Tuesday, 7 September 2010

What I decided whilst in hospital regarding me and photography. Part 3

Upstairs, Badenyon
Originally uploaded by James_at_Slack

I have decided to remain a hobbyist photographer who will shoot mainly local Historical sites and abandoned communities. Will I be bothered then if there is no interest or enjoyment from my pictures? The answer should be no because I will be shooting what I’m passionate about and I should be fulfilling my creative urges. But in reality, we humans like to get some encouragement and praise - don’t we? We tend to trust the people who are like us so if people who have an interest in local History and/or abandoned communities see that I too have that interest, then perhaps I will have an audience for my work. It is like serving a market where you are already an ‘insider’, so it should help me empathise with that market.

The question ‘Am I good enough?’ will come up. A question like that will never be answered probably, and self doubt can be the motivator to improve one’s craft. I will be (and have been) dogged by such a question but I know that all I can say is, I’m getting better, I’m improving but will fall short of being ‘good enough’ because I will always want to be better. Talent is not easily evaluated or quantified.

I need to tackle and focus more on questions like ‘Am I willing to work hard at learning my craft?’ ‘ Am I willing to research and learn and make mistakes?’ ‘Am I willing to put my work under scrutiny of my peers so I can improve?’ ‘How passionately do I want this?’
I have to accept the fact that highly talented photographers may not need to work so hard as less talented photographers. That said, how do we know how much work someone has put into their craft? Why do we tend to think ‘they got lucky’ or ‘it was handed to them on a plate’? I need to always assume they have worked hard to get where they are. For me, bold steps are needed. Some interests and activities may need to jettisoned or at least cut down.

High quality, technically perfect but mediocre photography is everywhere now and organisations have a vast quantity to choose from, and at the best price - free! I don’t know if I can rise above this but I’m going to try and recent deals with publishers and record companies and a solo exhibition success has given me some encouragement. However, marketing knowledge will now take a back seat to honing my craft. I want to be a good photographer. I want to produce images that people like and get pleasure from and that is why, for the meantime, I will remain a hobbyist photographer.

Taken from Visionmongers by David duChemin.


Rob Hudson said...

Hey James,

One thing I've found since going freelance is that it's a massively crowded market out there. Raising our heads above the parapet of indifference is no easy matter, no matter how talented we are. In fact some of the photographers I know who are most successful at promotion are in my eyes at least rather dull at photography. I seem to be making a living, but admittedly without my wife's financial support I'd be pretty cold and hungry by now. It has only been 5 weeks, so it's early days things are moving onwards and improving, but the work involved in promotion seems endless and enormous. I'm not so much a photographer at the moment as a marketing guy who does occasional photography jobs!


James Dyas Davidson said...

Hi Rob,

I really wish you well in your venture. Maybe I'm being a bit 'safe' and foolish not to go for it but, as you say, it's a crowded industry and the young seem to get most of the attention (some deserve it, many don't). So with that in mind, I shall learn my craft and be creative for as long as I can. Also, I really like my job and love photography - so I'm going to try to merge the two as much as possible.

All the best.