But that's not an excuse
You (probably) won’t get rich from your art. You probably won’t earn a grand living. You probably won’t be able to support yourself doing the thing you absolutely love AND reach society’s version of success. And that’s ok.
Society’s version of success… that’s the key to this phrase. You see, we as a society have crafted a version of success that includes lots of money, cars, clothes, events, etc. And the truth of the matter is that a very select portion of the population ever achieves these things.
The amount of people who reach this level seems large because we are all looking at the same people. And it feels like those people reproduce and pull up their friends. The vast majority of people will not soar to those levels.
So what are we to do?
That’s simple, enjoy the process.
It can be as much or as little as you want. It can be as simple or complex as you want. What registers as good to someone may appear as bad to someone else. That’s what makes it beautiful.
The other important thing about art is the actual practice of the art. In the genre of photography it’s the picking up of the camera, the framing of the shot, the click of the shutter, etc.
These are the things that make it fun. Going out and trying to capture a beautiful image or document the moment is magical. There’s something special about reviewing the images from the day (or the roll for my film shooters).
Create your own success
I say most of this to impress on you that it’s incredibly important to create your own success. Take a bit of time to decide what success looks like for you. Sit with that definition and internalize it. You may want to share that version with the people most important to you or print it out.
Success can look like many different things and once you decide what that looks like for yourself, it will make enjoying the process even more fun and exciting.
Find joy in the research. Find joy in the materials. Find joy in the craft. The joy is what will fuel the passion and the passion will bring the success…whatever you decide that it looks like.
So for most of us, we probably won’t get rich off of our art. We probably won’t get buildings or other prestigious things named after us. But we will bring joy and happiness to the people around us. We will spread an amazing message and energy with the art that we create. And that should be enough.
I wish you all a happy and prosperous new year! May you go out and accomplish your own version of success, whatever that may look like.
All the best,
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