For many years, I have studied the work of Alfred Stieglitz. He was a very important character in the development of modern photography and modern art. Among his many accomplishments he owned galleries that gave Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin and Henri Matisse all got their first American exposure. He also mounted one of the first exhibitions of photos by Ansel Adams. He married painter, Georgia O’Keeffe and his nudes featuring her have sold for more than $1.4 million.
Let’s face it. The world has become an ugly place. People are divided by just about everything. Tribalism has run amok. Some people seem so committed to their tribe that nothing else matters. Multiply all that by 10 if you spend any time in the online photography forums. It’s bound to make some of you unhappy. Believe it or not, this very negatively impacts your photography.
Whether you know it or not, if you’re a serious photographer, at least some part of your work has been influenced by the great photographers of yesteryear.
If you do something for more than 40 years, chances are, you’ll learn a thing or two about it. In the field of photography, that counts in spades. No matter how much time I spend behind a camera, no matter how well I am doing in my career, I find myself always learning. And it’s in that learning that I personally find happiness.
I have been visiting Bosque del Apache, National Wildlife Refuge for longer than many of you have been alive. Over the years it has been a great love affair. And like any love affair, it has both elated and frustrated me. At times I have been angry at it and yet most of the time it gives me warm fuzzies all over. It’s a love/hate relationship that is so up and down because it is a place that reminds me (regularly) that as a bird photographer, I rarely have ANY control over the conditions I work in.
As we speak, AI is becoming a bigger part of our world, and yes even the photography world. We’re not quite to the point where robots take good pictures, but that is coming. We do have automated features in most modern cameras that replace the skill that used to be required to achieve certain photographic results.
With a hat tip to Seth Godin, I want to mention a simple point today. Validation is overrated. What someone else thinks of you or your work doesn’t have to have a negative impact on your life. Period. Why? Because there can be only one YOU and only YOU can know if your work is true to your own heart. The way to find out whether or not you “have it” is to just do it! Only YOU can give someone else permission to hurt you.