E166 Discussion: Ethan Deshaies

Good morning NPN!
This week’s episode on the podcast features an up-and-comer 20-yr-old photographer and college student, Ethan Deshaies. Ethan and I had an interesting conversation about his views on art, good photographs, and more. It was interesting to get the perspective of someone new to the craft. I hope you enjoy - let me know what you thought!

I found this quite an interesting chat Matt.

Certainly, the real reward in photography, for me, comes from seeking out a composition, putting the effort in and then making the image happen. I do, and still will, take images of icons but the real reward comes from the ‘different’ or the ‘unique’. I think that even photographers who shoot icons will take an immense amount of pride in taking something that was fabricated in their brain and executed well. For me the real pride comes from the challenge. I imagine this is the same for a lot of photographers.

I’m really interested in the psychology of him saying that the ‘pride doesn’t necessarily come from the challenge, but rather the end result’ (I’m paraphrasing here). My understanding of psychology (limited as it may be) draws an intrinsic link between effort and the value of success. By this I mean the harder you work for something the larger the sense of achievement. I guess he is saying that his real pride comes from hanging a perfectly executed image on his wall for friends/family to see - may this is a challenge in itself. Although I think that an image with a story behind it would evoke a greater sense of pride in the artist and also appreciation from the viewer. By the same token, a viewer who is unfamiliar with a scene/location wouldn’t know how much (or little) of a challenge it was to make the image they are looking at - does this make the challenge a moot point?

Maybe a person who puts the effort (physical and creative) into to their work holds other photographers who do the same/similar in high regard. But when it comes to the end consumer, who are the people who will view the images and pay the bills at the end of the day, this becomes less relevant.

It’s certainly got me thinking :slight_smile: and by head hurts from thinking about it :exploding_head:

I guess at the end of the day it really depends on what your end game is. I think we all make photos for different reasons; this being the beauty of the endeavour.

Ethan certainly produces stunning work and he should be proud of it regardless, of the effort he put in!!

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I think you have some good thoughts here. I think the motivation is different for everyone for sure, and you’re absolutely correct that “most” consumers don’t know or care about the effort required to obtain an image, although if the consumer knows what they are looking at (perhaps they have been to the area) then they might have a greater appreciation of it. Hard to say.

Maybe I’m just an old fart. I’m sure he’s a very intelligent and talented but listening to him was like listening to my 15 year old grandson. I had issues putting together a clear concise line of thought.

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yeah, it is hard to say. It’s another one of those variables in landscape photography that we will never get to the bottom of. Interesting to speculate though :slight_smile: What you say about the consumer having been to the area certainly should hold true - I can see this being the case especially with visitors to mountain areas (or other climbers/mountaineers) who could appreciate the effort taken to get a shot from the top of “insert peak name here” during epic light. And also how many times you were up there and got nothing. That’s another topic of conversation though!

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All good man. I too struggled as the host. I like to give everyone a shot at the show, and I think it would be really rude to record it and then not release it. =)

The few print sales I get of those images is from folks that have been to those places and appreciate the effort. It’s probably a lot harder than selling prints of Mormon Row in the Tetons though :wink:

But that would just be easy money. No challenge in that :rofl:. Jokes aside. It’s really ace to hear that folk are buying because of those reasons. The shots are more unique and you are unlikely to see one on someone else’s wall.

I can just see it. ‘oh what a lovely picture of a barn in front of a snowy mountain you have. I have one just like it…’

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If you have time, check out @david26 podcast with Ryan Smith (Landscape Photography Show). While I’m not a big fan of the approach of photography purely for money’s sake, Ryan lays out good solid thoughts on what motivates people to buy art. It’s usually because it reminds them of a memory of a place. If ya ain’t been there, it doesn’t resonate.

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Will do! Podcasts keep me entertained while working from home at the moment! Thanks for the recommendation :slight_smile:

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