Over the past few years I have put my photographs out to the public in a number of forums. I was curious how they might be received. Overall I have been happy with the results and I have learned a lot.
Some of my most popular photos that I have shared on Facebook are not my personal favorites. The same goes with 500 PX and Flicr. There have been a few other places as well. I belong to a few photographer groups as well but one, a closed group with maybe a couple hundred photographers in it is my favorite. There are some shooters that are totally amazing in this group. They hail from all over the world and in my mind are tops in their field. There are Fashion, Landscape, Portrait, Travel, Street, Fine Arts, well you name it and they are there and they are very good.
I find this group tends to like same things I do. I can place a photo on Facebook at it will get little attention but the same photo in this group will receive some of the highest praise of any I post. The opposite is true as well. Please don't get me wrong I am very appreciative of the wonderful comments and likes I get for my work in either group. It truly is nice to hear that someone likes my work and maybe they feel something while looking at it as that is what I am trying for.
I can think of nothing better than having someone view some of my work and have it move them in some way. Maybe make their day a bit better, or it could make them think on something that is what a photograph is about and if it happens I am a success.
However what I am writing about here is how one has to approach their art. An artist has to do work they like. Sure we all will create what a client wants but when we shoot for ourselves then we must create images that please us. If we begin changing to get more likes or attention we become kind of like a politician changing his or her views in reaction to polls. We lose our soul.
I am not saying that we don't take advice or attempt to grow in our art. Heck maybe after a number of years we can find ourselves going a totally different direction as our interests change. Also as our style begins to emerge we follow that and it may lead us to something different or more focused. We begin to learn what we like.
One thing I learned from my wonderful and talented wife Darla is to hold onto our completed work lightly. For those who do not know Darla is an amazing artist. She was trained in Firenze in a style called New Renaissance which combines the old techniques handed down from master to apprentice over generations with the freedom of modern art. She spent four years studying as an apprentice working twenty-four seven. When working with galleries they would always tell her to be more this or that to fit into the American and local culture. She didn't do that and I have always admired her for it. Of course, it might help to have one's art hanging in the homes of royalty, artists, world-class musicians and even one of the most popular restaurants in the world among food critics. I have seen her art in many food magazines and TV shows as they did reviews on this wonderful eatery in Firenze.
I have watched her finish a painting and have people see it and everyone has a comment some are not very nice. She handled it all with grace and equal equanimity. When she is finished with a piece she is finished and is on to the next one. This is a great way to be. I find that when I finish a photograph that I like, I can look at it for a short while and enjoy it, then I am bored and must go for the next one.
In closing all I am really taking so long to say here, is that you are the one you have to impress, do what you like and push yourself to get closer and closer to your vision. In the end, if you don't do that you will become quite disillusioned with yourself and your art. When people like and comment positively on your work, well that is the frosting on the cake.
Do I think these are my best? Probably not, but right now they are the ones I sort of like best but that will change.
That probably is the natural way of things.