How do you know if you’re making good photographs? How is it possible to gauge your progress as a photographer without unbiased criticism from family and friends? I’m sure everyone’s heard: ” I love your pictures, you’re such a good photographer.” Additionally, social networks don’t go much further than giving a thumbs up. Honestly, when was the last time you read anything really bad about a photograph posted on social media?
In our millennium generation, image-conscious positive reinforcement world, nobody wants to be a source of negative feedback. So how does the developing photographer know they’re actually producing quality work?
In the early days, before our connected social media world, the art gallery and fine art circuits were about the only way you knew if you were hitting a nerve with your art. If you’ve spent long weekends standing in the hot sun at art fairs, watching the world go by with only a few sales or positive comments, you knew where you stood as an artist pretty quick.
That said, fear and creativity stand side-by-side. I’ve nothing but great things to say about any artists who put their stuff out there for the public to scrutinize.
I myself spent many years on the fine art circuit and was lucky to hit a few good cords with my photography in the early days. It’s a humbling experience, but provided me with the legs I stand on today and one of the reasons Jansen Photo Expeditions was created.
Most people these days live behind the online security of their laptop screens and seldom venture beyond posting their images on social media or submitting them to a contest. What seems to be rarely seen these days by the general public is the print media.
The truth of the matter is, you need an unbiased live support network to excel creatively these days unless you’re prepared to take the plunge into the fine art gallery market and test your steel on what you think is good and what your mom likes.
You need someone to say if its good or not and check your ego at the door. You also need to be with other photographers in a positive learning environment. Camaraderie is great for the learning process. Better yet, find a mentor you respect and listen to what they say, I mean really listen and don’t take it personally especially if they’ve traveled the road you’re about to embark on.
All The best,