You know, just the other day I was looking back at some of my older work from about 15 years ago. In those days I was shooting with film and I began to laugh to myself as I perused some of my images. I was looking at a particular set of images that I shot back in 1999 on a European backpacking trip I was on for 2 ½ months.
I constantly hear from professional photographers who have been in the industry for a long time advising the new up and comers to the industry who want to break into the business that you should only EVER put your absolute “best” work forward and online. I would have to completely agree with that statement. Once your work goes into cyberspace it is forever out there for the world to see, so you had better make sure its excellent work and you are very proud of it. You wouldn’t want it coming back and biting you in the ass later on in your career. Now this brings me to my next point which is, what if that particular body of work IS your best at that particular moment in time?
In my opinion, as a photographer and an artist we should always be improving and evolving our work. This is probably one of the most important things to me personally otherwise aren’t we just wasting our time? Being pleased with yourself first as an artist is incredibly important, then you can worry about whether or not others enjoy your work. Of course we all seek the accolades of our peers, we want our work to be enjoyed by others.
For me the work I was putting out at that particular time when I looked at it 15 years ago, it was my best work in my eyes. When I look back at it now, I think WOW those images don’t represent what I saw in them back then. I would have to say my skill level and eye have definitely improved since then. This is what we all hope for as artists, constantly improving and honing our skill sets.
In that department, I have to say I am pleased with my progression as a photographer and as long as I can continue to improve and evolve as a photographer I can look through my catalog of work, put a smile on my face and be happy and proud of what I see!