I had an interesting conversation about music last night. The discussion was based on how some fans are the “original” fans and when a band makes it big or to super stardom those original fans feel like the band has “sold out” just to get popular. I think it is a funny trend that people feel this way about music, maybe even photographers, who knows? Getting popular does not mean that you have sold out, in most cases it can actually mean that there are just a lot of people out there who like what you do. So what is selling out?
I think selling out is when you start to compromise the integrity of your work for the sole purpose of making money or getting famous. Making money off of what you do or what you love to do is not something to be ashamed of. We live in a world where you need to make money, I’m all for a free market society but I just don’t see that happening in the near future. It’s like there is this certain part of society who wants any type of artist to just struggle and never have success, like that is what made them talented in the first place. Struggle does not make you talented, it can help you refine your skills or it can also make you give up, but it does not create the talent.
Now I have mentioned it several times on this site, I have personally chosen the road of artist (whatever that means) and I am just focusing on the type of photography that I wish to create. I really don’t make a ton of money doing this, it is definitely not the most lucrative career I could have had. But lets say the day comes when I have an idea for an image, it happens to be just like what I have been doing or it is some new creative thought that I had just never attempted before, and this idea gets the attention of millions of people, did I sell out or did I just come up with something that millions of people can identify with? So if I suddenly go from the not so “wow” income that I have now and start making millions off of work that I am proud of I promise you that someone will call me a sell out. But once again this is when I will pull out my favorite philosophy, what other people think of me is none of my business.
Basically it comes down to this. Do what you do, don’t worry about what others think of your choices or where your creative path takes you. If you are true to yourself then you have absolutely nothing to worry about…… well except maybe making a living, but that’s a thought for another day. 😉