I grew up an “art kid.” I was always in love with art class. I took up drawing and painting at an early age. My parents always enrolled me in some sort of after school or summer art program. As I got older, I focused on every honors and advanced placement art class I could get. I was always fascinated with trying to capture my reality on paper. When I found photography in high school, it clicked as the best medium I had to capture what I was after. Shortly after discovering photography, I knew I wanted to be a photographer and so I sought out a college with a fine arts degree in photography and I continued on my merry way in life at art school. My life has always revolved around “art”, yet I’ve always felt like a bit of an outcast in the art community.
In college I wrote a thesis on the Art for Art’s Sake” movement. While studying art history I became aware of the movement and felt like for the first time I belonged in the community. Art doesn’t have to be something with huge meaning behind it. Art doesn’t have to have a social agenda. Art doesn’t have to change the world. Art doesn’t have to have an artists statement about the piece. It can just be.
It can just be pretty. It can just be ugly. It can just be something that happened. It can just be. light and shadow. It can just be a picture.
There are so many amazing photographers out there doing phenomenal work, it’s easy to get down on yourself as not being creative enough. Not being an artist enough. Not being quirky enough. Not having a different point of view enough.
It doesn’t need to be that complicated! Our own vision is art. What we see is uniquely ours, and sharing that in the world is art. It may not be a photo to that ends up on the cover of Nat Geo or Time, but that doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a place in this world. You have a vision of the world and a camera to interpret it. That’s all you need.
So next time you’re down on yourself for not being “enough” in this artistic world, think about the Art for Art’s sake movement. We don’t need to make everything so complicated to be considered artists. Just Create.
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