Why: The Significance of Personal Qualities When Creating Art Photographs – Part 2
An artist photographer should never take himself seriously. This is one of the greatest lessons we have learned since we embraced the art photography profession. Being serious in every situation disconnects an individual from reality, and it creates useless negative stress. Being taken seriously also presents a bad image to the general community, as it is unrealistic to present oneself seriously every single minute in the day.
Taking a step back from one's artistic or commercial activity, that is, through humor, helps one to relativize life and creativity. Humor helps to find solutions to complex problems that seem impossible to solve.
Artistic creation is a true challenge because it is necessary to constantly find innovative ideas and renew one’s perspective. As an art photographer, one must always make works that stand out from the crowds of others. This state of permanent imbalance of having to “be different” consumes huge quantities of energy. When a problem arises, perhaps occurring more often than one would like, it must be managed efficiently. While the process of searching is important, it is equally important, if not more so, to reach a solution. Taking a step back through humor is a true asset for an artist photographer to wield.
Never take yourself seriously. This is one of the secrets to succeeding in an artistic career. It's a quality to continually work towards.
Always Remain Positive
To be positive regardless of circumstance is also a major quality for an artist photographer to possess.
Creating artistic photographs is an activity that resembles a roller coaster ride. The ups and downs of successes and failures hurl forward constantly, never stopping. One must possess a great strength of character to persevere through the craziness. Being positive is a tremendous asset. Possessing this state of mind enables one to easily overcome issues.
Being positive is a communicative attitude. When we are positive, we are happy. Interacting with others causes this joy to spread.
We have found that success in our artistic photographic activity has always been linked to a positive attitude. When we talk about success, we are referring to long-term success built upon strong foundations. Evil certainly allows some artists to create works that may be interesting but are often short-lived.
To be positive in all activities provides satisfaction on a personal level. Success and artistic recognition are only consequences of these emotions.
Accepting Criticism Openly
Creating photographic and artistic works can convey messages and express emotions or feelings. It is a personal lifestyle choice involving the desire to show our deep nature and our soul. Artists tend to think that they are always right and that others are wrong. We are a part of this group of people.
An artistic photographer often tends to live in his bubble away from others. He builds a universe that is his own which he can hide from the eyes of others. This is normal behavior, and we think that this is one of the conditions for success in this activity.
Yet, it is necessary and crucial for the photographer to be open to criticism and comments. Criticism, whether negative or positive, open the door to progress, especially when such criticisms are relative and supported with solid arguments. We must always listen to criticisms and comments so that we might analyze the position and perhaps apply it our work. An artistic photographer never takes his work at face value, in fact, he is constantly searching deeper to better refine its quality.
The first thing we ask ourselves when we listen to someone talking about our work is whether they express an opinion or a fact. An opinion is usually personal, as it directly engages only the one who is presenting it. It is unverifiable because it reflects a sensitivity, a bias towards one perspective. An opinion expresses an idea that cannot be proven.
A fact is verifiable. It can be proved. A fact is external to the one who expresses it. It is not the result of an emotion or a personal belief. It can be tested for relevancy.
An artist must always sort through opinions and facts when he receives criticisms concerning his artistic approach. He should never compromise on his artistic approach, his ethics, his values, his emotions, and the messages he wants to convey.
However, he may question the way he showcases his work. This is technical.
Let's take a concrete example. Suppose an artistic photographer wishes to highlight emotions with the use of contrast. If he receives criticism involving facts about his management of contrasts, he should listen to the advice and perhaps alter his method.
On the other hand, if he receives criticism based on emotions that he is trying to portray to the viewer, this is viewed as an opinion as it is personal. He should listen, but he has every right to ignore it because it engages only the speaker of the opinion and not necessarily the subject of such opinions.
Comments and criticism are essential in the artistic construction of a person. They allow photographers to improve artistic technique, reinforce vision and present his works. He must sort through what he hears without taking such criticisms personally. The photographer must remain positive.
The Purpose of Perfection
Perfection is not the goal of a project. The purpose of artistic photography is to create works of art that will be shared with an audience. If an artist chooses perfection as a goal, he will never show his works to an audience, because they will never be ready. Indeed, perfection is an unrealistic goal that cannot be achieved. All works are essentially perfectible.
An artist will always find a point to correct, change or improve in his works. It is a fact. We are the first conscious of it. We created photos many years ago. Now that we have made progress, we tell ourselves that we should change them. It would be an unforgivable mistake because this return to the past would prevent us from moving forward.
The search for perfection is above all to learn and progress to avoid reproducing errors. In any case, the search for perfection is to take back works already created.
An artist can always perform better. To be a perfectionist is not to seek immediate perfection, but to reach towards it as best as one can with all the tools at one's disposal and to avoid repeating mistakes of the past. Perfection is a long-term goal.
The creation of artistic photographic works requires many personal qualities that an artist can learn to develop, maintain, and improve. The qualities of listening and perseverance are certainly the most important. We think that it is necessary to continually question oneself considering the opinions and facts of others’ feedback. Nevertheless, one must carefully consider whether that criticism should change a detail within the work, as our work should be shaped, but not motivated solely by others. Thus, our choices, our perfection, and our ethics should be our own.