might be about boy/girl, but it’s the main chorus that rings true in my head. To me its about an attitude change.
“I don’t care, I love it.
I don’t care.”
So Virgil, is this another random thought of yours? How does this relate to photography?
I’ve taken photography very personal and I’ve cared greatly about what others think. I think that’s an artistic flaw that drives artists mad over time if they don’t take action. Peoples opinions matter and their criticism cuts twice as deep. Sometimes its not even criticism, but just other peoples preference and you end up trying to please everyone. You can’t possibly please everyone unless you water your work down so much that its no longer worth making. Once that happens you might as well just pack it up and quit.
I have also been trying to run m51photo.com like a business. Running a business implies that you are trying to keep customers happy. And customers and the “market” in itself has norms that you need to follow. The larger you get the more watered down you have to become, because you have to keep the “average” of your customers happy. If you don’t, you won’t get hired for certain types of photographic work.
My whole photographic journey has been this way, in conflict. In 2014 I started to realize this and started my personal transformation. My recent realization was, screw what everyone else thinks. Get out of the watchful eye of my former photographic circles, mentors and other people who are creating drag on my creativity. I rebooted myself and m51photo.com for 2015. Brand new virgin social media accounts with an approach of doing what I want the way I want.
What type of photographer am I? What type of style do I have? You know you need to pick a niche to be successful? Ummmm… Guess what?
“I don’t care, I love it. I don’t care.”
I can shoot trains, planes and automobiles. I can shoot models. I can shoot things that I want and I can talk about it the way I want. Why? Because part of photography is doing what I want the way I want. Its an expression of myself and the things I like in the world. My blog and photographs are my way of giving something back to the world and the human collective. To be successful for me, it has to be organic and true. Life is too short to wast time trying to conform to the norm.
My lesson in all of this:
- Be true to yourself, go out there and take photos of what interests you. Not what you think others would like to see you shoot.
- Stop worrying about what others think of your work. If they like it, great! If not, so what. Remove the concept of likes on facebook as some form of success.
- Stop comparing yourself and your work to others. Who knows where you are in your journey. It takes time to get good, but it only needs to be good enough for you. My personal rule of thumb is I need to be improving, but that’s just me. Its your work, you decide if there are even rules.
- And remember the golden lesson in life is, it’s the journey and not the destination. The destination is death and who knows what beyond. If there is truly purpose in life, its about what you have experienced in life. Its how you treated those around you and what you learned as a person. You don’t get to take anything with you other than what you learned and how you behaved as a human being. Money, cars, stature – it’s all transient.