I have been a HUGE Beatles fan ever since I first saw them on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. Several years later I became a fan of the band Badfinger who reminded me of the Beatles.
Well it turns out that the Beatles and Badfinger were connected...very connected. Badfinger was the first band that Apple Corps signed. The name "Badfinger" came from the working title for the song "With A Little Help From My Friends." And two of the Beatles wrote songs for Badfinger.
But despite this backing, Badfinger was struggling to be recognized and get on the charts. Paul McCartney came to the rescue by offering them the song "Come and Get It." But the offer came with a condition: McCartney had to produce the song and it had to be done exactly like the demo tape he had recorded.
Paul McCartney recorded the demo of this song prior to a Beatles recording session at Abbey Road studios. He played all the instruments on the demo and had a clear vision for how it should sound.
In The Beatles Anthology book, he explained that Badfinger wanted to do the song more in their own style, but he insisted they do it the same as on his demo, because he knew it would be a hit if done his way.
He was right: the song was the breakout single for Badfinger.
McCartney had a "clear vision" of how the song should sound and didn't allow Badfinger to deviate a bit. And he was right, it was a big hit.
But was it worth it?
In this instance the band was merely a marionette. Yes, a successful marionette after following McCartney's detailed direction, but a marionette nonetheless.
What would you do if a prominent photographer said to you: let me manage your photography...I'll tell where to go, what to shoot and how to process it. I'll guarantee you success but you must follow my every direction exactly.
Would it be worth it?
You would enjoy success that would open doors and introduce your work to new audiences...
But would it be worth it?
If your goal is fame and accolades, then you might think so. But if you want to create images that you love and are proud of, then that success would feel fraudulent and unfulfilling.
I believe we each must find our own Vision and not rely on the Vision of others. Copying other's images, styles, techniques, following the latest fads or listening to others about your work is not the way to find your Vision.
But rather forge ahead on your own, learn to know what you want, critically analyze your work, evaluate what you like and dislike about your images, learn from your mistakes and improve again and again and again. That is how you grow, develop your Vision and become independent.
So, would it be worth it?
For me the answer is no. I'd rather follow my Vision and be mediocre in the eyes of others rather than be a successful marionette.