I started thinking about the different ways that we share our images these days. Online, there’s a selection of community based image hosting sites that can allow you to have as much or as little interaction with other users as you like. There are forums geared towards critique. There are photoblogs, and with them the photoblog circles that form to make little communities. You can submit images to sites like Radiant Vista for in depth critique, or you can simply host a portfolio gallery on your own site. Physical media brings us into both self produced prints and books, and then external entities like magazines and gallery walls.
I suppose people have their reasons for choosing how they share their images, none or some or all of the above. I wonder just what might be going on there.
In the basic, amateur, just-bought-my-first-DSLR groups people seem to be mostly looking for a) technical assistance to help them start moving up that steep incline of a learning curve and b) a bit of chin-tickling, hopefully some indication that they have a ‘knack’ and are heading in the right direction with it. I think it’s a fairly usual step in our photographic lives/careers and doesn’t take much analysing. But then once past that stage, where there’s an element of technical mastery, there seems to be a bit of a split and while some go on to push those skills and hone their techniques to a fine point, others branch off into a different kind of area.
I’ve rambled about it at length enough to avoid repeating myself here – and it’s been coming through in other blogs too. It’s the photographer who is looking for a different kind of personal boundary to push – or is already some way down that path. What is it that drives this kind of photographer to seek publication in a magazine, or gallery representation? Is it always just for the recognition, a sense of achievement, a measure of success? Is it about getting a message out to an audience? Is it about being able to connect with others with similar/corresponding ideas? What do you do when your photography takes a turn where you feel the more it means to you, the less you want to put it out there?
I’m wondering if it’s down to the audience I perceive to be out there. I certainly don’t want to post an image where it’ll be judged on technical merit alone, rule of thirds, sharpness and ‘impact’. Do I want to go to the other end of the scale where it’s going to be pulled apart for a lack of conceptual innovation? Nope. I’m not trying to spread the word on an issue that’s important to me, or the world at large. The images that fill my hard drives are mostly a side effect of me wandering with my camera, and finding stuff out about myself and the world around me. Is there a forum for that?