I didn’t expect this. When writing the piece KILLING THE BEAST I promised myself I would write without the “Will my followers like it?” filter. And so that is exactly what I did. I presented my own journey through social media including beautiful, pretty, bad, ugly and everything in-between. There was no other way to get around it.
The response I received was overwhelming. Many of you shared your stories, experiences and ways of dealing with the issue of sharing, liking, keeping up with updates, trying to retain and protect your photographic identity and so on. I am deeply thankful for your effort to engage with this difficult topic. What is even more remarkable is that this discussion is taking place without profanities, trolling or a nasty attitude! Don’t’ worry about the disagreements – I embrace different perspectives.
Although my last piece laid out my personal experience of social media and built the framework for solutions, it didn’t answer the question: HOW TO DEAL WITH THE ISSUE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AS A PHOTOGRAPHER. Of course, I spent a lot of time thinking about it, reading your thoughts and creating my own approach – something that fits my personal and photographic life and works for me in the long term.
First, I must address the reaction I received from some people: “You don’t like social media so why you are sharing this piece here?” Wait! I never said I don’t like social media. Not only do I enjoy using social media but I am aware that as a photographer I must engage there. The whole theme of my piece was killing the beast to stop social media from intruding into my creative process. It flattens the reception of other people’s work and makes your interactions patterned and mindless. This is the beast that I am convinced needs to be KILLED.
Then I referred to DUCKY as a form of presentation and interaction that should be occasional, honest and thoughtful for the benefit of my friends, colleagues and online participants as well as my personal growth. Think how much better our online interactions would be if we stopped using clichés, half-words and vapid pleasantries. I want to go though less content but see more. I want to LIKE less but, behind every LIKE I give, there should be the genuine attention and admiration YOUR work deserves.
Most importantly, I know I have to take a regular bubble bath with Ducky. I need lengthy breaks from social media to let my mind rest, wander and float without the chains of being tied up to words, opinions, visuals and relentless self-promotion (or the plug!). Until the water gets cold, I want to hold someone’s hand, have heated conversations without reaching for a phone, experience REAL smiles or anger … without the social media filter which is often used unconsciously.
I want to stay away from social media entirely every so often to make sure my photographic identity remains unscathed. I want to make sure my muse (I really don’t like using the cliché INSPIRATION) comes from the real, outside world – something I can feel, hear, touch and experience, rather than from the virtual world. Not slippery soap that gets lost under the water.
In this way I can share MY OWN SEEING. Don Craig, a great photographer, fascinating person and deep thinker from Victoria, whom I had the pleasure to meet in person, shared the following quote: “The more I like my work, the fewer others seem to.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Of course, some may view it as not inspirational enough but photography is the craft of self-discovery and visual risk-taking. Therefore, everything we share should be based on our own seeing and experiences, even at the cost of popularity. Like great art, great photography may never be popular!
For this reason, blogging remains my favourite way of interacting online. I notice that when I visit other photographers’ blogs I tend to read more and take in more. It is not a quick browse through an Instagram or Facebook feed but rather a conscious visit to someone’s online home. I have observed the same from people who visit my blog. It appears they really want to meet me and get to know my work. Their comments are more thoughtful and I appreciate that. Does it mean I will quit Instagram or Twitter? Of course not, but keep in mind that my visits may be less frequent. I may LIKE less but I assure you that once you notice LIKE from olafphoto, it’s real – it means I took the time to pause and experience your work. My LIKE means I. Really. Do. Like. Your. Work!
Please do the same for others. Let’s get REAL in the virtual world! KILL THE BEAST, not DUCKY!
There’s no question this topic is a serious one so to lighten the mood I’m posting some images I shot recently with the X100F. This time I went berserk with colour using Fujifilm Velvia for my street photography – something I haven’t done much before. Enjoy.
2017 © OLI Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.
12 thoughts on “Follow Up – Killing The Beast”
Great articles. i recently took aset that i really liked. I unvelied them on social media and.. nothing. I was destroyed. now nothing had changed, i still liked the pictures but i began posting more . Now its possible no one liked them. Its also possible they didnt fit the type that people liked. Whatever the truth you make a very valid point that we can become slaves to the like and forget that the key thing is about enjoying photography. Thanks. I think will have to bookmark these articles to remind myself in afew months
Thank you for sharing your experience. I think many people could relate to your experience. It is important to build a barrier, a sort of buffer zone between social media’s herd-mentality-like judgement and your own seeing. At the same time there are lots of great resources online where brilliant photographers/editors find the best work out there and present it to viewers. It is important to learn from such visual aids just to make sure your own photography is heading in the right (artistically and visually) direction. I do it all the time!
Your perspective on our future writings/imagery would be highly appreciated.
Wish you all the best,
nothing to add, everything was said yesterday .. 🙂
Love the colours in these shots!
The colours in these works really pop, I really do like the vibrant scenes you are finding and portraying here. Excellent follow up piece, good words for thought.
Appreciate it. Definitely the subject worth discussing.
Your first post and this follow up is right on the money. I retired from gainful employment three years ago with the intention of spending much more time in the company of my life-long passion, photography. To some extent I have done that but at the same time I also signed up for social media, a completely new thing for me. It has been a mixed bag; I am part of some great groups, it helps me attract people to my photography courses, and I have received some very constructive feedback on my work. The significant downside is that I spend too much time in front of my computer as a resident of the cyber world. As I read about others who have cutback on their involvement in social media, or even left altogether I realised that I need to bring things into a better balance. It has its place and needs to be put there. Olaf, thank you for articulating what I have been thinking for a while now.
It is great to hear your story and perspective. We are all struggling how to deal with this phenomenon. However, I think being aware of the issue is already a great start. I know some people who spend hours online everyday without seeing it as a problem. It is worth having such a conversation.
Appreciate your support, Don. Trying to walk the walk and reduce the time spent on social media 🙂
Olaf, good for you for following up on the reaction your post generated. Excellent to have this type of discussion. I hope that you are encouraged to write more because you have helped generated useful and thoughtful comments. A rare occurrence in our anonymous, online world.