Behind the scenes, so to speak, I have been diligently working on the photographs of my recent trip to Thailand. This is no small feat since I took over 1800 photos in two weeks. What I have tried to do, simply for my sanity, is, for each blog post, to display a photo from the trip that is from the city we were visiting or the activity we were doing. Well, we were only in Bangkok for 3 days and I have really exhausted what I want to say about Bangkok but I have not gotten through processing all of the Bangkok photos. My head can’t move on to writing about a new city until I have finished with all of the photos of the current city.
While I could have very easily dumped all of my photos into Flickr for the world to see and not taken the time to do any editing, I am really trying to develop an on-line presence. As a result, I am being very critical and only posting photos that I find beautiful. And, in the same way that I am not posting link-backs to things I mention in my blog, I am trusting that the folks I traveled with have many of their own photos and are not relying on me to be the group historian.
So I want to spend a minute or two on the topic of developing an on-line presence and participating in the on-line community. Frankly, it baffles me although I am trying to play the game. Here are the rules as I see them. Let’s talk about Flickr. Flickr is free and a place where anyone can post their photos. As with other sites or blogs, you can create categories and tags and you can add as much or as little information to each photo as you deem necessary. Once your photo is in the ether, anyone who is a part of Flickr can favorite your photo by clicking on the star icon or they can leave a comment. To date, I have not seen a negative comment in all of the photos I have perused. In all honesty, I don’t really think I have seen anything that could be construed as constructive either. From what I can tell, the whole goal is to post positive feedback so that the person you have given feedback to goes back to your site and tells you how lovely your work is. This is how you rack up followers and the more followers you have the higher in the feed your new photos land thus giving your photos greater visibility to a wider audience. And so, each time I post 2-3 photos, I look through the current feed and I give some images a “favorite” rating and then, like clockwork, these same individuals come back to me and either follow me or give me a star or two.
And remember, I’m just talking about Flickr at the moment. I have not even opened the door to posting on Instagram, Picassa, or any other photo sites. I do have a Pinterest site but travel photography does not seem to suit this venue as well as others. Frankly, the thought of spreading myself across a ton of sites is daunting because each one is a little different with a little different audience. Earlier this week I was having this conversation with my mom. Now, because she is super supportive mom and adheres to the super supportive mom code of conduct, she tells me my work is beautiful and that I should start entering photo contests. So here’s the downward spiral – if I can’t get folks to comment or “like” me on the various forms of social media that I do participate in, why would I think I had a shot at entering a photo contest? Sure, they are two different venues but alas, the damage to the ego is painful nonetheless. And while to driving force behind an artist is the sheer need to create, I am not about to diminish the ego’s need for at least a little bit of recognition or acknowledgement. Teachers get validated by class participation and or size. Entrepreneurs are validated by the success of their companies, and gardeners are validated by living and thriving plants. But artists?
So what’s next? Well, since this is normally the circular toilet flow thinking that leads me to halt all things creative, I will buck the ego and do something different – like sticking with it. If you keep doing the same, you keep getting the same – right? To date, I have 116 followers on Flickr and since I only know 10 of them personally, I consider this at least a small success. And I am going to choose to believe that maybe Flickr is simply an easy way to maintain a digital portfolio and by sharing my site with friends and family and encouraging the same friends and family to share my site with others, one day, this will pay off.
Next up, Chiang Mai and my favorite part of the tour. Until then.