Chase Jarvis Explores The Importance Of Showing Your Work

A lot of photographers are afraid to put their work out into the public eye for fear that its not perfect. A lot of work goes unseen because the photographer wasn't comfortable enough to show what they created. Chase Jarvis interviews Austin Kleon, the author of the book Show Your Work!: 10 Ways To Share Your Creativity And Get Discovered, and delves in 3 reasons not showing your work is a bad idea.

I have personally struggled with this for a long time, and to an extent, I still do. Its a hard feeling to shake. As photographers we generally take pride in what we do and we want to show the world our best possible work. When we feel it is not up to our standards, or those we compare ourselves to, we can't help but feel defeated and scared to show what we have made.

Being selective and having the ability to self critique is good, but there are also many benefits that you can miss out on by not showing your work, even if its not "perfect". Even if you receive public critique, it can be more valuable to you than to never receive it at all.

They sum up the video with a neat thought; obscurity is the problem, not haters. Its an interesting thought worth pondering. Are you feeling comfortable in what you do because you are obscure?

[via Chase Jarvis]


Peter House's picture

Peter House is a commercial fashion photographer from Toronto, Canada. He shoots over 10,000 pieces of clothing every year for a variety of lookbooks. Clients range from small local boutiques to international brands such as Target, Winners, and Sears. In addition to that Peter runs one of the most popular rental studio's in the Toronto area.

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I have the book, and Agree.. we all need to show our work, its no good on a hard drive.

Thanks Peter for sharing that!

I don't know about "showing your work" would get much benefits other than my own website in portfolio/gallery or/and blog posts to a current following. Showing my work in other avenues such as 500px, flickr, and instagram helps to build a following, but as for facebook/groups not that easy especially with the vast majority with rules of not putting any links to any where to build a following. Only thing I benefit from sharing it on facebook groups is hopefully I encourage one to take the extra step and google my name and find my other social media to actually follow my work.

I completely agree that unless people see what you do, your work will hardly ever get "noticed," but "showing your work" is very vague. Personally, I try to post my photographs on social media. I don't feel I have a strong enough portfolio that I could try and get my work hung up on a wall in a cafe or something. When it comes to social media, I just believe it's barely ever up to your skills, your talent or your creativity, but rather just dumb luck.

I can't say my work is fantastic, but I try my best and am willing to grow as a photographer, yet even when I post a photo I feel is one of my best, let's say on Instagram, how would people notice it? Should I add 30 different hashtags, or tag a bunch of other people, or just sit and hope 5 random Instagram users find it and like it?

What I'm trying to say is, unless you show your work to someone that has some sort of power in the field, or get featured as an artist on a site larger than your own, you still might not get what you want, especially in a world where millions use Instagram, and so many students write poetry, and now that 4K, 240fps and video editing apps are in your phone, so many people are trying to "show their work."

In my opinion, social media, such as Instagram, should change the way they work and help promote those who are struggling to get noticed, maybe by creating an Editor's Choice category or such, because what usually shows up in "What You Might Like" are already posts seen by thousands.