Don’t mind if people like your photos or not. Make photos for “autotelic” reasons (make photos as an end in itself, and for yourself!)
Why isn’t photography seen as a legitimate art form in itself?
There’s a bias in the photography and art world which doesn’t legitimize photography as art.
Even with the history of photography (Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Magnum), they said:
We are not artists, we are photo-journalists.
And painters in the art world were intimidated by the camera as a tool which would “disrupt” their livelihood, and thus tried to shun photography as an illegitimate art form.
Even the world of photography is odd; photographers themselves don’t consider themselves artists. Even worse, many photographers don’t even consider themselves photographers!
You are a photographer and artist.
A photographer is literally someone who makes pictures with light: (photo = light) + (graph = write, draw, scratch).
Thus if you’re using light to make images, you’re a photographer.
What is your duty or role as a photographer?
Now the more interesting question for us to ask ourselves is this:
What kind of impact am I trying to make upon others with my pictures?
What are you trying to say? What’s your personal philosophy? Do your pictures show your soul? Do your pictures have power and impact?
Photography is your art form, and perhaps your primary form of artistic self-expression. You don’t require outside legitimacy. Legitimize yourself!