Freedom in photography
When we first started doing photographs it was the excitement of learning something new, mastering a creative skill, while also playing with the latest technology. As time went by and we became familiar with the process, camera and gear, you seem to always want more.
The next step once you’ve “mastered” something is to seek recognition. Whether recognition comes from a circle of friends, a community or online media channels, approval is what we seek to, in order to convince ourselves that our work is good and has a voice. So you start posting your photos to Instagram, 500px or Facebook (or even contests for that matter) in hope that they get noticed.
But, in a world where everybody makes images and millions of people uploading quality work on Instagram every day, the chances that someone will notice you are very slim.
But then, the question is, why do we seek recognition? Why do we keep forgetting the reason for which we started to make photographs in the first place and we get caught up in the trap of getting approval from others? Is it because of the way we were raised (punishment and reward education) or maybe because of what we see around us (competition environment)?
When further thinking about this, you reach to the conclusion that it is a little bit of both. I can’t forget my mother telling me, each time I am doing something with passion, let’s say running: if you run each day, go and compete on a marathon, do something “meaningful” with this hobby. Same with photography: if you spend so much time and money taking photographs, why don’t you do an exposition, a workshop, YouTube video or compete in a contest.
This sense of competition ruins everything around us and takes away the freedom of doing something just because you love it and not because of instant recognition. The satisfaction of doing things for yourself, for the experience, because it makes you a better human being is so far from the culture we live in, that seems impossible to believe and achieve.
Although it might be nice to have an exposition, to share your work with a community, the purpose of doing the work should not be to please other people. We still struggle with this ourselves when we look at our art but the first step from our point of view is to ask yourself the question “Why I am doing photographs?”. Coming back to this question over and over again is enough to get to the truth of why you put the work and effort in the first place and can help you reach the freedom of creating art for no one else than yourself.
We often receive the question, “did you ever make any money from the photographs you are doing?”. Our answer is always no. Not only we haven’t made any money from photography but we spent a lot in gear, photography trips, prints and we learned to not be frustrated by this at all.
We do images because we love the process, we love being outside capturing nature or documenting people and places and we do this for our own satisfaction. We keep our website updated and we revise our portfolio constantly to reflect our recent work, we don’t participate in contests and we post on Instagram once a week, but we don’t do the work to be shown to others, we chose the freedom to do photography for ourselves.
This is just food for thought for all of us. In the era of instant gratification, do you choose the freedom or the recognition?