I used to be offended when people would refer to my photography as a hobby; it belittled my artistic endeavors. Often, I would step away from a larger argument and brush it off; it helped me to imagine my painter friends’ reaction to the same, to being called hobby painters. I suspected they would not feel good about it either. It is belittling to call someone’s artistic expression a hobby, whether it be a sculpture, photograph or a painting; most artists put tremendous effort into their artwork, thousands of hours or more over a lifetime and we are met with failure most of the time, countless do-overs. Artists must have a high level of bravery to create something and then put it out into the world to be judged. Eventually I grew to realize that the people who called my photography a hobby were either ignorant about art or were jealous.
Yet I persisted; I did not let the discouraging words of others stop me. It would have been easy to give up and spend my time gambling or playing video games. I stepped away many times, thinking I would not return. However, the passion and joy I felt every time I made an artistic photograph kept me hooked and outshined any prior disappointments. That emotion drove me to create the next photograph.
There is nothing wrong with photography as a hobby. Everyone is unique. If you ever feel discouraged, if someone diminishes your work, do not give up; the world is a better place with more artists!