Andrew Molitor wrote:
Am I doing good work? I really think I am. It is powerful and moving to the only audience that really matters, which is me. There is some evidence that some of it translates pretty well.
There are two ideas in his last paragraph I find appealing...a bit of fresh air, if you will.
I am an amateur, and like many here (I suspect) I don't set out to sell my services or my work. Sure, I've sold a few prints, but my primary reason for spending my time and treasure on photography is to please myself, to record a memory or impression that is personal to me. My photography is taken for "the only audience that really matters, which is me." It's nice to find confirmation this is not a solely held motivation.
The last point is, I think, a necessary consequence of the first. I know there's beautiful work out there, technically perfect and wonderfully composed, that doesn't seem to have any soul. It's as if the photographer had become as mechanical as his camera. It seems to show up, though, when a photographer invests a bit of himself in his work. Those photographs may not be the "iconic image" Andrew wrote about, but they seem to sincerely speak.
The image of the calculus book...I didn't look, but is by chance Protter & Morrey?...isn't one that I would particularly want to hang on my wall, but taken with the text is powerful. It communicates. And that is what I think "translates pretty well" means.