As a reminder— know it is your duty as a visual artist to make beautiful pictures—for your own sake, and for the sake of humanity.
1. You are a “visual artist”
Okay, so to start off— call yourself a “visual artist”. This will expand your view of yourself, and your purpose and duty in life.
Visual artist：You’re just using the camera as a tool to make pictures. To me, using a camera is a more effective and efficient tool to make images and pictures…instead of just having to draw out everything.
I’m addicted to making pictures. I’m too impatient to draw. And funny enough, the challenge of making a good picture is with a camera is more difficult than drawing a picture. Why? Taking pictures with a camera is more difficult —because you gotta leave your house. You must interact with others and the outside world. Street photography is particularly hard, because you must overcome the fear of making pictures of strangers.
2. What do you find “beautiful”?
“Aesthetics” is a field of photography which posits the question：
”What is beautiful, and what is not beautiful?”
To me, beauty is all subjective. You must find what is beautiful to YOU.
For me, I like edgy, dynamic pictures…which reveal the soul of the maker. That’s how I define a “beautiful” picture. I don’t see “beauty” as something pretty. I can see an abstract picture of peeling paint as more aesthetically sublime than any furniture in the palace of Versailles.
As an artist, it is your duty to make beautiful pictures, and to share your definition and vision of beauty with others, and with society. To me, the artist must fulfill a social role. Of course, we must make pictures first and foremost for ourselves. Then, we must move onto SHARING our pictures with the public—to motivate, inspire, and empower our viewer.
3. You are the only judge of your pictures.
Judge your own pictures, and you can judge them as “beautiful” if your pictures bring you inner-joy. Never let anyone else dictate whether your pictures are beautiful or not.
For me, I see beauty in impermanence. In decay. I love the Japanese aesthetic of “wabi-sabi”— that with use, comes beauty (I see patina as beautiful). Kind of how your RAW denim comes more fashionable and aesthetically beautiful with wear (the wear marks conform to your body, and show the wrinkles and adventures you and your jeans have gone through). Similarly, I see older faces with wrinkles as more beautiful than picture-perfect skin, because I can see a person’s life story through their wear marks on their face.
I see beauty in texture. Irregularity. Randomness. I prefer curved lines over straight lines. I prefer minimalist compositions and colors. I find off-centered, unsymmetrical things as more beautiful. I find high contrast beautiful.
Of course, this is just me. I’m finding my own aesthetic and definition of beauty by making more pictures that bring me joy. I’m always asking myself,
“Which of my own pictures do I like, and find beautiful…and why?”
Keep asking the “why” question— and you will discover what you find beautiful.
Just shoot it:
- Making Pictures IS Happiness!
- NO EXCUSES.
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