Friday, November 5, 2010

Ignoring the urge

Nothing is really original. Not with photography, nor furniture, not even with music. We are all influenced by those who have come before us. Some of those influential people are still alive, some are dead, and some have past before we were even born. The most lovely part of this line of influence is the interpretation of a style and also the reminder that, our work evolves. That our work and a certain piece is beautiful for what it is right now without comparing it to anything else we have done. Okay, that is a complicated statement. But here's the gist.

I have been looking at my photo books lately, well, mine in that I own them. But the books full of collections by such amazing photographers as Lewis Hine, Robert Doisneau, W. Eugene Smith, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. These phenoms have had great influence on me and my work lately, in several ways.
Not every photo is perfect. Some images are perfect in their imperfection. With digital manipulation (Photoshop, Lightroom, etc) we get caught up in making the image look just so in order to sell. But I did not have that intention in mind when I clicked the shutter. The goal was to capture this unique scene. Period. So enhancing an image is meant to suit my eye. Not the feeling that I need that image to look just so in order to sell.

I have caught myself forgetting the main reason I am a photographer, what with the urge to get out there and sell sell sell. When I was looking at W. Eugene Smith's work, it hit me. Of course, I want to fill the world with my images, but only if what the buyer wants is what I have produced. The objective is to continue to produce what I love and almost ignore the urge to have it sell.

I am most certain that urge comes from wanting to do what I love every day. I am certain that urge comes from wanting to be able to pull the car over when I see a stunning sunrise over a misty field, as was there this morning, and not have to rush off to work. You can't rush what is meant to just happen. I cannot force success, at least not the monetary kind.

I have found again, to my utter joy, a community of photographers happy to share what they know without fear of their idea being stolen. Nothing breaks one's spirit faster, than envy and jealousy. The best of advisors and mentors are those who know that no idea is original. And that sharing the joie de vivre of their art keeps them alive, too, by passing down the thrill of being an artist. It is that drive that keeps people feeling alive and allowing them to live through their artwork. This is why art will never die.