As a reaction or follow-up to yesterday's blog, I decided to continue my rant put together a list of most-hated photographs by professional and/or serious hobby photographers that can be found online i.e. social media, photo sharing communities. This is where the line is drawn between being a photographer and a camera owner. The raw truth of the matter is: owning a camera does NOT a photographer make.
Thank you to those of you who wrote in and shared your photography pet peeves:
selfies / "groupfies"
It is seemingly a short list, but if you scan social media at any point in time, you will be flooded ad nauseam by these images. I ran away from many of them by leaving the photo sharing communities and most of social media, primarily because of the superficial and pointless comments that build up a false sense of security, or do the exact opposite and destroy your self-confidence. So I embarked on the proverbial Instagram journey as a social experiment.
What have I discovered about the number of followers on these platforms? Well, the numbers on Facebook and Instagram in particular are never to be trusted because followers and votes can be bought. Facebook offers business accounts various aggressive promotional packages for the photograph or product you are trying to boost, and depending on your budget, you can annoy the living daylights of people around the globe on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. I did this for two self-published books, spent a small fortune for it, and have nothing to show in return as far as sales are concerned. So yes, getting accepted by a large publishing house who will do the sales and marketing through the proper channels is definitely a welcome relief and demystifies self-publishing.
A fellow photographer called me out the other day and questioned my large following on Instagram. Well, first of all, FB and IG are one and the same, so you can link the accounts and the followers are carried over. So the 5000+ I have on FB (the author page, I don't have a personal page) were carried over, plus the additional ones I collected on IG shot me up to 8000+ last week. There is a major fluctuation on IG, so of you become inactive for over 24 hours, the numbers drop steadily. In the past four days I have lost 500 followers because I didn't post anything. And that is just on my photography account.
Cats, dogs and co:
Cats may be pretty much at the top of the most hated list by most professional photographers, and if I were not a cat owner myself I would turn away. My cats' IG account is intended to promote the cause of rescue cats, but I never imagined that cats could dominate social media the way they do. I thought I was the crazy one giving my traveling rescue cat (and the additional foster ones that came along later) her own account so that I didn't mix the feline photographs with my more serious photography. Once I became active on IG, I discovered thousands of accounts and groups for every possible breed on the planet. Then once you establish yourself on IG as a popular cat, or in Champagne's case, celebrity cat, the dog, llamas, alpacas, and sloth accounts began following me and it has snowballed into a whopping 10.5K following. It is scary and the quality of images on the subject are dismal. Why do I still have the cat IG account? For a very superficial reason - it is the perfect time killer on the long commute to and from work. But it won't be around for much longer either.
I agree wholeheartedly with fellow photographer John Harper, whose Leica Biker Blogis a joy to read each time, that photographs of cameras and lenses have no place on social media. It is one thing to write and blog about the equipment, like Jonas Rask does on his jonasrask photography blog or Stephen Dennstedt on Expat Journal: Postcards from the Edge. They do it, and do it well. But the various brand promotion groups on FB, IG, 500px and who knows what other platforms that showcase only the camera or the lens are basically just showing off. It is a spitting contest to see who can bullshit the public more and blind them into buying more accessories or the latest product.
I cannot begin to rant against selfies because that would be an entire series. It probably should be, actually... in any case, how self-entered, selfish and self-absorbed has society become that people find a constant need to post pictures of themselves eating, shopping, showering, on holiday, or even in bed? What is the point of creating an illusion of happiness and fun and documenting every darn movement of your day? The bottom line is that a selfie is tantamount to selling yourself online, and I fail to understand the logic.
Drop me a line if I missed an item on the most-hated list!