Blog

Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Predictions

I find it intriguing that I can’t seem to predict what photographs people are going to like. Before I started selling some of my prints, I knew what I liked and I thought I knew what images others would find appealing. In fact, I was sure I could predict which images would sell and which would not.

I was wrong. Very wrong. I am not quite sure what this means. Clearly, the obvious reason is that people just have different tastes; different even within a specific genre of photographs, like landcapes. During the few art shows where I have offered my work for sale, I have witnessed large errors in my predictions about what images I thought people would purchase.

A couple could be really examining a print, while inside I might be saying “not that one, that one isn’t even close to being my best work, not one of my favorites”, and yet they are strongly attracted to it. Please don't misunderstand, I am not putting images out there that I don't think are my strongest efforts, it is just that by the time you make more than one image there are some that, for one reason or another, you tend to prefer.

While somebody is looking at a print I may be thinking “this portion of the image is too light…or dark….or lacks enough detail….or isn’t as colorful as it should be” and they are (hopefully) thinking “this really makes me feel ______or this really conveys a feeling of ______(fill in the blanks).

Perhaps the artist has to put their work out there and then ‘let go’ of it. Maybe, in some way, the umbilical cord needs to be cut so that when an image is completed there is no longer constant re-evaluation of the work. Certainly critical assessment is important, but there is surely a point at which it may become counterproductive.

I think that it is very likely that an artist or photographer can get too attached to their images and what went into their making; to the point that it can obscure, at least in my mind, why it was that I had decided to make a print in the first place and what it was meant to convey. Maybe, to really appreciate one’s own work, you have to first learn how to let it go and then come back to it free of all the baggage!