I had a photo on exhibit at a local photographic art venue and I took the director up on the offer for a portfolio review. I knew it was a mistake as soon as I saw their eyes glaze over as they looked at my nature photos.
It seemed that most people in the photographic art world saw all nature photos the same. Whether it was a me-too photo of Mesa Arch or a compelling intimate landscape that they had never seen before, it was all the same to them.
So, for the past few years I’ve been moving away from nature photographs and doing more abstract images. This hasn’t taken a lot of effort or self-denial because I love doing abstract images–but I also love taking nature images.
I recently had the great good fortune to come in contact with one of the principals putting together a number of History of Boulder Visual Arts exhibits. I had wanted some advice about picking images for an upcoming exhibit. She looked at my website, at my abstract images and at my nature images and she saw no difference. She even pointed out the abstract qualities of some of my nature images. It was a revelation. I wasn’t just another guy waiting for the sunset at Tunnel View. She saw me as an artist.
Being an artist means being intensely inner-directed. You can’t make art and be too concerned with what others will think or what will sell. You have to please your heart first.
At the same time, when someone sees your art and gets it, they also get you, and the validation is very powerful. So during the week I still go out and photograph grasses, creeks, rocks and stuff, but when I have more time, I’m indulging my love of the Colorado high country and taking nature photos.
It’s the best of both worlds.