my best photography is a direct result of creative experimentation in which I break out of the accepted rules of what a good photograph is supposed to be like. To make an impact with your art that is new, fresh, you need to already have a mentality wired differently than everyone else to be able to see beyond the conventions and not afraid to be different that always brings risks of failure, ridicule, and being ostracized by the conventional art groups. To be a success, however defined, does require two more key ingredients that can fortunately be learned: analytical abilities to work it out on your own, you ARE breaking new ground here, and the social skills to convince others to risk following you. Think Picasso. Otherwise you will be lonely, frustrated, hated and likely miserable. Think Van Gogh.
There was a time when my blogging was new and I imagined having insightful and fun conversations about life and philosophy. Then the reality set in that no one wanted to converse or even like or even visit. So I began to experiment. I went to other sites and left comments and likes and follows. Sure enough I was getting the same. A respectable level of traffic to me. Only, I wasn’t sincere. I didn’t really care about their work. This was obviously true of them toward me as well since when I then stopped going to their sites, part two of my experiment, the numbers quickly dropped back to near zero. I repeated this experiment several ways with always the same result. My controlled tests showed me that blogging such as ours was really just a game of fishing for compliments. Needless to say, I felt betrayed and discouraged. It was like finding out someone was only pretending to like you as a friend because you could help them but as soon as your value to promote them went away then so did they, or as the story goes, faking your funeral just to see who really cared.
That was years ago. I’ve continued to blog regularly since then; changing my content and style often to become simply better, to test what works and what doesn’t on portables. but my criteria for success is not based on the unreliable metric of the traffic, only what pleases me. If I picked up a little passing traffic along the way this is nice but I resist the pull to chase after its fickled heart. If it is sincere, they may come back, but if they are out fishing with chum then they will not get my nibble. I do follow likes back to their site out of curiosity. 9 times out of 10 times it was obviously not a true like. Once in awhile I will follow and comment on someone’s post but only because I really am sincere and not expecting hollow reciprocity to prop up my stats. This is a case of being authentic, with myself and with strangers.
zen! photography is intuitive and immersive.
There exists an endless cache of advice when it comes to figure drawing. Don’t believe any of it. If you follow a teacher or some online tutorial your work will suffer, be stiff, procedural, unoriginal and uninspired. Find your own path. Struggle and work it out for yourself. There is no secret. Draw what you see not what you think. Light, shadow, line. It is all there for you and no one else! Nothing is hidden. Be direct! There is no secret. Learn to look. Practice looking with a pencil and pad. Your own aesthetic and intuition will correct your way.