Rsources and inspiration #4: ‘Artists want to create art, not run a business’

Motto: Beginnings are hard. Transitions even more so. David DuCheminVisionmongers. Making a life and a living in photography.

In the monthly post with the theme ‘resources and inspiration’ from May, I was wondering what do I really have to say through photography and writing. I don’t think I arrived to a conclusive answer. And maybe it’s better this way. These questions are important, as well as looking for answers.

In the meanwhile two of my photos were selected for a Photography Exhibition in Romania and I had to come up with a description of my activity and my outlook as photographer…using 500 signs (spaces included! 🙂 At first, my mind went blank. After a few days during which I ‘distilled’ words and sentences, I came up with this, which, for now, I think it describes me quite well:

I’ve always been attracted to photography. But it was just like those treasures that you have to look for on faraway and winding roads in order to find them in the end in your own house. Why do I photograph? What do I have to say through photography? I am still looking for an answer. I think it’s about looking at the spectacle of the world with my heart and mind open, with endless curiosity; it means to search, to capture and to share the essence of this world, of things that move us, in spite of all the differences.

In any case, I will keep looking for an honest answer to the questions what and why do I photograph.

In the meanwhile, the questions that are on my mind every day took to a more mundane ‘flavor’, that is: how will I pay my bills? How disappointing, isn’t it? Following the poetic speeches about inspiration, creativity and follow you dream to… the supermarket’s cashier. Because that’s where we draw the line, isn’t it? But speaking of money (oh my, I really said the damned word) when it comes to art / photography is kind of uncool, isn’t it? Art and money seem to exist in different worlds. Or if you make a work of art that sells, words like “commercial”, compromise”, “selling your vision/soul” loom over. Or maybe they might say who do you think I am to think of making money out of photography when well experienced photographers say it is so so hard? Besides, nobody has ever heard of me. Maybe doing what you like AND earning money from it is really impossible. The thing is that in the beginning of this year, when I started full time with photography and I built this website, I just wanted to do what I like (as long as my savings allow it). Actually, to discover what I like (which for most of people, me included, it is not as easy as it seems) I didn’t have a business plan, objectives and expectations. Everything was improvised and the only criteria was authenticity. This is what I was (and am) looking for. To live according to my true self, that including my work, the place where I live (that’s where I came back to Romania), the people that I have around me, the environment in which I chose to live. Choices, chances, oh my, why can’t they be easier?! Everything is so unsure that you oscillate from the highest enthusiasm for your ideas to the deepest panic and despair that you’re never gonna make it….all this in the same day 🙂 As David duChemin was saying Beginnings are hard, transitions even more so.

And now a new change, a new transition will follow for me. These days I stopped a bit and I took an honest look at what I did until now with photography and I said to myself….it is not enough. Believe me, it is not so nice to say such things to yourself. And then not give up, fall into the trap of self-pity or excuses. I decided that I need to focus – besides this blog and the photos that I am doing now – on commercial and stock photography. I need to build a new website and learn new stuff about photography. But more about this soon.

So here come the articles that inspired me and made me ponder this month, hope they will inspire you too:

– An article about why artists fail at business, which gave the title of my Friday post: Artists want to create art not run a business. And more:

Artists fight exactly what they need to do. Most often in business and in life the thing you don’t want to do is the thing you most need to do in order to succeed.

What keeps you from walking up to the hottest girl at the bar and introducing yourself? What stops you from giving the cute dude on the train your number? What stops you from eating yellow snow? The same reasons may be what keep you from calling potential clients or sponsors on the phone and introducing yourself. The same reason may keep you from taking your life savings and investing it in your company. The same thing might be keeping you from quitting your day job to pursue your passion.

– An article by photographer Eric Kim that really makes you ponder: “Validation is for parking not for street photography”, about why acceptance/validation from others is so important for us, human beings and what part this plays in the the photos we take or how we judge the value of our photos.

– An article from the website Modern Tog (full of useful advices for photographers) about the excuses we say to ourselves in order to justify why we do not succeed as photographers (but I think it applies to other kinds of artistic jobs as well). I admit that I said to myself at least once (ok, many times) most of the excuses on this list: I don’t have a good enough camera, I am too shy/introvert/pessimistic to go out there and find those clients, I am not as good as.., I am afraid I won’t succeed and I’ll feel like shit, nobody will appreciate my work, nobody will pay me and so on. Have you aver made these excuses and gave up from the start (or on the way) to do something that you really wanted?

– And if we want to leave excuses behind, here is an article by Chris Guilbeau from the Art of Non-Conformity, where he speaks from his own experience about the steps you need to take in order to start your own business. I like his direct and practical style, it give you courage or to put it bluntly, it kicks you in the butt to stop postponing, stop fearing and just go for it: take your ideas seriously and do something!

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