Selling Out


Yesterday I attended a meeting of local artists and arts organizations as part of a state-wide initiative to help better serve the greater arts community. During this meeting, on attendee stated how artists need to learn to be better business people and to stop making art that people are not buying. We need to pander to the consumer. Compromise. In other words, if we want to sell our art, we have to sell out.

Wait. What?

The very core of any true artist is a desire, a need, a compulsion, to create. Not for others, not because of any external obligation, but because of something innate, something internal, something intrinsic to our souls. We create because we must, and because we have something deeply personal to say, yet don’t know any better way sharing.

Sure, the desire for popularity and print sales is alluring. Worse yet, it’s easy. The world is full of beautiful places, and beautiful places are made for beautiful pictures. And beautiful pictures sell. What could be easier?

And what could be more boring?

Photography, as with any artistic pursuit, should be about the experience, about the discovery, and about revealing a subjective truth. It should be personal. In a manner of speaking, it should be an open and unabashed self-portrait.

Even if it doesn’t sell.


8 thoughts on “Selling Out”

  1. Really pleased that you have your blog up & running once more.

    Just disappointed that I can’t order a few penile implants…

    Seriously, we share many viewpoints. What I particularly enjoy about your musings is that you make no pretense about trying to beat everyone to ‘market’ with another pixel-perfect piece of Eco-porn; rather, what comes across is your internal quest, which is not at all detached from your practice of photography. You take risks, you break free from the mold, you are not transforming yourself into a commodity in the process, and you maintain an internal observer keeping you honest,—as in true to your goals & aspirations. I admire that.

    Keep up the good work, Chuck.

    R. Landry, Montana.

    1. Thanks, Rick. And while I can no longer supply the boner pills, I can recommend two popsicle sticks and some duct tape. Enjoy.

  2. I always wonder why, if one is willing to compromise their work and practice it purely as a business, they choose a career in art in the first place. There are so many other professions where such an attitude would be far more lucrative.

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