I’m angry, I am angry at people who call themselves photographers, but lack the talent or education to be good photographers. Wait! I can’t blame those people. I have to blame our culture, so let me rephrase… I am angry at our culture. Its a culture accepting of mediocrity, and maintaing the status quo. Just look at the magazine rack… everything looks exactly the same! We as a society do nothing to better the work we see around us. We are quick to praise a work which deserves no praise (reference the like button), to applaud the creation meaningless, unrefined, banal work, which can be undermined by a five year-old with motor function. So what are the solutions? If we want to create a world full of more meaningful images then we have to cultivate this out of our society. The community has become obsolete, replaced by individuation. Because we are all in this together, we all create the world around us we have to recreate community and I am not talking about more online communities, but rather actually talking to people. Its time to break the paradigm. We have hit the “Levelling” point Soren Kierkegaard talks about. If we don’t rise above this plateau, everything will continue to be meaningless, banal and we will breed nihilism.
So what are my solutions? Education. Mentorship. Responsibility of the individual
Education needs to change. University used to be an institution of high learning. It used to elevate thinking by asking questions, challenging the learner. Now you go to university to get an engineering or commerce degree where you regurgitate the crap from a text book never once in 4 years having had to write something original, and defend it, but a job is available with a bunch other people who also have no back bone with no idea why they are there. Education should be elevating people, inspiring them, recognizing and refining talent. With these things come more meaningful works of art because people understand the world they are apart of while maintaining their individuality so important to ones autonomy.
Mentorship has to be a priority. Artists have no right to criticize this hyper sensory world if they are giving nothing back to the community they are engaged in. Protectionist methods don’t help anyone, it stifles creativity. I am not saying every person who asks you about what kind of camera to buy you have to make time for, but if you want to protect your industry, protect it by giving a student the tools to create quality work, work which has meaning, aesthetically beautiful then the community will grow and flourish and the mediocrity is gone.
The individual has to be responsible for their body of work. When you are beginning your exploration through art it is inevitable you are going to have shitty work, I know I did, I also knew it didn’t hold a candle to the great photographers of the world. You have to look at it critically, you have to accept it can’t all be great, you have to accept people are going to hate it. This doesn’t matter. If you have refined the skills of your work no one can ever say you haven’t worked at your craft. So refine. Make sure it competes with others out there. That said, once you have refined your work. Make sure you have something to say, don’t just create one off images, try to create collections of work. A body of work which at the end of your life you can say. Wow, look what I did! It is longevity which makes the artist legacy.
Its time to start building community again