I once said that first and foremost, how you see your artwork is what matters the most.
I stand by those comments to this day and it really is what matters the most. Insecurity within your own artwork plagues many people. In this day and age of instant gratification with facebook, flickr, DA, 500px, everyone wants a pat on the back and ages ago on DA I wrote several journals about this about how deep down, it's all just meaningless BS. The drive by ego stroking doesn't help you evolve as an artist at all and if anything it can actually make things worse. How so? The answer is a relatively simple one really. People begin to base their self worth as an artist by how much something a piece of art is commented on, by how many favs it has, how many pageviews, how many shares. This is also a relatively new phenomenon. Case in point, if this was 15 years ago, none of us would even be having this conversation right now because the expectations we put on things simply doesn't exist as a medium to do this. If this was 1999 and you were, I don't know, let's say whatever age you are now, what would you be doing? You'd be creating is what you'd be doing and not getting caught up in the superficial rat race of instant gratification & feedback.
Now I know there are some people who will utterly think otherwise but prove me wrong. I can't even begin to tell you how I have literally watched people hang up their camera, their paints, their pencils, all because they get frustrated because they base their self worth as an artist on social networking sites. They get mad at you when you don't comment on things, fav their things, share their things and thus put pressure on you and the relationship you have with them. Is that right? Is it really? No it isn't. however this is the day and age we now live in. We simply expect too much out of others and place an incredible amount of importance if someone gives us feedback about our work. Now that isn't to say that isn't important because it is however at the same time there is a fine line between expectation and desire.
3 years ago I made myself a promise. To this day I kept that promise and if so, more than anything, I live it now more than ever. What is it? To take a step back from social networking sites and photography sites as a whole. I did that and to this day I still do it. I concentrate on my photography now as much as humanly possible and I have set forth a very distinct goal to make a living out of what I do and to be the best I can possibly be as a photographer. Eventually this will lead to other things like holding paid workshops and education but right now I want to shoot as much as possible and not stop. I want to be out with my camera as much as I can and I want to see nature, experience life and see things I fortunate to see as much as possible. I follow photographers who I look up to and I don't expect a single thing from them in return. Some of these photographers I call personal friends and I shoot with them while others I don't know but learn from what their photoblogs say and the images which they take.
Photography, like any other artistic medium is in a constant state of evolution for the artist. It always is and always will be a learning experience that will hold throughout your lifetime. There will never be a point where you know everything & anything, ever. That's what makes it fun though, we never know where the road will lead us or take us. It's a joyride but only if you let it be and don't put so much importance on others and their feedback with "Hey nice shot!". Instead, concentrate on the image itself, on making it, ask questions and concentrate on things which really matter, like improving your own artwork and how to go about doing it. Want to know one of the absolute best resources for doing just that? YouTube. Yes, YouTube. It is literally better than any photography course you could ever take because everything you ever wanted to know is literally at the tips of your fingertips. I bet most don't even know this but there are actually channels dedicated to the art of landscape photography & how to get the shots you want. "The Landscape Photography Show" is but one of several that are on there. You aren't going to get that sort of information from people saying "hey nice shot!".
Reality. It's what's for dinner.
Now get you ass off of DA and take some photos!