An Artist's Responsibility
Text & Photographs By Lawrence Gard  © All rights reserved.

There can be no doubt that artists, including photographers, bear great responsibility. First of all, an artist must decide upon and establish an artistic vision that truly represents her or his creative goals. To accomplish this, there are important choices to be made by photographers, including what subject matter best reflects the artist's passion, what type of equipment is best suited to the work at hand, what kind of exposure settings will obtain the desired effect and what method of producing prints will Lawrence Gard Photography © Lawrence Gard be most pleasing. I think having these choices to make is a big reason why photography is so much fun. Actually, I find that it's all those highly pressurized artistic moments of decision, or perhaps indecision, which go a long way in making photography such an exciting adventure. For me, photography also provides great inspiration and lifts my spirit.
 
In fact, I have discovered that photography is actually therapy for the soul. It's what I do to renew my spirit and experience Mother Nature in a manner that consistently refreshes my personal outlook on life. I don't want to sound maudlin here, but I honestly believe that there's nothing comparable to the great feeling a photographer can get by artistically capturing a visual moment, either digitally or on film. And even if I'm not satisfied with the photograph, at least I'm learning the craft by doing it, while participating in an activity that I thoroughly enjoy.
 
If you think about it, no art form is a solitary venture, and always requires of the artist a willingness to participate and contribute. Of course, photography is no exception. While the photographer contributes a unique vision and style, the photographer's viewing public contributes an interpretive enthusiasm, either positive or negative, to the photographer's work. And while every photographer must be willing to participate in a world-wide community of artists, the photographer's viewing public is always more than willing to participate in a community of folks with a passionate interest in the art. Art wouldn't be art without both the creator and the interpreter acting together. The photographer and his or her public must establish and maintain a symbiotic relationship. And it must be the photographer who initiates this association. If you haven't already done so, how would you best go about doing it? Only you can decide.
 
So, in summary, photographers as independent artists must always keep in mind their responsibilities to themselves and others.
 
Remember that as an artist, your unique vision and style is beyond reproach and requires your absolute commitment. The famous artist Andre Miripolsky said: "Fear no art!" All of us have moments as artists when we fear artistic rejection, and when that happens to me, Miripolsky's wisdom gives me strength. It also helps to realize that nobody can please everybody. But first and foremost, your responsibility as an artist is to make your own choices and to apply your craft in a manner that will please yourself.
 
An artist must also establish and maintain a relationship with the viewing public. If you don't do this, nobody will do it for you. Artists are communicators. Take time to consider all the ways available to you to communicate with people who really do want to look at your work. The Outdoor Eyes website is a great example! Take advantage of every opportunity. Then, listen to how your public responds, and you will never stop learning and growing!
 

Click the author's gallery image on the top of the page to view the author's photographs.




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