Although there are far more people trying to ‘be photographers’ than there were in those heady days of 1980, there are also far more opportunities. Gone are the days, thankfully, when a commercial assignment, or even a picture in a newspaper, can damage the chance of gallery representation. Yet what is clear is that a number of ‘good pictures’ are no longer enough; today it has to be about ideas, and about the intent of the work.
If you have something to say and, even better, you have an innovative way of saying it, then opportunities are out there. I sense that photography is concerning itself with real issues again. For some time much of photography seemed to be about itself, and while this was fine, and interesting in some cases, it’s not what photography is really good at. Understand this by familiarising yourself with the rich and wonderful history of our medium. Be proud of it – what it has and what it can achieve. Don’t try and reinvent the wheel. Be inspired. Try and copy, if you like (because no one can). Find a subject you care about. Something that moves you. Something which stirs your rawest emotions. And then have patience.