I started to write this post in October 2022 after recording a podcast episode with Daniel Gollner about AI and the future of photography. While I write this sentence it is April 2024 and I‘m still not sure that I should publish it. It is about art, what I think art is and yes, I‘ve re-written every single sentence within this post countless times.

It feels like I should not write about this at all, I‘m not an artist at all. I can‘t paint, sing, play an instrument or perform and still I love to create. This doesn‘t make an artist, but do I create art?

What follows is my very personal opinion on what I think art is, my motivation to keep creating without the need of getting recognised by anyone and why generative AIs will not kill art, but jobs.

Back to 2022

Before I recorded this podcast episode about generative AI and its impact on photography I prepared myself by thinking about why it won‘t replace photographers at all and then Daniel killed all my arguments by describing what the job of a photographer is, not always, but in a commercial setting more often than not: a job.

The client has expectations and the job of the photographer is to fulfill them. There is nothing bad about that. That‘s how jobs always work. I argued that generative AIs can‘t truly create something new, they just mix and match things they „learned“ from their training sets. This is btw. still something I experience all the time when using generative AIs like DALL•E or similar ones. The results do not at all look creative to me. They look like things I have seen a million times. Don‘t get me wrong, they are amazing, technically, but very generic. Like commercial photography, the perfect shot of a sunset in the background, two people enjoying a romantic dinner in the foreground, the sun reflecting in their wine glasses. Sharp, perfect light, the composition could not be better, exactly what commercial clients want: Perfection. This is also the right moment to tell you that I am not able to take photos like this. I do not have the skills to do so. That‘s why photography is a profession, because it takes a lot of skill and experience to produce this level of perfection, the perfect lie, over and over again for each and every new customer and their specific needs. I am not a photographer and I never will be.


I do not need to create to pay the rent. I have no audience that is waiting for my next photo. Close to no one is watching. No expectation, no pressure. The only one judging what I do is myself and I can tell you that most of the time I just hate the stuff I create.

So, why do I do it, if I do not expect to get anything out of it? Years after the podcast recording that started this thought process I was watching the Doktor Froid Prime Time Show on Twitch. I watch this show regularly for obvious entertainment reasons and not to think about my creative process or art in general, but on this evening, in between a fail video and a live reaction on a documentary, Flo, one of the hosts, was showing some of the art he is making in his basement. Collages, spray paint, concrete frames, sculptures. The interesting thing for me was, besides the pieces he was showing, that he did not wanted to show them.Oli, another host, basically had to force him to show it to us, the viewers. Even though he has a huge audience as a content creator, he nearly never shows anything he creates on his channels.

So, why does he do it? It does not pay his rent, very little people have ever seen it and as far as I know there is also no way to look at it or even buy it for anyone besides his close friends and family.

Of course I do not know the answer to this question, after all I do not know him personally nor have I ever interacted with him directly. I just watch his content, that has nothing to do with art most of the time, but if I had to guess, it is because he wants to create.

The need to create something can, at least for me, be reason to do it without expecting it to be something bigger some time. No one will remember me as an artist and I don‘t care, but everytime I get a new batch of photos back from the lab it is pure joy for me, to see that in between a lot of garbage that there sometimes is a photo that I like and that makes me feel that I learned something new to be able to create it. I am not talking about a technical skill most of the time. I really love it to learn something that allows me to tell something new within my creations, even if I tell it mostly only to myself.


Chances are you are still reading this, because you finally want to know what art is or at least what I think it is. So here we go.

For me art can‘t exist without a story and a purpose, but it absolutely can exist without an exceptional technical skill. For example, if someone is able to paint the perfect landscape, so realistic that it looks like you are there, this is not necessarily art for me. Or if someone is able to play the piano perfectly. Don‘t get me wrong, these are impressive skills and I truly admire people who have such amazing talents, but that does not automatically make them artist.

On the other hand someone taped a banana to a wall and there is also a pile of candy in a museum and it is allowed or even encouraged to take away candies by the visitors. Both of these artworks are not created with a specific technical skill, but with a very strong purpose and a story that could not be told better in any other way. The story behind the pile of candy for example is so beautiful and sad at the same time. You should really read about it here.

This does not mean that there are no artists that have a lot of amazing technical skills to create their art, but sticking a banana to a wall without a purpose and a message is not art to me, the same way a perfect landscape drawing is not art to me, if it does not transport something more than the painting itself.

So what is art? For me it is a form of expressing something that needs to be told in a way that it will be remembered and understood. It can be a story or a feeling or even the documentation of a single moment in time that needs to be preserved. As I said in the beginning of this post, this is just my way of looking at art and my personal goal I try to accomplish with my work. Like it or not, but that‘s how it is.

Not an Artists

So, here I am, a guy with a very technical profession, taking mostly analog photos in my free time using cameras that are older than myself on way too expensive film. I do it to create, to learn, to grow, to tell my stories to the few that are listening. I am not an artist and maybe I never will be, but you should know one things: I won‘t stop doing it, because if you scroll a little further you‘ll see a few photos I recently took and they make me happy, because they are a representation of what I am able to create right now and I wasn‘t able to do so when I started to write this post.