Don't be a fad

November 02, 2014  •  Leave a Comment
I love how a creative brain works. There's something magical about watching people think and problem solve almost as if I can see the wheels turning while they figure things out. 

Even though every person is so different I think it's truly amazing to watch someones journey and growth pattern.
Some skill sets have a more distinct learning pattern than others and I definitely see a pattern in photography. Because of social media it's a whole lot easier to watch growth online as it's happening.
Photographically speaking i'm finding that people are putting their work out there right away. Sometimes way before they're ready even if they think they're ready and basing the success off of how many "likes" the image gets. Social media is a sneaky, tricky, addictive thing. It can make or break a person. Steve Maraboli says 


“I am self-propelled; fueled from within. I appreciate people’s opinions, but I’m not attached to them. I learned a long time ago that if I give them the power to feed me, I also give them the power to starve me.”   

To me that quote explains about the power we give people based on their opinions. Opinions that come from fads (most of the time.)
So what's my point? What causes that? Could be a whole mix of things. In my opinion insecurity, pride and the need/want to fit in are probably at the top of the list.  When you add social media to that mix it's like adding gasoline to a fire.

I'm thankful that the love of photography is spreading like wild fire but it seems these days everyone and their mother has a photography page. You know what I mean. Someone gets a DSLR for Christmas or their birthday, take a couple nice shots with that nice creamy background and all of a sudden everyone says "you should really start charging for your photos you do great work". I get that. Everyone starts somewhere and i'm not trying to crush dreams here. But lets be realistic and put this into perspective. I make an excellent batch of chocolate chip cookies should I open a bakery? Heck no.

My point is... I recently shared an article about how amateur photographers are ruining the business. 
Find article here ( 
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/business/media/30photogs.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 )
My take on the article? Who do I think is to blame for ruining the photography business? Pride, SOCIETY and social media. I strongly feel that society is uneducated on what a quality image is. 
This is where my brain kind of struggles. As an artist I do understand that art is in the eye of the beholder.
As i've learned more and more about photography I look back at things that I spent hours on, thought looked great and now look terrible l to me.
My eye was not trained to see if and image was exposed properly, if the white balance was off or heck I couldn't even see some times that an image wasn't even in focus. Seems crazy right? I mean you would be shocked at how many people don't notice if images are even in focus!

This is that sneaky and blind "fad pattern."
Person spends hours on image
Shares with friends and family
Friends and family confuse their love for that person with their love for the image
Friends and family are in awe at their loved ones work.
OR friends and family confuse their love for the subject not love for the image.


 

It's like that "perfect" hair style in the 80's you thought was spectacular (did you sort of cringe and smile at the same time?)
Seriously I had a perm in the early 90's. Bad.bad idea. Don't even get me going on wind pants, fanny packs and winker jeans. Don't know what winker jeans are? Google it... it's a weird pair of pants where eyes are painted under the butt cheeks so when you walk it looks like they're winking. Told you. Weird.

Anyway there's a difference between timeless and a fad no matter what the era is and no matter what the product or business.

Fads are unavoidable

I get that!
BUT WHY

fadnoun - an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived and without basis in the object's qualities; a craze.
  1.  
  2. Fads are (imho) The fuel to the fire (fads) is that people are getting their only feed back from peers that support what they love. We all have that one friend that will tell us exactly what we want to hear and we have that other friend that tells us what we need to hear. Yup. A name may or may not have popped into your head on that one. And that's cool. We need that balance of people in our life. Especially when it comes to any type of business. People that love you but will give you constructive criticism are EXTREMELY beneficial to have in your life.

Right now social media is stuffing fads down your throat while you have to search really hard for good quality stuff. And even if you see the good quality stuff you may not recognize it as quality because it's in the minority these days. Hard work and an open mind WILL pay off. You just have to be patient and WILLING to learn.

Here is a letter to new photographers I found written by a woman named Lauren. I loved her perspective. She points out how much hard work it is to run a business and it's so true. So many people up and coming expect it to happen over night. So of course someone that has been working 10+ years is going to get cranky when the amateur doesn't want to wait it out.


http://photographyconcentrate.com/an-open-apology-to-new-photographers/

For those of you that are truly eager to learn, and grow in any aspect of your life... not just photography.
Find a mentor.
Find someone that knows what they're talking about, cares about you and cares about the goal you're working towards.

 


We will never know anything until we ADMIT how little we know.


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