“You Are Here” is a running (5) five part series discussing a variety of contemporary philosophic questions about photography. If you missed the two entries you’re in luck. See here:
Enjoy Part 3…
Photography, for many photographers, invariably starts out of curiosity and passion, but as of late photography has become a lot more confusing. You might say modern photography has developed multiple personalities. The availability of online services for image sharing, critique forums, print sales, and stock photography have increased visibility and outlets to share ones photographic work. But for what purpose?
Is photography for fun, a business or art?
I suppose the inevitable blurring of all three is what spawns the confusion. Depending whom you talk to and where they are in their evolution as a photographer you’ll get a different answer. I asked this question of myself recently and the answer shed light on a challenge I’ve been facing… staying focused and prioritizing my projects. The answer to this question for me is yes… its fun, business and art. As you can imagine this creates quite the dilemma when you’re juggling multiple efforts. Often working on one-project results in my feeling that I’m depriving another. This internal conflict can quickly become a distraction and can easily compound.
The topics for the series of “You Are Here” came to me rather suddenly primarily because of a couple conversations and a few rough days at the end of May. Rushed, stressed and juggling multiple things my conversation with a couple of photographer friends put me in a reflective mood. It was a great break from being so focused on my work that I couldn’t see anything else. It was particularly refreshing to hear where other photographers were mentally and in relation to achieving their professional and/or artistic goals.
I didn’t leave the conversations feeling any less burdened with my mountain of personal goals, but I did gain some critical perspective that has since helped me to focus a little better. It wasn’t until this time that I started to consciously think about the multiple personalities of photography and thinking of my goals and projects in these terms. The approach and attention needed for each whether fun, business or art can be quite different. Sure there is overlap, but ultimately the mindset and effort required for each can be very different.
As a result I now more consciously evaluate my on going photography projects and prioritize accordingly. Where I can I try to align my photographic work so that the output is a combination of art, business and fun. In many instances photographs or projects I’ll work on are more aligned to stock and less about art. You can’t have it all, but I do try. The result has been a more streamlined approach to completing my projects and to date it’s all remained fun. I hope that never changes.
[tags]photography, art, business, fun, hobby, profession, professional, philosophy[/tags]