“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” — Edgar Degas
It has been a slow awakening, a coming into the light. And it has been fairly difficult. I am a photographer. I know how to use my equipment. I know my way around post-processing software. I have refined my photographic eye. But I am no artist.
I have spent decades refining this craft. Most of that has been joy, as I have described on these and other pages. Experiences of living, of traveling, of encountering and of discovery most often include peering into a glass or electronic peephole, manipulating compositions, altering shadows and highlights, and capturing it for all of posterity. It has been a photographic… pardon the cliche… journey.
The quest to improve as a photographer is big business. This desire is fuel to an industry that seeks to move gear, instructional supports, travel workshops, and a million other associated products and services. The fundamental equation is this: buy X and you will become a better photographer. I’ve wanted that. Many want that. Many. It’s big business.
Joey described his recent decision (see here), a shedding of sorts, to focus on artistry. And not all the rest.
As for me…
… I’m following down a similar path. I’m seeing big business for what it is. And I’m shedding it too. I once considered myself a teacher to Joey but our roles have spun around to this point in time. I am following him forward onto unfamiliar footing.
There’s competency in the craft. There’s mastery too. But then there’s the artistry. And photographic artists may or may not be masters of their gear or the software we need in this digital age to bring images to life. That all helps but it is not the way to artistry.
What exactly is artistry? For me, I’ve been increasingly pondering this simple definition: it’s having something to say. It’s finding and then expressing something that is important, unique, relevant… interesting.
So I’m forgoing the purchases. Big business is going to miss me.