Perhaps you have already found the marmot in the photo at the top of this post. Unless you have sharp eyes, though, you most likely started reading first. Did you go back and look for it? It is there, doing exactly what they always do. The marmot scrambles across, around, and under the rock. You usually hear them before you see them unless they are on the move. There have been times when I have found as many as a half-dozen marmots hiding in plain sight like this one.
I often feel that I am hiding in plain sight, too. This feeling has been especially sharp of late. The more I scramble in the rocks, the less likely it is that I am noticed. The better I become at my craft, the fewer the souls that seek me out.
The photography industry is extraordinarily crowded. Talent, skill, and experience take a second seat to personality, showmanship, and emotion. It is the classic squeaky wheel syndrome and I have rarely enjoyed being a squeaky wheel. My non-photography life has overwhelmed photography to the point it is troublesome. I have work to share but little time to share in the way I wish. When I do share, it is literally as if my favorite pieces are hiding in plain sight. Social media platforms are not built for the occasional post and that is, unfortunately, all I have time for these days.
So, what do I do about this? How do I stop hiding in plain sight? Shall I scream at the top of my lungs? Shall I go so far outside of the box that you can’t help but notice?
In the end, I think this is the classic artist’s lament. The artist is always in hiding. I can count the number of personal projects I have been able to pursue in the past six months on one hand. The number of potential collaborations I have pursued only to have no response to a message is well into double-digits for the same time frame.
The industry is crowded. It is crowded by people pursuing recognition over art. It is about who can get the most likes and shares. The answer to being recognized does not lie in the proliferation of average art. It lies in proving, one person at a time, that I can produce an image worthy of your attention.
Do you create one more great photo or focus on sharing one more set on social media?