In the days of film an outstanding image would be printed and then the photograph would be shared among your closest friends and co-workers. If you were one of them you would hold the image in your hand and let your eyes wander from left to right and top to bottom. You would examine the subject, composition and light. If the photograph was a superb image, time would stop and you would gaze at it with awe. It would leave an imprint on your memory. Then you would share your thoughts and compliment the photographer. Seeing a photograph would be an event.
It’s quite different today. Nowadays sharing a photo is almost too easy. Not only can you share your image with family and friends but you can show your work to thousands of people with just one click. And that’s a good thing. However, the ease of sharing a photo has created an environment in which sharing photos online has become a national sport. Don’t get us wrong. Parents want to share pictures of their newborn with their family or friends and send photos from a barbeque or their travels. We accept that.
However, we often see aspiring photographers uploading hundreds of photos over the course of a few weeks with the intention of showing their work to the world. We think this is ultimately counterproductive.
If you think you are a photographer (amateur or pro) or you aspire to be one, this ability to post brings not only satisfaction and joy but also carries some responsibilities with it. One of them is respect for the viewer. Do we really think if we bombard the Internet with hundreds of images, our audience or fellow photographers will appreciate our work? Even the best photographers in the world produce perhaps a couple of outstanding images per year. Sure, they shoot a lot but they refrain from sharing. They show only their best work.
Not only that but the subject of your image should play a role in whether to bother your audience or not. We see so many photos of the same places: Antelope Canyon, Sun Rising Through Arches, etc. shot the same way. You have to ask yourself: Do you really want to take the same image even if it is as good as those taken by the best photographers out there? Does it do any good? Will your audience appreciate it or they will glance at it, say ‘nice’ and move on?
Maybe we all should spend more time going through our work and deciding. We should ask ourselves: “Is this image worth sharing? Is it good enough? Are we adding a new insight?” Don’t get us wrong – we are as guilty of over-sharing as anybody! However, we believe this is an important topic that should be discussed. Maybe sharing less shows more. After all, each photo you share is a reflection of you, even if your name is not on it. Work hard, make it special, make it yours and share it only if you think it is your best work. With sharing comes a lot of satisfaction but also a responsibility.
What do you think?
2015 © Kasia & Olaf Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.