How to have my photography appreciated, or mean something?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
marcio_napoli Senior Member • Posts: 1,877
The need for more is not coming from outside

Well, disclaimer: my post is my POV in life and personal journey.

If you find anything useful here, you'll have to mold it to your own ways and wants in life.

I'm suggesting just the base, the platform.

But I'll get there at the end why I find it's genuine, honest, valuable advice to the OP and honestly, anyone.

From 2007 to 2014 I was a pro (2010-2014 is a bit more accurate).

For multiple reasons that don't need discussing now, I had to quit in 2014 and move 700 km back to my parent's home.

That obviously ended my career and buried all my hard work under a mountain of granite.

Just before quitting, I was starting to have a name of my own, shooting for brands with national weight.

Here's what I'm talking about:

After quitting and moving to my parent's house, I was the definition of depression.

Stage 1:

Had nothing to shoot, even though I kept all my gear.

You'd see a guy wandering around the block, with a Phase One and high end Nikons, shooting immensely mundane things, like walls and street signs.

And with the most depressing face you could find.

I was sorry for myself, got to the rock bottom and it felt like that every single day.

Stage 2:

1 year later, I said enough is enough.

If fashion was always my thing, then I had to organize my own shoots again.

Started climbing out of the pit.

At first, calling friends and girls from my gym for some free shoots.

I was shooting again, but the depression was still devastating.

From an ex-pro shooting for decent sized brands and actual commercial campaigns, to free shoots for local gym girls, yeah, I was definitely unhappy.

Tried my best to climb the ladder: finding better models, better people to be on my amateur crew, better locations...

I was using all my pro experience to build better shoots again, even if it remained 100% at an amateur form.

That phase took place between 2015 - 2018.

Stage 3:

Then something magical happened, in November 2018.

I created a shoot that was nothing short of a dream.

I finally put all the pieces together and made, as an amateur, something (much) better than ever I did in my pro days.

The shoot above was made inside the studio.

Not a forest, not a location.

It was a studio.

The whole process was described in full details here:

Forest shoot:


Stage 4:

That ignited where I am now.

I worked so hard to rebuild a standard of quality, to be surrounded by good talents again, that I'm now at a higher level than I ever was as a pro.

Mind you: still 100% as an amateur, since 2014.

I've learned how to build things, "movie" sets from scratch.

Just by trial and error, and persistence, and focus and hard work.

It's not coming for free:

It ate tons of my personal money, time, and sweat.

Some of these shoots took as long as 2 years to set up, like this one from a month ago:

model: Sthefani Bigai @sthebigai

That set was not done by sitting in a chair and crying.

I had to learn how to build it from the ground up, sculpting and building each and every inch of it manually.

The shoot took 2 years to happen, between having the idea on a paper, and finally taking place on a magical Sunday.

Don't want to sound a douch#, but this is an amateur shoot that you simply won't find anything close to that on Vogue's pages.

Photography is fed from passion.

The video I posted the other day briefly tells this journey of never giving up your dreams, going through all those phases since 10 years ago:


So what exactly I'm telling you?

That a voice inside your head saying "is this all there is to it?", that voice a lot of times can only be eased when you chase a goal.

I'm not saying you have to build sets, or start a channel, shoot models, not that of course.

But you can't let it drain you by doing nothing.

When I was still shooting amateur girls in 2016, I said a thousand times to myself I only wanted to have nice images and put them in a printed photobook.

Nothing more.

Ask me if that worked? Of course not.

I want to work harder, not easier.

The harder I worked, the more I understood it needed to be more than a book on the desk only I will ever see and care about.

So if you have a voice in your head, find a project, and commit to it 100%.

No disrespect to anyone, but a lot of times people just accept photography should be easy and fun, and be okay with it like that.

Photography is like any other form of art, it requires passion, sweat, commitment.

If you don't do 100% of yourself, it won't give you back a 100% reward.

My journey has always been with fashion.

But if landscape is your thing, do the whole package that Adams did.

Plan, wake up 3 a.m., shoot larger formats, travel far, climb, hike, don't measure sweat, don't count grams on your gear's weight, sleep in the freezing mountain. Do what Adams would do.

If documentary is your thing, do what a Magnum photographer would do. Find fishermen, go with them on the boat, spend a week on open sea, create a whole, dense, intense project that says something more.

Then find another theme, put your @ss into it in the same hard working way.

If (insert your thing here), etc etc, do as above.

You got the idea.

A lot of times people are unhappy because they treat photography like it should be just easy fun.

It is. A lof of it.

But sooner or later you may ask yourself if fun is all there is to it... what about being more, and satisfying a larger goal and wants?

Sometimes that need for appreciation from others, is not really coming from others.

The meaning you're trying to find is not praise in social media. It is praise from yourself.

It's the hardest judge that is talking a bit louder: yourself.

Hope the message is not too blunt, but I trully believe the more you commit to something (even a hobby which should be fun), the more this something will reward you back.

Commit at maximum, and fun will be maximum.

Sorry about typos and bad grammar: my cat is asking attention on the keyboard haha

Best regards,

-- hide signature --

Marcio Napoli _ fashion photographer . indie filmmaker
NEW video just posted:
check it out my You Tube channel:
Aliens (acclaimed short film_near 700K views on YT):

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