A Tiny Measure of Truth in the Art World

When you’ve been playing the photography game for awhile, you gain insight into stuff. Some of it makes perfect sense. Some not so much.

Many photographer types seem to be quite analytical in their nature. They like to study images, reconstruct them, reverse engineer them etc. They scour the net looking at photo after photo thinking that they might be onto something, that they may have found a magic formula that could launch their careers into instant success. But are they right in believing this?

Have a look at Instagram. There are some amazing creative photographers on there. It’s mind-boggling really, when you stop to take some time to appreciate all the fantastic work of others. There are scores of talented people out there. I often think I’d like to just hang with some of these people for a few hours to try to find out how their brain works…what goes through their heads.

Turn the page and you’ll also see the millions of really poor photographers out there. Maybe they’re just starting out, or perhaps they are just really bad at what they’re trying to do. But who are we to judge? Are we professional image critics? Are we columnists for the New York Times?

Now if you try to somehow correlate their social media exploits to what they’ve actually produced, I can guarantee you that you will go insane if you continue on this course. Stop it! So for all you analytical types: it makes no sense! Again. It makes no sense. Accept it for what it is and carry on with your work.

It has always been this way and will always be this way in the art world. Poor, horribly photographed images seem to often get the most likes. People with little or no skill may have a huge number of followers. Likewise obviously very talented people have tiny followings and their images for the most part go highly unnoticed except perhaps by other photographers.

Banksy could hardly sell 400 bucks worth of art when nobody knew it was Banksy. However the same tiny canvasses the next day were valued at over 250 thousand dollars each. If you have 300k followers on Instagram, you can post a horrible image and it will get thousands of likes. Yet a highly skilled artist who has no following, will get few likes on an incredible image that takes a lifetime of talent to create.

Welcome to the art world. It’s best not to overthink it. Just go photograph your cat in the worst way possible and enjoy it. Really enjoy it.

Happy Shooting,

Doug

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