“A photograph that has not been shared or at least printed is almost an unexistent photograph, is almost an untaken photograph.”
– Sergio Garabay
I have a lot of pictures which I have not shared with anyone or even printed – these are the ones I wish I had not taken, so I don’t mind that by not sharing them I am bestowing upon them the status of “untaken”.
Then I have pictures I like and these I feel compelled to share. I am, at heart, a public artist. I know many people who are private artists. Painters or photographers who make their art and keep it to themselves.
What makes us different? Is it that I am an extrovert? Hardly… Many would say that my art is the only personal expression I’m likely to share, particularly with strangers. There’s a paradox for you.
Many of the private artists I know are very personable and outgoing, self-confident in many ways. They’re the ones you’d expect to find sharing, sharing, sharing…
I think the compulsion, or at least inclination, to “go public” with one’s work as an artist comes from the desire for the work itself to have some larger meaning. If kept private, it can only have meaning in the sphere it exists in, which is only in your own head. By sharing it, that sphere is expanded and the potential meaning expands along with it. There are certainly other, more practical, reasons artists share – money, for one. But I believe there is a deeper, more personal motivation lurking around there as well.
As Louis Armstrong said, “The music ain’t worth nothing if you can’t lay it on the public.”