Most of us here are in the highly privileged position of being able to publish their words and images online with great freedom.
But the easier it’s become to publish online, obviously the more people have done so. Whether they have anything worth sharing or not.
Rather than get into the argument of how the internet has ruined our ability to find wonderful photography (or indeed many other art forms and past times), I wanted to talk about the connection between being a photographer, and having access to online publishing platforms.
In short, if you want to share your photography, try a handful of different platforms, and see what works best for you.
But don’t feel that you should have a photography blog, Instagram account, Flickr profile or anything else, just because others do.
I’m obviously biased by my own needs, and what I’ve tried and have found works for me.
Which means these days I use two platforms.
Flickr to share and back up my photographs, and to make it easy to share them on 35hunter without blowing my WordPress storage.
And WordPress to publish 35hunter, and to follow and support other photographs blogs.
Before I used WordPress, I essentially used Flickr as a blog.
I liked sharing new photographs I’d made, and using the description box to add my thoughts about the images, the gear I used, what I’d learned, where I was heading and so on.
The tags helped me organise and find my images easily (and still do!)
The comments section helped me get feedback and interaction from others along the way.
My online “home” evolved into a stand alone blog – 35hunter – when I noticed how much quieter Flickr had become as a social platform, and when I also realised I wanted more control over the layout and look of the place I shared my images.
I wanted it to feel like my own place, not just a generic rented room in someone else’s building.
So I went with WordPress and began 35hunter in December 2015.
These two sites are still working well for me, and whilst I don’t use it for publishing publicly, I also use Google Photos to back up photos and make them easy to edit and process between devices.
But just because this set up works for me, it doesn’t mean it will for you.
You may prefer to just use something like Flickr on its own, and post images with no further text or thoughts.
Perhaps you want a platform like Instagram that appears to be the widest used image sharing app today, if its format works for you.
For me, being so heavily mobile device focused (both for uploading and for viewing), and the, in my experience, far more superficial level of conversation compared with blogs, doesn’t work for my needs. It might be perfect for you.
Or you might want to have a blog on WordPress (or another blog platform) that allows very straightforward publishing of photos and text, and an easy way to encourage and manage conversations via the comments.
The best option for publishing your photographs might simply be to make proper physical prints of your favourite images and hand them or post them to people you know.
You don’t even have to share online. It’s not written in the laws of the land.
I emphasise again, do what works for you! Don’t feel that just because you’re a photographer, you should have a photography blog, or a Flickr or Instagram or Twitter presence, or anything else.
For every photography blog I love, I’ve found 20 or 30 or more others that are either abandoned entirely, half built, rarely updated, lacking ideas, or a combination of all of these.
The general message these blogs convey to me is “I really can’t be bothered to have this blog, but I feel I should because I’m a photographer”. Which doesn’t serve the author or the reader, and at worst just wastes everyone’s precious time.
So please just feel free to experiment with different approaches.
Find what works, do more of that.
Find want doesn’t work, and evolve it into something that does.
Do it because you want to, not just because you think you should.
How about you? Do you feel an obligation to share your photography online, just because you can and “everyone” else appears to be doing so?
Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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