If you are an artist, do you hang your own work on your own wall?
I suspect for most artists, the answer is yes. And, of course, when I say “hang your own work on your own wall,” I am using shorthand for any kind of work that can be presented, regardless of whether it is hanged, staged, projected, played, read, etc. The point is, I suspect most artists enjoy having the enjoyment of their own works in their own homes.
For me, however, the answer seems to be no. I have hung not one of my own photographs in my own home. Why is this? It’s not because I dislike my own work. On the contrary, I’m generally personally happy with the quality of my photography and feel like I am making good work.
Rather, I think it’s because photography is a process for me. Much of the enjoyment comes from seeing something in the real world that would make a good image, and translating that vision into a tangible photograph that I can hold in my hands. In the steps that I undertake along the way – composing the image, operating the camera, editing on the computer, and making test prints until I finalize the photograph – I feel like I really come to know the final piece inside and out. After all, I created it from my mind’s eye and worked to produce it as a final image on paper.
Stated differently, I think my own work holds no mystery for me once it’s complete. This stands in contrast to the work of others, where I can be endlessly captivated because I am seeing only the final product, without any knowledge as to its creation. Again, don’t misunderstand me, I like my own work and it is immensely satisfying to make, but having once made any individual piece, I’m generally ready to move on to the next one.
So, while I like the image in this post, “Snowy Trees, Study No. 3,” I probably won’t be hanging the print on my own wall anytime soon.