Have Faith in your Art

Date June 8, 2010

I am the editor for The Music Matters Project, a not for profit music photography benefit project out of Arizona in conjunction with Sweet Relief a benefit for terminally ill recording artists out of California. Today I wrote a post on art, what it means, and why we, as artists, need to have faith in our work. Here’s an except to the original post.

hotography is art (sure there’s a science to it, but it’s truly art.) Photogs like Jim Marshall or Annie Leibovitz have certain styles that some people adore and others abhor. In the 20s & 30s people didn’t understand Picasso and in the 60s people didn’t understand why Warhol would want to paint soup cans. Art is made for the artist. Unless you have a client asking for a specific shot, the photographer makes the image that he or she sees through their artistic eye. We make images because we have to, not because it’s a chore or a punishment. We create art and release it into the world like a child leaving home for the first time. We don’t make excuses for our art or worry what people will think. Once the photograph is unleashed to the world it can take on a life of its own; some people will love it and some people will hate it. Some people will criticize it while others will praise it.

As photographers we need to have confidence in our work. We need to have faith in our art and send it out into the world. We all have those images that we feel are just average and then someone saw it and loved it. We wondered why. It’s because different people interpret art differently. We have those images we adore and our partners just shrug when we show them, the Flickr groups never make a single comment, and the shot is buried for only us to love. Then there are other shots we aren’t even sure we should submit to a contest, post online, or share with anyone because we just don’t know, but you know what? Sometimes that’s the shot that’ll make all the difference.

Several years ago a writer developed a storyline that he loved. He thought the world would love it. He worked on his art for years, but no one wanted it. He became disparaged. He married, loved his wife and sired a daughter. They had little money as he worked on his art. Finally a publisher sent it back and asked for revisions. He got irate and threw his manuscript in the trash. He was done. The world didn’t want his art. He had lost his confidence, but his wife hadn’t lost her faith in him. She pulled that manuscript from the trash and had him make the changes. He then sent his art back into the work. It was accepted. At first by the publisher and later by millions of people worldwide. That first book was Carrie. The man was Steven King.

If we hide our art away, our photography, no one will have the chance to love it. Had Jim Marshall not picked up a camera in high school, would Woodstock have become so iconic? Had Gertrude Stein not purchased odd looking art from a homeless street artist, would the world have ever seen Guernica?

The Music Matters Project was begun because the photographers and musicians involved love art. We love the idea of capturing an emotion, an image, a moment. We love art, music, photography just like you.

You have that photograph on your computer, usb drive or storage device that you think isn’t good enough, that we wouldn’t want. You’re second guessing yourself. You will never know what others think of your photographs without letting others see them. Release your art into the world. Be happy with your work, and be ok with others seeing it.