When I finally reached an age with some acquired wisdom, I decided I would just do my photography for myself and not care whether my work was liked or sellable. That was a very liberating decision for me. – Cara Weston
In my previous blog post, I talked about reevaluating my photographic goals and my approach to them. I reviewed some great advice from the replies on the blog, social media, and privately.
I tried to distill the joy I feel from my photography to its essence: Why was I doing this? What was it about the medium that made me happy? I had mentioned that my goal one day was to be in a museum collection. That would still be fantastic, but I realized that was clouding my judgment. I was trying to think of strategies and tactics to accomplish that goal.
Ugh. Just reading that last sentence makes me ill.
Strategies, tactics, agonizing over gear and methodology. How would it all be perceived by gallery owners, fine art collectors, curators? I was spending way to much emotional energy on these – it was physically draining me. It wasn’t about the art itself anymore.
Peter Liepke, David Pitcher and others encouraged me to just concentrate on making the photos that make me happy and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. The rest will take care of itself. That’s not to say that I won’t market myself – I will – I just want the images to be first and foremost.
One of the things I was fighting against in the fine art world was being perceived as a “Holga photographer”. To be honest, this pissed me off to no end. I’m a photographer. Period. What does it matter what gear I use? Does a chef have to declare what type of pan he used to create an amazing meal?
So the other decision I made was to not discuss gear at all. I use a variety of gear – whatever I need to use in order to get the vision out of my head and on to paper. I’m simply not going to talk about it because it inevitably leads down a path that I find incredibly boring.
Will I continue to use a Holga? Possibly. Possibly not. Doesn’t matter.
Will I enter competitions that focus on toy cameras? No, sorry. That would only reinforce a label I detest.
The vision is getting clearer and my heart is feeling better. I think my photography will be better as a result.