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I participate at Onexposure and one of the features that I find well done is the Critique section where photographers can post their images for constructive criticism. (if you’re not a member, you will not be able to view the link to the Critique section) Recently one photographer posted his image and sighted another photographer’s image as a comparison. His image was rejected from publication and in essence he was comparing his image against another photographer implying that the published image was inferior to ‘his’ image. Sad…

This past weekend, Tracy and I walked through Half Moon Bay to relax before returning to our work weeks. We happened to stop at a gallery there, the Coastal Arts League. CAL is a cooperative gallery where those who participate must work several times a month. It just so happened that the member who was there during our visit was one of the photographers in the cooperative. He asked if I would be interested in joining and perhaps displaying and selling my work. After hearing his comment, Tracy said, ‘Mark’s work is not very commercial.’ I simply nodded and after we spoke for a bit more, we thanked him and were on our way.

Some may consider Tracy’s comment as derogatory toward my work. But I was so pleased to hear her opinion of my imagery as ‘not very commercial.’ Throughout my artistic journey I have never wanted to sell my work. In so many cases I have given my work away to complete strangers. I have certainly sold images to companies who wish to use some of my pieces to promote their own companies. But that is not my main intent or goal with this craft.

Nor do I any longer compare my own pieces to the work of others as the man I mentioned at the beginning of this musing seems so set on doing. There are very few activities in my life that are for the pure pleasure of engaging in that task. And yes, for me ‘pure pleasure’ can include phases of artistic self loathing, but in the end, what I discover when I emerge from the other side is remarkable.

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