Meditation... David Bayles & Ted Orland wrote, " In large measure becoming an artist consists of learning to accept yourself, which makes your work personal, and in following your own voice, which makes your work distinctive. (Art & Fear: Image Continuum: 1993)"
Meaning? I trigger the shutter, run the result through post processing, and out come images like 'The Juice'. Now, who determines whether 'The Juice' is any good? Um, I guess that depends upon what your definition of 'good' is. Wait, maybe it depends upon what MY definition of 'good' is?
I've got a friend who believes that an artist must have an audience. Audience is a part of the definition... his definition. You can't be a closet: sculptor, musician, painter, dancer, or photographer. To him, every art is a performing art. Okay, but even if he's right (and I don't buy it), it still begs the question... what makes 'The Juice' any good? If the audience rejects it, is it bad art? Is it art at all? Is it implied that art only exists if it has an audience which likes it? Now there are two conditions, well actually three - since without the creator, there would be nothing to put before an audience. So, to be any good, then first 'The Juice' has to exist... then it has to have an audience... then that audience has to approve of it. Whew....
Now back to Bayles and Orland.... if an artist learns to accept him/herself... and follows her/his own voice. And that acceptance results in a personal concept that is out of tune with the cultural moment... Then what? Culture says the stuff is bad... audience, a creature of culture deliver's culture's opinion and POOF!... "The Juice" is no good. For a few years, when culture evolves and... POOF!... "The Juice" is good. Sounds like art is a moving target, eh? Or maybe, art is what artists do. Take it or leave it, audience.
Maybe "The Juice" is as good as I feel it is? Hey, I like it. A lot. And as long as I'm not asking for a market to deluge me with money... That's good enough. Right?
Artists are different from doctors, locomotive engineers, street sweepers, or economists. They are not defined by credentialing boards, or their boss's job title. They are artists when they believe they are artists. And as long as they keep believing they are artists. It is a matter of faith. Hmmmmmm....