As a person who regularly views art online, I find it incredibly frustrating when an artist removes most of their work. YouTubers like Randy Phillips create fantastic videos but decide, for whatever reason, to remove them. In fact, I would say that often, they choose to remove their best content. Many photographers I know have done the same thing on Flickr. Bloggers like Jay Brannan and Davey Wavey choose to close their websites.
I say this not in an effort to badger these artists’ work but to pose a question: what is the purpose of your content?
Photography is the easiest content to talk about because I know many artists and I’m a photographer myself. For many in my community, we share our work on Flickr. When I was active on the site, it served as a community where we critiqued one another’s work, as well as documented our progress.
Many photographers chose to do 365 projects, similar to how I’m blogging daily. This produces a lot of content, which floods our profile. As more work is produced, the quality improves. Eventually artists have a clear distinction between their new (quality) work and their old work that they learned through. This gap creates a difficult because it goes back to the question: what is the purpose of your content?
In 2010, one of my favorite photographers shut down her Flickr profile and hid her 365. This absolutely devastated me because I loved all of her work. Everything about it was beautiful! I felt as if part of my soul was ripped away when she took down her content. From her perspective, she was clearing old photographs that no longer represented her quality of work. She didn’t want others to see old images because she wanted to display only her finest content.
Her purpose for posting this content was to show her greatest work. This meant removing the work that she believed wasn’t good enough. While on the other side of the country, I’m at home looking for her content. I didn’t look for only the ‘best’, I wanted the full feeling of her work. It took me years to get over this loss.
YouTubers have done the same thing with their channels. Randy took down almost half of his videos and I don’t understand why. Perhaps the purpose of his content was to represent himself and he didn’t like how half of his videos looked. Again, I watched his content for the whole feeling of it, not just the quality of one.
Davey Wavey is a famous YouTuber who began as a blogger. On his site http://www.breaktheillusion.com/ he wrote almost daily about his life. It was interesting to see his perspective on the world and I loved reading it. Everything felt fresh and timeless. I’ve spent many nights re-reading old posts because I related to them so well. A few months ago he took down his site and moved to another domain. While this was probably to upgrade his previous site, he removed his blog. This is such a shame because I really valued his writings.
Let’s turn the question to you; what is the purpose of your content?
Why do you share yourself online? Some share to create an image of themselves or to document their lives. Others do it for building a portfolio or to gain fame.
Is it right to take down your content?
Well it is your content. You are free to do anything you like. I write this post because I want others to know that readers like all of your content. Having 10 perfect posts is worse than having 75 alright posts. I would rather have much more quantity and a better representation of your work.
I have no right to tell you what to do but I would like to request that you leave your content online. Even if you push it to another site or another location. It’s unfortunate to see so much fantastic art disappearing online because artists want to clear up their profile.
Why do you create? What is the purpose of your content?