• Mark Reeves

I haven't got the faintest idea...

Updated: Apr 20, 2018

Everything seems to be up in the air at this time (1).

Loch Gleann Dubh (c) Mark Reeves
Evening light at Loch Gleann Dubh (c) Mark Reeves

Eva Polak asks (in relation to photography):

  • What is most important to you?

  • What do you worry about most?

  • What brings you joy?

  • What motivates you to do photography?

  • What is your vision for your photography?

Well, this will be a bit of a stream of consciousness, but I will try to answer.

What is most important to me?

I have often wondered about this and I know that there are various things that compete with each other for priority.

It is important that I produce images that I enjoy looking at. Maybe this is the most important thing? But how do I feel if others don't like my work? Sometimes disappointed, but sometimes it doesn't bother me. I think it doesn't bother me if I have produced an image that I am really very happy with. Then my own views and feelings override what others think or feel.

It is also important to me that people who's opinions I respect consider that my work is "good" (or better). Being an active member of the Royal Photographic Society, I have photographic peers and we subject our images to peer review and independent assessment. If these processes resulted in me being told that my work wasn't good, I would be quite upset. I think this would probably override my own assessment of the work, even though I know that, particularly with non-traditional photography, the definition of "good" can be highly contentious and subjective.

Also, I enjoy selling my work. I don't sell lots, but when I do I get a good feeling. I guess this is really an extension of wanting people to like my work.

And finally, it is very important that I enjoy creating my work. This is what takes most of the time - much more time than self-evaluating or seeking the opinions of others. So it has to be enjoyable - otherwise, why do it?

So, from the above, I think I would say that the most important things in descending order are:

  1. Enjoying creating my work

  2. Liking my own work and being told that it is good

  3. Knowing that other people like (some of) my work.

What do I worry about most?

This is relatively easy to answer (not that I really "worry" about my photography), but it has to be not creating work that I am happy with. A couple of years ago, before I got into more creative approaches to photography, I was getting bored with what I was doing. Taking traditional landscapes because it was what I thought I wanted, but getting no pleasure from creating images that looked like so many other landscape photographs. I feel the need to create "good" work that is distinctive and creative.

What brings me most joy?

Creating "good" work that is distinctive and creative!

What motivates me to do photography?

There is a part of me that would like to be recognised for my work - however that might be measured. It is nice to win competitions, and it is nice to sell work. But really the main motivations are the joy I gain from the process of creating images and the satisfaction in creating work that I think is good.

What is my vision for my photography?

Hard question! Why hard? Probably because I've never really thought about it other than in vague abstract ways. There are some photographers who's work I enjoy and admire (eg Nicki Gwynn Jones, Valda Bailey and Vanda Ralevska - as well as, of course, Eva Polak) - interestingly all female - and whilst I don't wish to copy any of them (because I would find no satisfaction in this), I would love to have a portfolio of beautiful creative images as extensive and diverse of any one of these women.

It is my hope that in persevering with creative techniques that I will create a notable body of work that achieves some recognition such that others say "check out Mark Reeves, he does some interesting and beautiful work".

(1) Talking Heads 1979, Mind

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