Everybody is a photographer these days. I see it all over social media and all over town. But before you think I am ranting, ask yourself this. How many photographers do you know? If you are a photographer ask yourself how many photographers do your non-photographer friends know? Everyone knows at least one photographer these days.
Technology has taken us into a new world where you can turn your hobby into a career without any official training or any knowledge of how to run a business. If you have a credit card with a decent limit on it you can finance your entire business in one swipe!
Now I’m not knocking this. I am not even going to rant about this. What I will do is talk about what I do to stay ahead of the curve. There is one thing a credit card cannot buy. Original thought and a creative process. I have always thought of myself as not just a photographer but a working conceptual artist. My work is not just about the image. It is about the mood and the vibe and the experience.
This entire website is conceptual art. How you ask? Simple. Years ago I was fed up with a certain photographer. He was talking shit about me, we had never met, but he is one of those guys who likes to keep models to himself. He does not want any other photographer to photograph the models in his portfolio. Sounds a little like a sociopath if you ask me, but moving on.
He didn’t just do this with me, he did it with many other photographers. I only found out because several models who were my friends told me what he was saying. So I decided to mock his style, mostly to piss him off and make him realize that he wasn’t so original. I started calling myself “The Average Jim” and was completely sarcastic with everything I did. The irony was that people liked it.
So a model friend and I shot something that was totally his style, put it up on the web and said something like “Anybody can do it”. I got lots of likes and lots of shit from people. But instead of apologizing, I did it again and again.
I then started pushing boundaries with my work and attitude, mixing my real sense of humor with an added dose of narcissism and inflated ego. I had a huge list of one-liners, which were all true in one form or another. Other photographers thought I was cocky, some thought I was rude, some laughed and totally understood the joke.
Photographers are arrogant by nature, we have a certain swagger about us. When I added conceptual artist to my title my swagger changed and became more of an intellectual snob meets asshole photographer. I loved it! And apparently so did many others as I was getting thousands of hits to this site every day.
I have already started my next conceptual project and I have a feeling people are either going to love it or hate it. I don’t think I will be hitting too much middle ground with this one. Especially since I’m taking on religion, sex, drugs and rock and roll. It is going to be a fun summer!
I may be a photographer. But I am much more than that. This is just the medium I choose to express my ideas and concepts. I love photography, have ever since I was a kid, but I don’t want to just take pictures. When I pick up a camera I want to tell a story and do something new to myself. There is a freedom in that. I’m sick of shooting weddings where the family treats you like the help. Fuck that. Your kid hired me because of, and I quote “I love your artistry and how your work doesn’t look like everyone else’s” so take your ugly ass outfit over there and stop telling me how to take a photo of you and your asshole family.
Educating people on art is even harder than educating them on photography. So I just won’t do it anymore. If someone doesn’t get my work and just wants a price quote from me they can go away and find someone else. I do my art for me and I love getting a reaction from people. Good or bad. One day I’ll share some hate mail here. There are also some funny stories that I’d love to share, but I may have to start another site for that, I don’t want to get certain people in trouble!
So yes, photographers are everywhere. If you are one of them, try to find your own creative story to tell. Only copy other’s work if you wish to learn a technique or just want to piss them off because they were an asshole to you, which is a lot of fun by the way. But push yourself to find yourself as an artist. Don’t follow the herd, step out of bounds and discover what you love to do. It is worth the risk every single time!
Oh, and this entire session of Lucy has been added to The Archives today!