Affordable Photography

Artist Statement

Sometimes a pretty picture is just a pretty picture with no forced message.

Background

I attended a Photo Americas (kind of like Photofest which I had heard of) and got my work reviewed by art gallery owners, art school and art museum people. Each and every one said that I would never make is as "Fine Art Photographer" (even though they stated that the 10 photographs I brought were technically good!) and I should concentrate in the stock photo market since I did not make my pictures "uncomfortable for people to look at"!!!

If people like to look at a picture, and it makes them feel good, even when it is not part of a themed body of work, it should be okay to do that kind of work. However, if you do this type of work (and I do) your work will likely never be shown in galleries and museums since they do not like to show a diverse body of work from a person. These same place will show images if they are all within a themed topic but it should make the viewers "uncomfortable" while viewing the images.

Since I am not purposely creating work that forces people to question their values, ideas, etcetera the art reviewers stated they would not show it nor would I ever be likely to get my work shown in that type of setting. I would have to change my work style, specialize in one theme: take pictures of topic X from various perspectives and not do a topic in a "conventional" manner; if I ever want to have my great looking pictures to be hung in an "Fine Art" photographic gallery or art museums.

Photos Reflect the Photographer

What and how you photograph items reflects the photographer's view in many subtle ways — even when on assignment doing work for others. To become a "Fine Art Photographer" I would have to change my style, create messages in my photographs, and photograph to a niche perspective of what these people want to show in their galleries. Well, that is not me so I will not change my style to suite their needs. If you want disturbing pictures, esoteric themes, narrow viewpoints of the world go to these galleries and purchase prints for $500+ for a 11 x 14 image. If you want great pictures — ones you do not have to explain to others what it means — then look at what I have at 1/5 the price that they sell theirs for.

Photo Americas

I did get some value out of this. I found out some useful items or was given some advice as to what to do to improve:

Summary

I'll never bother going to another one of these again. To paraphrase THHGTTG "Mostly Useless". The information I got I already knew (though I will admit that confirmation from other people of what I had been explaining to my fellow photographers of my methods and philosophy was good); the four days of actual time that it went on; and the $800 spent getting ready for it I could have better spent doing other items. The most useful were the three leads on selling my photographs.

Tom Philo