I have often raved of the YouTube channel by Ted Forbes called "The Art of Photography". If you have not seen his videos, you are missing out on some excellent content. I love his early work and received much of my initial exposure (pun intended) to photography as an art form from his videos. Recently he is going a bit more into digital gear and Lightroom but his early work is exceptional.
About a year and a half ago, Ted released a video that has caused a bit of debate. The theme of the message is that some believe the world has enough photographers and there really is no interest in seeing our work. Look at Instagram and you can see amazing content with millions of users world wide, which begs the question, why post more?
I left it alone for a long while because I needed some perspective on it. Many have replied that we shoot photography for ourselves, and while this may be true for some people (look at Vivian Maier who often didn't even develop her photographs), the fact is that photography is designed to share.
When we photograph anything, we are thinking about the viewer and what they will take from the image. We look at composition techniques to guide the viewer to the portion of our image we want them to focus on. How can we then say that we do not care what the viewer thinks of our image? We can't. Any art is designed to interact between the art and people. You cannot divorce the two.
So how do we accept both of these truths? How do we reconcile the fact that our hobby is an art form and hence needs and audience while accepting the fact that the world is so inundated with photographs that there is little room for anything else?
Simple, I never intended to be famous, recognized, or even to earn a living through photography. I shoot because I enjoy it. I work to improve as a personal challenge and yes, I like to see what others think of my photographs but in the end, I will continue to shoot and work at improving. It is easy to take a picture that gets 100 likes on facebook or Instagram. The goal is shooting a photograph that I can be proud of.
Patrick...confirmed film & digital photography addict.