In response to the original question I would say no. To me there would be no point in it for me. That does not mean that a lot of people see my work, but I strive to expose people to it. Through exchanges, gifts, people at my home and my limited commercial work. I see my photography as no different than any other struggling artist such as a writer, actor or other visual artist. I may be no more successful then a thousand fledgling writers sending manuscripts to publishing houses, or actors perpetually going to auditions. I feel that I have something to share that is unique and is at least worthy of being seen and appreciated by others.
Now I find myself doing more work for money just to share what I enjoy. Building cameras, portraiture, some commercial and documentary work. I don't consider myself a professional photographer, but I get recommendations from time to time, and that leads to also selling the occasional personal piece.
The other thing producing work for others leads to is creating a lot of relationships with other photographers and people who appreciate what you do. That is why I want to get back into some of the alternative processes.
I think there is a far greater appreciation for the beauty and uniqueness of Plt/Pd, Ambrotypes, Daguerrotypes, and prints from wet plate collodion. Just another way to share what I love to do.
To the original question....
Would I still photograph? Yes. Would it still be as meaningful for me? No, not at all. I like to photograph things that would be completely unseen if they weren't photographed. My images tend to be somewhat metaphorical. I look for power in small moments (and in small people). It's not just that the moment is fleeting; it's that the moment wouldn't have been a moment at all. Does that make any sense? I photograph because I have something important to say, about my subjects and about myself. If no one ever saw those images, I wouldn't have accomplished anything.
I use to make them for everyone else. Now I just make them for me, but interesting enough, more people like them now.
Originally Posted by EricR
I like that
It is not tradition that secures the survival of our craft, its the craft that secures the survival of our traditions.
It does make sense to me.
Originally Posted by Cheryl Jacobs
I will disagree that you wouldn't have accomplished anything. I think that every success that we have, as defined in our own eyes, *must* expand our consciousness and improve - make our conception of our worlds - a little clearer.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
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I do agree that the process of learning to see, and expressing a thought improves me as a person. Opens my eyes and makes me more aware. That's why I would continue making these photographs even if no one saw them but me.
I will disagree that you wouldn't have accomplished anything.
But I should clarify my statement. Let's change it to "I wouldn't have accomplished what I feel that I want and need to accomplish." I would see it a bit like spending a lifetime gaining wisdom and insight, gathering wonderful experiences and learning volumes from them.... and never sharing any of it with another soul. What a loss that would be!
Yes, with no regrets. I do it to please myself first and foremost. If someone else likes it, that is just an extra.
To the first question: No.
I consider the person I will be in a week, a month, a year, a decade -- to be a stranger to the person I am now. That unknown person is my #1 client, and if I couldn't send him anything I wouldn't bother.
The short answer...YES!
Originally Posted by photomc
I shoot for myself. When the work shows and/or sells thats great but that's not why I shoot.
There is no better feeling in the world then how great I feel when I'm creating an image.
One thing I would point out though is that photography is a visual communication between the photographer and the viewer. If no one ever sees your work, then there is no communication and something is lost.
The reason for making photographs depends on the one doing the making. Does one want to make photographs? Or, does one need to make photos?
I believe that people want to make photographs to remember an event or a person, etc. The person that needs to make photographs falls somewhere on Mazlow's hierarchy, albiet bent to the world of mage capturing...
Where you're at on the hierarchy dictates why you make photographs...and impacts the result...
Bartender, one more, please...
Fixer scented Glade; for those that just can't leave the darkroom.