Audience

Having an audience, for most, is better than not having one.

I can’t think of too many people that produce art for it’s own sake. A few, but not many.

Why? Because being acknowledged and appreciated feels good. It makes you want to go on creating. It inspires you to improve. It gives you feedback. Have you seen that great Dr. Who episode “Vincent”? Even Vincent Van Gogh needed to be appreciated, and it mattered more than we thought.

As an artist presenting to an audience, you are changing someone elses perception. Perhaps bringing light, or darkness as it may be, to another person’s day. Maybe it is tiny and imperceptible, or maybe it’s profound and spiritual.

Good art changes both your own, and another persons, perspective. It is a two way interaction.

Audience can be one person, a few, or many. Whatever the number, identify and encourage it.

You might be surprised that people like what you are doing, even if you don’t personally think it has much value. Showing what you do to others is taking a risk. You risk rejection. You risk ridicule. If you are prone to being self-conscious sharing your work is especially hard. Many of us are very self-conscious and don’t think the art we make, photos in this case, is any good.

So start small. Show your work to family. Show your work to friends. Show your work to acquaintances. Social media is a great place share your art. Chances are people will not reject or ridicule your work. They may quite like it and say so with compliments and questions. Often at worst, if they don’t particularly care for it, they will ignore what you have shown them and not really say much.

If you notice someone you know making the effort to present their work, especially a friend or acquaintance, take the few moments to acknowledge that. Don’t lie or be insincere, but let the artist know that you appreciate their effort and want them to continue. That really is all the applause and payment most amateur artists could want.

Do you remember Bob Ross? He was an instructor on public television that taught people who never thought they could paint, to do just that. He encouraged. He did not criticize. He showed how.

Later, as you improve, harnessing failure can be good, especially if the criticism is somehow constructive. You have to know someone pretty well to offer constructive criticism. Casual criticism often comes off as an attack, and if you are feeling insecure about your work, as rejection. Handling constructive critique, requires that you really listen and understand what another has to say, and taking that to heart, with a goal of improvement. Not so easy for someone who just wants to have fun with their art.

Presenting to an anonymous public audience is the next step and can be difficult. Public presentation is not for everyone. Anonymity seems to bring out the worst in some people. You may get some pretty harsh comments. If you don’t want that, there is no need to subject yourself to it. It’s OK for amateurs to only present to a receptive audience of family, friends and acquaintances. That may well be enough. Some however will be up for the challenge, and use public critique to grow as an artist. Regardless, there’s no reason to have professional aspirations unless that’s what you want. Being a professional commercial artist is a hard road. No one is saying you have to go there. Unless, of course, that’s what you want.

Remember that our goal here is to take nature photos that are pleasing to ourselves and perhaps a few others: family, friends, and acquaintances.

So as a photographer, take the chance, and show your work. Enjoy the positive feedback, and take to heart or ignore anything else. Don’t let anyone kill it for you.

As audience, appreciate what your friends are doing with their art. They work very hard at it. Let them know you like and appreciate what they are doing. Try and stay positive. Don’t expect them to be working at a professional level, though sometimes you will be surprised at how good they are. Recognize how hard it is for many to share their art and work and effort they are putting in.

Artist and audience are symbiotic. Get your photos out there, and lets see what you are doing.