On relevance, like-whoring, ambition. A requiem for a recovering professional photographer.

Sometimes I wonder if the images I make have any relevance or weight at all. I see countless images of moody bridges and breasts that get far more attention and piles of “likes” than anything I’ve done. I also realize just what a sociopath social media can turn people into. Why is it important for my work to be “liked”? For one thing all photographers, and I’m no exception, have ego issues; we’re committed to what we do and those of us who continually make an effort are good at it. We like to have that effort recognized – nothing exceptional there.

I also realize that the work I produce is not all kittens, moody bridges and breasts – in fact, none of that really. My images are a little hard and worn, sometimes difficult and certainly not pictorial or scenic – and my honest goal is not to be a “scenic” or trendy photographer – never has been and that fact alone should temper my strange and unsettling want of attention. My work is document, portrait and the communication of fleeting moments that has passed before me.

Maybe if I were still a working professional photographer it’d be different. I stopped my studio and editorial practice decades ago, long before most of the photographers I see were even a sly smile over the edge of a wine glass in their parent’s eyes. It was film and craft then and it still is if one chooses to approach it that way – well, minus the film on most occasions, but you get the idea. Perhaps it wouldn’t matter to me as much, if at all if I were actually making a living by my photographic work. No idea at this point.

So, why the like-whoring urge? Also no idea. The need/want to have one’s work recognized for what it is. To re-enter the field as a working journalist/photographer but not getting anywhere. It’s a long slow process coming back from an absence from active professional photography. The profession has changed and digital imaging is a huge driver of that change. I’m still getting used to it all.

Still, it’s something to think about.

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