Why does Photography need to be accepted and seen to be considered art? Why was everyone so shocked when they came across Vivian Mair's story, when all she made was work for herself. Art is always art no matter who sees it or how many people see it.
The validation process intrigues me.
People do things outside recognition and this is something we sometimes forget. They work on something because it gives them drive, hope, or something to do. It is a bit like collecting stamps, we wouldn't praise a stamp collector and curate an exhibition of stamps. But photography is a skill, and their life is interesting to us because they have a skill, so we have to make it a product. Contexts aside, the same principle can be applied to the reasoning behind art. You fall into either two categories, do you make art to be known, or do you make art because it makes you feel good. Both are selfish but in different ways and there is no right or wrong answer. But there are differences.
Some of my favorite photographers, musicians and illustrators, not a lot of people know about their work. The magic things they are making are not out in the world and although this could be considered a shame, it also doesn't get the opportunity to be worn out. It is not bad planning, although that is how it starts, but there is something beautiful about the artists who keep it all hidden, or at least not wide spread to every corner.
You may be wondering, why would you create this argument when how would people know about the work if it is not shown, but ts down to the experience of making art, not its readership. I think it is beautiful to make work without anyone really in mind and the pressure to show it can fade away. It removes the anxiety of acceptance.
I found myself much happier in my own work when I began to ignore what others were doing around me, although its difficult when you have to stay 'tuned in' with the photography world. Too much involvement can make you lose sight of the bigger picture.
In Vivian Maier's case she kept working and now has this 'fame'. It has not enriched her character, merely ourselves.
Art is an antidote to the world around us, it does not need recognition to succeed at some level. When work is made for consumption there is an element that misses genuine reasoning, sometimes, not always.
The validation process can remove the spontaneity and validation from other people does not make it art, its just another step for the work to take. Some people involve themselves with this process and some do not. Some make it their primary target and sometimes it is a product of success. It has always baffled me the obsession behind being known, sometimes it is beautiful to hide in the shadows and enjoy the process of something that you are doing, without thinking about where it will go.