theaudience on Flickr.
I read a couple of photoblog articles recently. They were singing the praises of a street photographer who I won’t name because, like all semi-famous folk, he has sycophants. Having dealt with that type of human before, I’d like to avoid having them threaten my family.
His approach to his subject is to stick a flash and lens in a person’s face and photograph the Fight or Flight response. Art knobs call this “humanistic” because they don’t spend much time apart from other art knobs. Which I guess is true. So is photographing someone grunting away on the toilet. But this guy hangs in galleries, gets thousands of dollars for his stuff, and has people writing blog posts justifying his treating his subjects without respect because the results are, as mentioned, “humanistic”. I don’t have any of that, so you can take or leave what I write here as you see fit. I can’t use an argument from authority to convince you.
But it does bring up something that I think is important to remember. If you seek to turn your creative urges into something akin to employment, you have two choices;
1. Do as you please. Have confidence that other people like it and will give you money.
2. Find out what people like and will give you money for. Change what you do to give it to them.
While there are a number of people who succeed at the first, they are far outnumbered by the second. The second route is a time-tested, much more successful path than the first. You want to make money off of your creative urge, that’s the way for you to do it. That small sting you feel is just pride fucking with you.
Okay, there is an alternative. Don’t bother chasing money. Do what you want simply to satisfy yourself. I think this is what you’re more likely to see in hobbyists than anything. For me, I do photography and draw comics when I feel like it for whatever reason strikes me at the time. I’m much more satisfied with what I produce as a result because I’m not killing myself chasing an illusion.
Whatever you decide to do, just don’t go around popping off flashes in people’s face. That’s assholish.