Last week I was helping a friend on a photoshoot. I was along for the ride, free coffee, and to light the photos. While we were in transit between locations I started chit chatting with our talent. I knew who he was, but didn't know a whole ton about him. He was some sort of singer person who also had a little side project he founded called Noisetrade. Like I do with nearly every person in the arts I meet I quickly went from questions like "so what do you actually do" to "what do you see the future of your career and art looking like long term." Some people have good answers for these questions, others have really disappointing answers, regardless I can always learn something. As Derek was talking about the music industry, Nashville, what he wanted the future of his career to look like, and how it had been three days since he had had a good cup of coffee he said something that really stuck with me. Derek has a small, yet incredibly dedicated, following. He likes that. He makes the living he wants to make and is satisfied with that. He doesn't want the moment where he gets 'discovered'.
As we talked about what its like to be 'discovered' as a musician he talked about how much work it is and how as an artist even with management and everything else you are still running a small business. He mentioned how most artists want the fame and fun, but don't realize how much work it is to be successful on a large scale. Most people don't want to work for it, they want it to just fall in their lap. Then he said this: "No one owes you a career, if you want it you have to work hard for it".
"No one owes you a career, if you want it you have to work hard for it" -Derek Webb
Read that again in the context of photography not music. Photographers these days all seem to be trying to rely on the internet (*ahem* flickr, blogs, facebook) to be 'discovered' and have a career land in their lap. While there are a few (2) photographers that this has happened to, every single photographer I know that is high in their industry or even has any measure of success has worked themselves to death for it. Without lots of hard work, without a portfolio that shows a clear vision, if you're ever 'discovered' you will be passed by. If you are by some chance discovered and don't work yourself to death after, you won't be called back. Success comes from hard work, lots and lots of hard work.