Please allow me a few moments to rant. I realize this is well-trodden territory, but I feel compelled. I will make it as entertaining as possible.
As an artist sharing his work I’ve always had a tolerate/hate relationship with social media. It certainly has never been love. The reasons are numerous and familiar to any photographer who is active on Facebook or Instagram. The ever increasing limited reach, the competition with thousands (if not millions) of photos posted every day, the far too-small photos, the lack of engagement from viewers beyond a cursory glance before moving on to the next post in their feed, the list goes on and on.
Out of curiosity I read an article on how to outsmart the latest Instagram algorithm. I quickly learned that I’m screwed. Among the steps the article recommended taking were more frequent posting (um, no, I can’t stand when photographers post every day. You don’t have that much compelling work. You truly don’t), making videos (not gonna happen), creating Stories (I hate the Stories feature with a passion), and finally, and this is straight from the article, posting photos with “Bold colors. Breathtaking landscapes. The sort of stuff that gets people to stop in their tracks and smash “Like.””. Which anyone who is familiar with my work will realize is exactly NOT the type of photographs I produce. Subtlety and nuance? Black-and-white? Sorry, pal, no smashing “Like” for you!
I am aware that most of my disdain is personal and that for some people social media is very useful. We all have our own objectives and our satisfaction with it is based on our expectations. And I would be lying if I said nothing good has come from it. The issue is, it simply doesn’t jive with my values. The decision to not participate in the strategies or tactics to increase the eyes on my work is on me. I simply find the strategies abhorrent.
So, what’s a photographer to do? Despite my misgivings I’m not going to quit social media, at least not yet (aren’t you relieved?). Why not? Well, I’m chicken. What I am going to do is start sharing photos via my newsletter. No more than two a month, I don’t wish to inundate people with more emails than they already receive. There will be no marketing, no agenda, just me sharing my work with those who have shown interest in my photography. Which means now is a great time to subscribe to my newsletter if you already haven’t.