This past week, Cindy and I were chatting about things, as we often do, and a sentiment that sometimes comes up did. It goes something like this: “Wouldn’t it be nice if we caught a lucky break and became super popular overnight? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the beautiful publication we’re making became a huge success with the masses?” It would be nice. Of course it would be nice! Who wouldn’t love the success of those whose quality work has been recognized by many? Who wouldn’t love their workshop to sell out in minutes? Who wouldn’t love to win prestigious awards and be one of the few who are not only talented, but get recognized fully for their talent?
We have this talk often and it always ends the same way. “It would be nice…but our popularity is not the defining factor of our success. We are creating something of value.” All of us who create are in this grand journey for many reasons, but the greatest of those reasons is because with our hearts and whole beings we have a pull to create our art. We are not complete unless we are creating and our art is a critical piece of our well being and our whole self. Yes money is important, yes success and popularity are important, especially when we are depending on them to make a living…but as far as the value of our art is concerned, they are NOT the defining factor and they are not the rubric on which to judge whether or not our art has value.
So, I will continue to create because I love what I do. I love that I am able to pick up my camera and through a series of fractions of a second, process what is going on around me. I love that I am able to look at my work and feel something. I love that we are creating a magazine that brings tears to my eyes from the beauty of the stories and imagery that the incredible artists have shared with us. I love that because of my art and the importance I place on it, my daughter says that while she wants to be many things, an artist photographer will always be one of them. I love that I have had the chance to create a workshop in which people found value and felt pushed further along in their own artistic journies, even if I never sell another seat to one. I love what I do and I love you for what you do. I know it sucks to not always (or sometimes ever) be the cool kid, but you are worthy, important and beautiful because you are you. So ladies (and gents if you’re reading), let’s keep creating, sharing and pushing our art in those ways that fulfill our needs and our souls. I wish everyone all the success they desire and all the popularity in the world, but as best you can, let your art be enough…because it is and it is beautiful and important.
Amanda Voelker is a fine art and lifestyle photographer. With her children and light as her inspiration, Amanda finds beauty in the everyday. She strives to capture the subtleties of human emotion and connection in a beautiful way that showcases both the moment and a piece of her self. Amanda is also the Co Creator and Editor in Chief of “The Long Way Home” Magazine and instructor at "The Bloom Forum"