I’m in business to make money, right? It sounds like a silly question. The purpose of a business is to make money, but as a fine art landscape photographer, is money really my driving force?
For me the answer is no. I’m in business because I feel I have something to share with people, and I want to share it. I love making landscape photographs, and I love presenting the results of my work and everything that goes into it. As a business, I want to be compensated for my efforts, and my compensation should be sufficient to cover my expenses and provide a reasonable profit. My goal is to continue growing my business, but I never want to lose sight of what brought me to this point: sharing my art with others.
There are many ways to share my photography without being in business. I could set up a website. I could post photographs on 500px, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites. In fact, I do many of these things. But I find this online way of sharing to be unsatisfying, even if appreciated by many people. When someone sees my photograph on a social media site or other online location, they see it along with hundreds of other photographs. Even when viewing a photograph on my website, they see it and then it’s gone. They may never think about it again. I value permanence in art. I want people to take time to explore my photographs, not just click through them. I invest much time and effort in creating my photographs, and I want people to have the opportunity to take time to appreciate them and extract value and enjoyment from them.
The best way for me to accomplish that goal is with a print. I believe the primary outcome of fine art photography should be a print. That’s the finished product. The digital image on screen is fleeting. It’s not real. It’s just a representation. A screen cannot communicate my vision because I can’t control your settings--are your colors distorted? Is the brightness and/or contrast wrong? The print accurately communicates my vision exactly as I see it. Ansel Adams referred to the print as being the performance. Everything else just leads up to that performance. Yes! It’s a performance that lasts and lingers, and you can come back to it either casually or with serious intent to study it. You can observe it up close or from a distance. It’s physical. You can hold it in your hands and feel it.
So why am I in business? I’m in business because I love making prints of my photography and sharing that permanence and artistry with people who appreciate my work. I want to give that performance for people. Through my blog and any personal interaction we might have had at art festivals and other events, I hope you can sense the excitement and passion I feel for my work, and that’s why I enjoy it so much. That’s why I’m in business--because I love what I’m doing. The money, when it comes, is just a side benefit.