One of the biggest challenges of a photographer is deciding which work to highlight in galleries and online sharing/networking sites.
Recently someone commented on a photo that I highlighted on my Facebook site that they didn't like a photo. And honestly, I am fine with that. What I am not fine with, however, is backing up that statement. What I think, I am fairly certain I am correct, is that they didn't like it because of the content, not the merit.
I am not "selective" in my highlight pictures. And what I mean by that is simply this.
Every subject, in my eyes, is beautiful.
When I take pictures of newborns I like them to be simple, capturing them in a form that projects their new life. There are some amazingly talented newborn photographers in this world, and that style make work for them, but there is something to be said about the beauty of capturing a newborn being as they are.
A building may be magnificent in its entirety, but taking the time to highlight angles, arches, and even cracks can speak about the history, craftsmanship and work that went into it.
Sport event pictures give you the opportunity to capture athletes of all abilities. I have had the opportunity to photograph some amazing and well know athletes in a certain sporting event yet I don't concentrate on just them. The ability to show that anyone has potential to be great is what sets you apart.
We make mistakes. This makes you real. There isn't a photographer out there who captures every shot perfectly. And while the goal is to highlight your best, sometimes it is okay to show a few that are flawed. There isn't anything that is absolutely perfect and just because we can make it appear that way doesn't mean we should.
My rebuttal to the negative comment was simply this:
"The beauty of photography is that each photograph is subjective to ones personal views. Some people may not prefer the editing style a photographer uses, while some may find merit in work created by those who just take pictures. What I see in this picture is dedication, drive, ethic, and desire. This photograph shows that a women can be committed and strong, that by her efforts she has attained a level of fitness that has brought satisfaction in her life. No amount of dislike will ever take away from what both she and I were able to achieve in this photo shoot. To me, the value isn't in what others may think of this athlete, but what she sees in herself. And she sees, as she should, greatness."
Find greatness in your work in all forms. Don't limit yourself. Express yourself in ways that help define you as a person and your direction as a photographer, but don't limit yourself. And don't limit your subjects. They deserve your attention. And they all deserve their own moments of greatness.