“Wouldn’t it be great if we could predict the future?”
“Can you imagine how much power, fame, and wealth you could amass if you knew before everyone else what the key product would be?”
“Can’t you find comfort, safety, and reassurance in knowing what you create would be well-received?”
It’s all the talk of trends. I have not yet been exposed to photography trends, although I am sure if I were to read photography publications more devoutly my inner dialogue would be inundated with the jabber of the next best thing. I find it preposterous to pay X amount of dollars to whatever institution to tell me the direction of the market and how my work should follow *if* I want to be recognized, significant, or displayed in a gallery. I much prefer to blaze my own trail so to speak. I agree with Lois’ sentiment: “the fact that others are moving in a certain direction is always proof positive…that a new direction is the only direction.” To follow it one step further, I believe that if I am going to create artwork and photography that I market as original, Nate Metz work then it should come from my mind unadulterated by marketing savvy professionals. I have to maintain an integrity to my work, my point of view, and who I am as an artist. I believe in my work. My work sells. The first part of making great art is that I believe in the creation. I am not an artist who creates in line with the trend for the sake of selling art. Can you argue that it is harder this way? You may, but I think it is easier to please myself before trying to please the rest of the world. I am unable to kowtow and pay lip service to any trend if I first did not believe it myself. Here are some trends that I do embrace:
1) digital photography i/o film
2) the green movement
3) world peace
4) a global spiritual awakening
At one time, though, I paid money to learn how to forecast trends and in turn was paid to follow them. I flipped through hundreds of glossy magazines to stay aware of what was going on and where we were going. These experiences working with trends came while working in the fashion industry. Trends are a big part of the industry for the big conglomerates who want to appear as though they have their finger on the pulse of fashion. It is a lot like a popular high school click as they pick who or what’s in and out. During those 6 years, I found trends to be a lot of fluff. I read vague generalizations about how in two years, it’ll be all about comfort, chic style lines, femininity, and futuristic. And as different trend houses preached the coming days it is obvious that different designers followed the advice and amazingly in two years most everyone was right on point. Not. It was just a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Here are some images of a “future” collection I had created based on some trend research.
In retrospect, it is much easier to identify trends in a creative field. Just add up the number of people who did what over x amount of time. But, if you subscribe to the future-casting world of trends, then you are trapped because you have to go in the direction you bought into back then. Your world very easily becomes a convoluted Back to the Future mess. So follow the advice, follow your big ideas, make them reality, and everyone who follows in your footsteps will by default be on the trend they seek.