How to have my photography appreciated, or mean something?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
fferreres Veteran Member • Posts: 6,944
Re: How to have my photography appreciated, or mean something?

river251 wrote:

Please don't get down on me for this, it's a bit of soul searching I'm doing as I move toward getting back into photography. I have not been doing much for a few years.

Essentially, I end up with thousands of photographs stored on my hard drives. There are a handful that I think are pretty good shots that I enjoy looking at. I'm lucky to live in a spot where, with the scenery here, I can go out and take great numbers of beautiful photos---give credit to the environment. But putting the effort into going out and shooting, or carrying my gear along as I travel, seems in part pointless. I don't exhibit at galleries, I don't sell photographs at the farmer's market---generally nobody sees my photos. And this seems to me like practicing guitar but never playing out at clubs, restaurants, etc.

I've had a decent camera for ten years, and was able to recently upgrade to something nicer. But the prospect of getting out with it has me asking, "for what?" I want people to see and appreciate my work (well not everyone would like every photo but you know what I mean). When people like it, and even better if somebody bought something---even for $10, I would feel actualized from my photography. It would feel good to work at it. I have a decent income from my day job; I'm not out to make a lot of money from my photography. But if nobody likes it, or even sees it, it all seems a bit without purpose.

I think I'm past the point of enjoying it for the pleasure in the process, and liking the occasional good shot for my own pleasure. I like it when I learn a new song on the guitar, and know that I may play it in public, by booking a gig. But how to get my photography similarly presented to and appreciated by the public? I've taken photography classes at the local college, and could probably put a photo or two in their show. But what if I did? What if I won? Then what? It seems like that would provide limited satisfaction for a few times, at best.

When I'm shooting, not only do thousands of shots accumulate on my drives, but thousands of other people are shooting and producing thousands of photos too. I feel my work is lost among the ocean of photographs out there. And there are many photographers who are breathtakingly good, at a level I am far from. Many of them are regulars here. I do spend time looking at DPReview members' work quite a bit.

I've been mulling about posting this, and finally did......


This is a very interesting, genuine and profound question. My take is that besides documenting stuff you care, which will limit you to a phone and family shots, or something driven externally (eg. racing car photos), photographers are like explorers.

We've documented so much, that the only place it's happening is in the ultra extra small, ultra hot or and ultra cold, ultra far away, the ultra fast (movies of light beams in slow motion), the uber ultra deep or the ultra dense/obstructed.

This is why Hubble is so well known, or why most have seen the photo of our black hole at the core of our galaxy, or the ultra transparent medusa (or what is it?) from the deep see that's all over the news. Of course, news is being in the right place, and increasingly...surveillance footage or randoms person in the right place.

I think the ultra high res ultra corrected lenses is like having ultra mega uber resolution version of Starwars (the original trilogy, not the Disney anti-Starwar ideology remakes), pretty pointless, unless for specific situations.

I wonder the same thing, and for now, portraits are the most important aspect because they are unique, and people change all the time, and they are all very interesting. This is also why I like older simpler, prime lenses a lot. But this may only matter to the person the shoot or knows the subject well - although that varies.

All this is why video (including drones) is seeing more action, as photography is quite covered, although yes, there's still a lot of nice photos and creators, it's billions of interesting photos. Stock photo sites also show how it's been commoditized.

Still, images are extremely powerful. It's just that we've seen so much, and there's so much out there, that it's very hard to do something very novel, at least for the vast majority.

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