New Metrics Needed
Do what you love and the money will follow.Marsha Sinetar
I dislike this quote. It simplifies a very complex equation into a convenient sound bite.
The first problem is the assumption that a creative individual wants money and their passion to be intertwined. It’s a nice thought, but money changes everything. Just ask Michelangelo. Do you think the Sistine Chapel would have been painted if Pope Julius II hadn’t commissioned it? He was a sculptor, not a painter. But that is what happens when money changes hands.
Second it presumes that success and money are synonymous. In an age when the arts and crafts are barely supported by the establishment we need to find a measure of success other than money. In the world of Instagram and Flickr where success is seen in terms of likes, followers and comments is this really enough of a metric? I don’t know, but I doubt it.
I was showing my photography to a new contact the other day and their immediate response was “I hope you’re making money off of those!” I know he meant this as a compliment, but I couldn’t help being annoyed with a world that equates success with money.
So in the absence of a large benefactor like The Church, Big Inc or a wealthy patron we need to look for another way to measure an artists success (or failure). In a world that does not value photography or photographers with money, we need to develop new metrics; whether they be rooted in social media or preferably the real world.