If you try to impress or please others with your photos; you will end up making boring photos.
Why you must please yourself with your own photos
Horace taught us that everything popular is bad.
Consider– if you want popular acclaim, you must pander to the masses. And generally speaking, the masses have bad taste.
For example if we used popularity as a gauge for the quality of something, then McDonalds would be the best ‘restaurant’ in the world, Starbucks would be the best coffee, and generic photographs (sunsets, puppies, cappuccino photos) would be the best.
Why do we want to impress others with our photos?
This is my theory:
Because we are taught to be ‘selfless’ and being ‘selfish’ is considered evil, the morality of art is this: The only legitimate art is artwork which pleases and impresses others.
It isn’t legitimate for us to make photos to simply please ourselves.
Furthermore, many of us have low self-esteem; and we get suckered into trying to have others applaud our photos, in order to augment our own self-esteem.
It is good to have different taste
Consider– if you have very fine taste, most people won’t appreciate the same things as you.
For example, I like bright/acidic espresso. Most people prefer Starbucks Mocha Frappuccinos with triple pumps of vanilla (with half-skim milk). It isn’t my duty to tell others that they have bad taste. No– just ignore others, and let them drink their diabetes-drinks. Just focus on cultivating your own taste.
I think it is better to have a very small (yet extremely loyal) following, than having trillions of lukewarm followers.
It is your small and loyal following who will spread the word about you, who will attend your workshops, purchase your products, or preserve your work and legacy for future generations.
How to remain self-motivated in your photography
Consider– if you only seek to please yourself with your own photos, you will never run out of motivation.
Why? If you are dependent on getting likes on social media or Instagram, then you will only be motivated by the feedback of others, not your own self-driven motivation!
You must make photos for yourself, to please yourself. I think the most noble form of photography is actually ‘selfish photography‘, because it is the most authentic photos you can shoot.
The more authentic your photos, the more you will show your soul through your photos. Also the more authentic your photos, the more likely they will last– because authenticity is a badge of strength.
Don’t take photography too seriously
Also if you shoot photos to please yourself, they are often more carefree!
The word I like is the French notion of ‘insouciance‘– casual unconcern. Or the Italian notion of ‘sprezzatura‘: artful nonchalance.
As you continue to evolve as a photographer, don’t take your photography too seriously. Treat it like a child; have fun through your photography. This is the ultimate wisdom in photography — to shoot like a child.
Own the means of publishing
Don’t be a slave to Instagram, Facebook, or any other social media network. You must own your own platform; your own publishing platform– if you desire true independence and freedom in your photography and artistic self-expression.
When you own the means of publishing, you no longer need to game the algorithms to find the ‘optimal‘ time to publish/share your photos.
You will have more control over your substance, your artwork, and build more equity in yourself!
What if you sought to displease others with your photos?
A fun idea:
What if you intentionally sought to displease others with your photos?
Of course you wouldn’t just start sharing photos that you don’t like. But — it is an interesting way of thinking:
Don’t seek to impress others with your photos.
Only seek to impress you with your photos. Stay selfish, self-centered, and self-focused.
Do you, and never stop shooting!
And never forget our motto:
JUST SHOOT IT.
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