We’ve all been there. The moment we complete our work, and we take a step back to take it in. Then comes the question.
Is it Good?
I think as artists we all try to determine if our labors have earned our approval. But I submit that all too often we are determining the answer to this question from the wrong point of view, and the question we are asking ourselves is a lie. That is, that all too often we are really asking, “Will anyone else think it’s good?” And in that we have the true rub. We are judging our own work through the eyes of others, and trying to determine if we will win their approval. Let me just start by saying, that while I am guilty of this, as we all are to some degree, I have begun to realize the answer to whether or not I have obtained everyone’s artistic approval of my work, is becoming less important to me.
As artists, we all seek approval from others, but I submit to you, that we must each have an inner satisfaction to our efforts as a fundamental necessity of our pursuits. This applies across the artistic spectrum, from writing, to painting, to sculpture and yes, photography. Art needs to be free, and an expression of what we each choose to express, not what we think others want expressed. This is a step that requires great courage and vulnerability, but in the end, having the approval of others without feeling fulfilled ourselves, leads to empty success. There are countless expressions for compromised art, from adverse influence to just plain selling out. Sometimes you need to pay the bills, but when we pursue art on our own terms we find it’s purest expression.
Satisfaction in our own work, on our own terms, does not come easily at first. We long for acceptance, but as we grow more confident of our abilities, that sense of fulfillment in our achievement comes more easily. I have begun to find this happy place with my photography, and it has elevated my pursuit of this hobby. It comes with practice, successes, and many failures, but the road is fun to look back on, if only for a moment, until I cast my gaze forward again. Because as anyone can tell you, there is no room for comfort in art either. Comfort leads to stagnation, and a lack of growth…but that’s a story for another day. Enjoy my shot of a walk in the woods, on a sunny day. I am pleased with the picture, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say, I hope you like it!!
Until next time…all the best…John