Wednesday, February 16, 2011

SUCCESS- and the seeming lack thereof...

Colin Pantall has a most interesting post on the meaning of... Success! Colin was kind enough to ask moi for my input, and truth be told, despite having a productive exchange, I really couldn't put together anything really coherent- and humor (self deprecatory or otherwise) sometimes has the nasty habit of not translating well via email. So he ultimately, and most understandably chose not to run my reply.*


Do Not Hump

It took a while to realize why my initial response was as scattered as it was. Ask me why I like a picture, and I can tell you, ask me what motivates me and I can probably come up with a reason or two; ask me about success in relation to photography, and uh, well... that's not a particular morsel I've ever savored. It's just not a word I use in the same sentence with me and photography.

Photography is a medium that quite literally demands to be seen. And my work (besides the occasional and much appreciated shout out from the blogoshere) is not uhmm... much in the public eye- via print, gallery, whatever. So it's hard to comment on success, when you haven't really experienced it- particularly by the very means that the medium espouses. And yes, I fully do well realize that there's a helluva lot better, more important work out there that is always scratching and clawing to be seen.

Saying that you do it for yourself is cool- if you also have the occasional independent venue that shows or presents your work. But it can be reduced to a grand masturbatory proclamation if that work doesn't leave the confines of your own domain. And so to continue, to persevere year after anonymous year, Success is a word no longer in your equation, it's a loaded word fraught with self doubt and failure.

How I wonder what Vivian would've had to say!

*Update: Seems there was a bit of miscommunication- Colin (one of the good guys out there in photo blogdom has since posted it), warts and all.

8 comments:

robert said...

I never worked as a professional photographer never sold a print,the few people who have seen some of my prints just say "hey that's a nice one" and flip to the next one. Success for me then is if I can look back a few years later and see something in one of my photos that still resonates with me. I visit here frequently and enjoy your photos and writing.

Stan B. said...

Thanks, Robert! I can pretty much echo your experience, and think it points towards the more important question- what motivates you?

robert said...

From early on when I first started to take photos there was something about looking through that viewfinder and composing the photo that drove me to do it and still does, more so than the result. Great topic Stan, it's making me think !

colin pantall said...

http://colinpantall.blogspot.com/2011/02/what-is-success-part-1-of-2.html

It's in now, Stan. Apologies for the delay.

I HUSTLE AND OTHER THINGS said...

mastubatory satisfaction: I can spend hours posting pictures to my blog and finding a music video that kinda-sort-of vibes with them (sometime that part takes longer;)...then i listen to the music and look at the pictures. If i died today i could say with confidence that my photography was a "success" ... i'm working towards meeting a "real woman" but at least i discovered how to "release" ;) W.

Stan B. said...

No apology needed, Colin- and thank you for the effort of putting that all together...

Robert- Thanks, but it's Colin's thread!

Hustle- Was gonna say TMI, but guess I'll have to accept responsibility for starting us down that particular road...

Eric Rose said...

Ok you've had your 15 minutes of fame now.

Stan B. said...

but... but... I was in the john--
at work!