Stuck in a tunnel – My current state in photography and a consideration on Google+

I’ve been going over all sorts of different social media articles recently attempting to find ways to improve my blog and to reach people. It’s funny in a way, because a lot of the advice seems to be the same from social media “experts” and also somewhat vague. It encourages me to keep on keeping on, because I’m doing most of what they’re telling me to do – post routinely, critique, initiate conversations. The goal of this blog from the outset was to find like-minded photographers and people who like creative photography in an effort to share and earn eyeballs for a growing portfolio. It’s slowly happening.

One thing I do find amusing about “what to do” with regard to improving a blog is being more personal. So here’s a personal story about the challenges I’m seeing with Google+, a medium I’ve started using more recently to earn eyeballs. Within communities over at Google+ you come across some very opinionated people. They’re very quick to tell you everything they don’t like, including things they wish were in your photo (not critiquing what’s actually there), which is unlike most people here at WordPress. Here, people are invested. They want to share and also cultivate. Discussions are a bit deeper here, or at least more thoughtful, because there’s something to lose – credibility with your blog or as a blogger. I’ve reluctantly entered critiques at G+ and seen some lowest-common-denominator type stuff with regard to what people like and why the like it – all very fickle. It’s disappointing, and also discouraging. Not discouraging in that I value opinions on my work that are negative – but that the comments reside on your photos for others to improperly interpret as gospel. That’s troubling, because the average person at Google+ is not nearly as invested as I or many of the really good photographers there seem to be. I hope I’m not coming across ego-centric or even arrogant on the matter, but I’m fairly certain photographic talent or ability on some level is a rather obvious thing. Everyone does this for different reasons, but those of us who truly respect the medium and wish to grow and share and develop others deserve a bit better than flippant, inane hacks with an opinion.

That said, I’m currently in a bit of a doldrums state with regard to photos. I’m relying heavily on images such as this one – shot maybe a year ago – because the supposed muse has not been visiting me lately. At first I thought it was the cold weather, but it’s lifted to an acceptable 39 degrees F in these parts, leaving me to believe that I’m just kind of burned out on shooting for a time. I’ve done some work for a business of late, placing my focus on something away from that which is artistically inspired. That could be part of it. There have simply been fewer moments where I jump to whip off my bag, rip out my camera and hunt down whatever is there to capture. A big consideration in this is the fact that I’m well over 200 straight days of posting a photo on this blog, and that can wear on anyone. I’ve read other bloggers challenges with keeping such a run going, and I expected to hit a wall at some point, so now about seven months in it’s a bit trying. I’m undeterred, though, and I’ll drag myself forward for a while to keep the streak going. In truth, it’s a bit like this tunnel at Belmont; my view is narrowed, the vision a bit dark, and I’m not sure I love the subject. The grittiness, however, is my motivation to truly grind along this path.
Stuck in a tunnel
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12 Comments to “Stuck in a tunnel – My current state in photography and a consideration on Google+”

  1. Great photo! Hope you find an inspiration to continue blogging your fantastic work. I am also considering G+, but totally sure how I go about it. I really have not used G+ so far, so it’s starting from scratch, which makes me worry how effective it will be. Let me know how you find it. Cheers!

    • Hey, Koji, thank you for making your first comments on the blog. G+ is probably the future of social media. It’s like Facebook and Twitter merged together without ads. I’m sure somebody could challenge me on that, but it’s the best I can come up with. My recommendation would be to get on there asap and join some communities in order to find people with similar interests as you. All the best…

  2. Google+ sounds like the Myspace photography forums. It was an ugly side of the social site when I used it. It seemed to me on these forums there were people who would never say anything positive because that how they thought you critique. This was also the days when a discussion could quickly become one about film vs digital or Canon vs Nikon.

    On the point of feeling uninspired. I feel this is natural. TO be creative 365 days a year is quite difficult and to have times when you maybe are looking back and editing can begin to build up the inspiration for making new images.

    Finallly i don’t believe there is such a thing as being an expert in social media. A blog or a Facebook page has such a competition for viewership more than traditional print media, that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to build something up. I am also trying to find new avenues to build my blog more as well. If you build it they will come.

    • Ben, good points. Having worked in traditional media for a number of years I’ll say that there is a different competitiveness there, but not less of one. It’s hard to explain without going on and on, but it is uber-competitive. I’m one to believe there are social media experts out there, but for some reason a lot of them (most of them?) simply believe more is better. To me, better is better, and sometimes less of better leaves people wanting more. Wait a second, am I being critical of my own one-photo-a-day modus?

      Yes, people with an opinion to be heard (they want it heard) on photography struggle with critique vs. being critical. What’s funny to me is that if they think 90% of an image is great but 10% is less than preferable to them they comment negatively. That’s just not healthy. People who work with images for a living know quality when they see it, and yet some of them get hung up, too. Maybe they’ve been critiqued too many times by the critical?

      Good to hear from you and see you’re on twitter. Thanks for the encouragement, always. Hopefully this natural lull is just that, a lull.

  3. Maybe you need a break. I frankly don’t see the point of posting every day if it makes you miserable. I did it during the summer when I was doing and posting a painting a day– fun for a while but it nearly drove me nuts. I was getting compulsive about it and felt bad about myself if I didn’t do it. Or maybe you need a change of subject? That always helps me when I “hit a wall”. Anyway, your photos are outstanding…and instantly recognizable. I can tell it’s yours without seeing who posted it.

    • Hey, Anita – I like getting a suggestion from you for taking a break after your December hiatus. That lends me to believe you feel refreshed from your time off. Sounds like it was good for you!

      I can’t imagine doing a painting each day. That’s a lot of work, I think. Much more than daily photography. The good news is I don’t feel miserable nor burdened; it’s just a creative gap shooting-wise. I’m not finding the time to feel creative in the space I have to shoot. It’s an anxiousness about time and space, maybe. Creativity works best for me when I have a clearer thought process for shooting.

      Thanks for your compliments and encouragement, I’m thrilled to be considered distinctive. Like your fine paintings, it is nice to be recognizable.

      • I’m glad you’re not feeling “miserable or burdened”. About my December off — I took it because the muse had left me for a bit. I felt much better after the holidays were over. I guess we just have to accept these cycles.

      • It certainly happens, I guess, doesn’t it!? I’ll be good to go shortly. I shot a few off of Washington Street bridge the other night. We’ll see what comes of it…

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