Where has all the love gone?

For many years, Flickr was my go to site for sharing photography. I posted regularly, completing a 365 project in 2011. Each day, I logged in and interacted with other artists. Sometimes this was by private Flickrmail and other times it was through comments and group pages. The purpose of sharing on Flickr and interacting with other artists was to build a community where expression reigned high.

When Flickr drastically redesigned their website in 2013, many artists abandoned the site. I did. The changes were frustrating and difficult to adjust to. Flickr was my home but I naturally migrated to Facebook with most of my friends.

The experience was exciting. On Facebook I got to see artists as whole people. Rather than only viewing their work on Flickr occasionally, I got to see their normal (non-conceptual) images on Facebook. Like going out with friends, who they interacted with regularly. It was cool getting to know these people in a different way.

Today I went back on Flickr to look at some of my favorite artists. Most of them still post their work each day on Flickr. I started scrolling through comments and there’s a divide I’ve noticed. In the past, artists interacted heavily with those who commented on their work. Now days, it looks like a barren wasteland. People comment and leave their remarks but there’s no conversation. That personal stuff is on Facebook.

But Facebook isn’t as personal as you think. I see these wonderful photographers on my friendslist and NewsFeed but they’re in their own little world. The “high end” photographers interact almost exclusively with other top notch artists. While this isn’t horrible, it feels like some of the love has left the community. Where did it all go?

Flickr is barren, Facebook is divided, how can we create an environment which focuses on fostering community and supporting other artists. I’m not sure yet but it’s worth spending time figuring out. Content creators seem so far from their viewers these days. Hopefully we can change that and build something great again.

BLOGtober day twenty one!

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Quality or Quantity

Is it better to have quality content or to have lots of content? Often on YouTube, users that make great videos only have a few of them. While content creators that make mediocre content tend to have an endless amount of videos. For a very long time I thought it was better to have more videos than less high quality videos.

What this means as an artist/content creator is; having high quality work is more valuable than having low quality work. It’s also better to have a larger portfolio than a smaller one. Therefore it’s best to have a large body of work that is high quality. However, it’s extremely difficult to combine the two.

Artist tend to have a problem: we always want better quality work. When we create something that is beautiful and perfect, we want to create something that is more beautiful and more perfect. It doesn’t matter what the previous quality was, as long as the next is better. This drives progress because it forces the creators to motivate themselves to produce better content, thus increasing skill.

However, it often is intermixed with unhappiness and dissatisfaction. We have difficulty accepting our work and being proud of our products. Sometimes we create crap content. Everyone does.

Anyways, for a long time I thought it was better to have more content. More content means that you could explore more areas and find what you like best. It also means that you have a larger portfolio which could cater to a larger group of consumers. By creating a lot of work, you grow significantly.

However, mass production doesn’t always drive improvement. This blogging project is about creating a large body of content. Its purpose is to teach me how to write. By sitting down each night and finding a topic to talk about, I’m learning a skill. At the same time, writing daily doesn’t give me time to edit, or really think about concepts. It’s very much a produce, produce, produce, mindset.

As the last two weeks come about, I’ve been getting this sickened feeling in my stomach. This blogging project took a lot of time. It’s produced 350 blog posts so far and more than 120,000 words. Overall, this is the most I’ve written in my life.

The last days though, I’ve been reflecting. This year has been full of adventures. I’ve recorded some of them in blog posts and others in pictures. The mass quantity has forced me to learn how to write about any situation at any given time. Which is a great skill but I can’t help but feel that it’s also been a poison. Right now I’m rambling. There is purpose to this text but nothing that is worth editing. Mass quantity breeds ignorance of the process.

This work isn’t great. It’s just work. At the end, I don’t know how many posts I will keep up. I learned from it but it’s not something I want to show off. The lesson was learned and I’ve grown from it but this isn’t my portfolio. It’s not a complete version of myself.

A couple years ago, a photographer I loved removed all of her work from Flickr. I was absolutely devastated. Her work was a huge inspiration. The photos she posted were one of the reasons that I started taking photos myself. I didn’t know what to do when I couldn’t look through her work.

I was devastated and vowed that I would never remove my work. I wanted others to be able to see my growth. They could also look through a large body of work. Perhaps they would see that I’m human and they could create too.

As this project halts, I don’t want to display my content. I want to remove it and start fresh. It takes a lot to start from scratch but I don’t like this content. It’s not polished. I can’t share it with everyone. It’s imperfect.

I can’t answer whether having a large body of work is better or worse than having a higher quality of work. That’s something you have to decide. Would you rather put a lot of time into creating one excellent piece or five pieces? When you go online, would you rather see five mediocre videos of your favorite YouTuber or one awesome video? It’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself: quality or quantity?

350/365

Where’d your stuff go?

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?

255/365

Vlog for Days (with Sarah Nieman)

Wow, today was my first day that video editing dragged on and cut into my sleeping. Right now I really should be in bed but my project is exporting from Premier Pro Elements and is estimated to take another 30 minutes. I’m not sure if I’m going to stay awake for it or head to bed. The video will be here tomorrow nonetheless – so nothing to worry about.

Sarah Nieman and I teamed up quickly during a Skype call to ramble about community and getting with other artists. It’s nice to ramble with other people and Sarah is a fantastic person to talk to. I hope that you will take a minute to listen to our rambles!

Sorry if the video comes out a little funky. I just learned so much about Premier in the last hour. It’s so different than Photoshop and still completely new to me!

117/365 blogs
3/14 vlogs

 

Figs and find direction

After wandering aimlessly for the past year, I feel like I’ve finally found a path I want to follow. Sylvia Plath once wrote;

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

In my own life, I’ve struggled with decision and picking just one thing. To me, it’s always been more valuable to take a bite of many fruits than to eat a whole bowl of the same thing. Why do one thing when you could do many?

Now, after talking with a good friend on Skype for the past few hours, I’ve realized that I want to pick something and expand on it. I feel the need to focus my energies and really produce something – get known for being able to do something.

Photography was a huge part of my life last year and has been for the past 9 years. It was a wonderful form of expression and I’ve always loved it. Now I want to get back into it and specify myself to create a style. I want something that shows consistency.

I’ll have to meditate on this further but I really want to start focusing onto a subject. So much of my time is consumed in indecision.

90/365