Inspirational messages flood over us every time we open Facebook. They can be exhortations never to give up, or to be kind to everyone, or to renounce worldly pleasures. Occasionally they offer us addresses to which we can send all our money to enable us to be forgiven. Some offer a receipt…
As photographers we also need inspiration. If we are amateurs it is provided by the need to humiliate our enemies in the camera club and to justify the cost of a new camera. Or vice versa, or both together.
If we are working photographers we are inspired by the goal of having enough food to eat. Of course this may also inspire us to dig ditches or rob trains and these activities carry the additional benefit of not requiring us to network at AIPP events. We can steal clients or wallets without having to be members of a trade association masquerading as an artistic body.
If we are artists we are inspired by a muse. The more childish amongst us are amused by nearly anything…hence the cigarette butt platinotypes of Irving Penn. Some muses charge professional rates and some just demand expensive presents. Photographers need to understand the difference between muses and mazes – the latter are easier to get out of.
Some photographers are very humble people. They take pictures of what they like and then like the pictures that they have taken. Often they do not present them to others for fear of adverse criticism, but this is somewhat of a mistake. A better reason for not presenting them is to prevent praise. There is a tiny point of balance between the two that is called happiness and if you are an astute shooter you will foster it until it becomes a broad platform.
Put another way; His Holiness the Dalai Lama probably has a shoe box full of 6 x 4 postcards that he has taken but he does not spread them out in front of you and ask you to approve them. He does not care. Though he does probably wish that he had written in pencil on the back of a few of them to remind himself who the heck the people in them are.
Award-winning international superstar mentor legend ambassador icon photographers get all sorts of inspiration, but as they go on in their careers…sorry, that should be fabulous careers…stress and fear would seem to become more prevalent. Stress at the increasing pressure upon them to continually top their last success, and fear that the only way that they are going to be able to top themselves is to top themselves. In many cases other members of the trade/art/profession/gang would be only too pleased to assist.
For many of us older photographers who are struggling to keep up with the updates in computer systems as well as the turns of international political correctness, the best we can hope for is that the screen will light up when we press the “on” button and grow dark again when we press the “off”. If it does not trip the RCD in the fuse box in the interval it is a bonus.