How to stop being discouraged from lack of feedback?

Article Dedication

In Honor of

George Tice & Horace

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Today we are so incredibly fortunate to be able to share our work with the entire world with a press of a button, while it’s a blessing, its a curse.

We are so use to people these days providing some sort of feedback on your work and we enjoy getting that feedback, it makes us feel good.

What happens when we don’t get feedback? We feel discouraged and makes you think that you are not good enough.

There are times when I get a lot of feedback on my images in forms such as favorites, likes, comments (negative or positive) and that really encourages me to keep going but there are occasions when I get very little if not no feedback on my work and it makes me think, well maybe this photo just sucks and I start to feel discouraged and contemplate deleting the photo.

Social media is a very odd thing. You see all these photographers on Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, etc and they have thousands and thousands of followers and get an alarming amount of feedback but yet their photos are mostly mediocre and processed using a one click VSCO filter, every single photo looks and feels exactly the same.

Is that what photography is? Just to get views and popular on the internet? I’m seeing this more and more everyday. I know many photographers who’s work is outstanding, heck a few I know have photos on display in popular art museums and yet, they get next to no feedback when they share their work on social media. Why is that?

I’m unfortunately falling down this trap, I’m starting to post my photos certain times of the day using certain tags, processing them a certain way to get the maximum popularity just so I get that little tiny bit of feedback that makes me feel good but even then, its not a guarantee your going to receive that feedback your looking for. When you do all this work and get little or no feedback, it can really upset you and bring you down.

What can we do keep ourselves encouraged when we don’t get feedback on our work? How do you keep yourself encouraged?

One might say to not post your work on the internet, while I understand that, I certainly don’t want to end up like Vivian Maier! I like to share my work with the world but how can I get the thought out of my head that I NEED some kind of visual or verbal feedback on my photos to keep going?

My reply…

Here is the bottom line from Scape Martinez

“Never give up! Don’t listen to the haters. Don’t try to be an artist unless you can work and live in isolation, without any thanks….bleak, but needed until you get to the much lauded place.”

While good advice, the reality is 99.9% artists will never get to the much lauded place…still we keep working. If you need someone to hold your hand while you do your art, you will probably never amount to much. Art and the rejection associated with art is soul crushing…still we keep working.

With respects to photography…there are 2 billion cell phone cams roaming the earth…still we keep working. But none of this matters. If freezing time is in your blood, being a do-gooder, trying to change the world or making $ does not matter. If your dedicated to your art, you must produce and keep producing, whether you have an outlet or not to make $…or even have any practical use for your output.

We can’t do good work if we are working for ‘likes and thumbs up.’ I mean, are you working for them or for you? If we are not being paid, we need to be working for ourselves to express what WE want to.

I’ve been on forums where likes are given out as one would hand out a million dollars. But just because no one likes my post after 4oo viewings, that doesn’t mean anything to me. I don’t do my work for others, I do it for me.

Art is the way many of us make sense of our world. A wordsmith sifts it all through their brain and writes a book or article, a musician composes a song, a poet pens a poem, an artist sketches a drawing or does a painting, a photog shoots a pix, a sculptor forms a statue, a choreographer creates a dance. We each express what is in us and make sense of our world through our art.

Irrespective of recognition, fame and riches, dedicated photogs all have one thing in common…we  know time. Time is our life blood and as long as we can keep pressing the button and freeze time, we feel the better for it.

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