The art of "creating" "art"

I take photos for a living. Recently, I started to develop, scan, and enlarge my analogue photography from home, as I needed something to fill the abyss of purpose when I found that digital photography wasn't quite as giving to me as it once was. I was introduced to the analogue medium by a friend in mid 2020, and at first I thought it was rather cost-prohibitive, between film, lab, and the status of my employment at the time, I coined it as a fun hobby and embodied the "I shoot film" persona among friends.
Over time and after finding consistent work in the motion picture industry, I crept into the rabbit hole, slowly accumulating devices and knick-knacks, trying new film stocks and techniques, and, most notably, consuming an exhaustive, unquantifiable supply of "art" from other photo-takers on social media, landing me in a fully-fledged darkroom in my bathroom, a processing machine, and (recently upgraded) dedicated scanners for both 135 and 120 format film. As I'm writing this, I am re-scanning my 108th roll of film; about a third of all that I've shot to date.
Also to date, I have not digitally, publicly shared a single piece of my work. Aside from clients and a few acquaintances that occasionally host small local galleries, I do not share my work; I posses no inclination to do so. I'm content with keeping my work in my darkroom and hard drive, akin to a dragon resting upon its treasure.
Initially, I attributed my incertitude to referring to my work as work and not art. In my eyes, my work never measured up to the bar that I set that kept work as "work" and set "art" as only pieces on par with the masterworks of the greats before me, seeing that popular sharing platforms are overwhelmed by other peoples "art" already. Observing my peers from the sidelines of their success with their endless trend-riding pictures of vintage car tail lights, Promist filters, neon gas stations and strikingly mundane portraiture served only to enforce my hesitations, which was then compounded by the unattainable excellence of the celebrated art of the household-names of the field. The reservations I held initially were gradually cemented with envy and anxiety, devolving rapidly into resentment of what the art world unfolded to be before me: an unreachable heaven, far above a plagued middle earth, ruled by the iron fist of likes, followers, shares, reach, and a silent competition of the most exuberant way to make a morning coffee. Praise be upon those who are reblogged by photo cinematica!
Indeed, the dawn of the "creator" will be the header of future generations art-history textbooks, emboldened, above the subheader "the new dark age of fine art." This notion that anybody can create art has gentrified the scene with repetition and emptiness - what we, products of our time have come to know as "content". 
At face value, that is, at the "artist"s face, anything can be misconstrued as art. The subtle shapes (or, in the case of what passes for modern art, the lack thereof) of the most mundane object hold the capacity for the most intricate descriptions of emotional impact, meaning, and commentary on broader society or on the artists message, all wrapped neatly within the guise of a "hidden meaning"; sometimes so well hidden, most would consider there to be no meaning at all! But of course, if the "artist" were to frame this seemingly artistically devoid object according to common practice, and employ a professional three-point lighting setup to their subject, the swathes of Instagram junkies would consume it, and it would be praised, celebrated even, as era-defining art. 
Heresy, say I. Photography, sure. An image captured by a device called a camera, photography. Art? I think not. For what does your image have to say? What was so compelling about it that you needed to take a photograph of it? What about that Shell gas station at 0300h was so interesting? 
And yet, to my bewilderment, virtually the same image as what was posted last week, subtextually illiterate, fails to fail, garnering appreciation and attention in the thousands. To what end will my misunderstanding bewilder me? 
Perhaps simply swallowing my pride is my inevitable future, posting mindless content, under the facade of art, and gaining followers, slaving away at their screens, upvoting as soon as they see an edge-lit subject, commenting a handful of fire emojis, and immediately forgetting what they just saw with a swipe of their thumb. That does seem to be all the rage these days. 
Some argue that I cannot see the forest for the trees. I have recited this rant before, and have heeded that idiom some. But I argue this: I think that if you see my words as pure cynicism, as nihilistic banter pretending to be a thought-out critique of the digital art world, perhaps you are so deep into the forest, that you forgot you were surrounded by the trees you accuse me of focusing too much on. Art is not dead, and it is not dying, but it is shrouded by a thick fog that can only be broken by making art yourself. You must define what separates art from content, and a fantastic exercise to practice that skill is to make something that invokes a profound emotional response from you. It can be anything, but the feelings, the raw instinctual decisions you make as the piece takes from, must pour out of you, uncontrollably, violently, spontaneously, and most of all, truthfully. This is what separates the artist from the creator. 
Since my adventure into film, out of the thousands of images I have made, There are around ten that I would care to share. Ten images that whisper to me at night, haunt me in my dreams, and consume my being when I gaze upon them, putting me into a trance. Each grain a part of the story. These ten pieces, perhaps one day, I can comfortably refer to them as art, and thus, one day, introduce myself as an artist. Until then, I will continue to make photographs, practice writing my pen-less essays, and hopefully one day, make art. 
Not everyone can be a great artist, but great art can come from anyone. However, it is not up to the artist to decide what is art; that is the responsibility of anyone. 
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