This is part 1 of a 2 part ramble of words that have been swirling around in my head for a while …
Drowning in a sea of mediocrity
Is it just me, or are you too becoming increasingly bored and uninspired with the deluge of imagery coming our way through social media, YouTube channels and photography sharing websites?
As a caveat I share my content on all three and include my own work, first and foremost, in that sweeping opening statement
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a slight on those channels as a medium of communication, as of course it is through them that I have discovered some wonderful photographers and breath-taking images, along with a few friends along the way. And indeed every now and then an image will be shared that still stops me in my tracks, refuses to let my eager twitching thumb from scrolling further, before sending myself a link to the image so that I can explore it later on a larger screen.
Sadly, this happens all too rarely these days.
The Problem - a two way issue
Rather, it would seem, because of the sheer volume of content passing in front of our eyes, we have become perhaps bored with the spectacular, shrugging our shoulders and clicking that like button of a scene that perhaps less than 18 months ago that would have had us as giddy as a kid on Christmas morning as we explored every inch of the image, asking ourselves how, why, where, when.
And perhaps we as photographers, despite our insistence it would not be the case, are chasing down that social media currency more and more these days, pushing that saturation slider one notch too much, split toning a poorly lit scene in the benign hope that we will create an moody masterpiece , or simply throwing a 10stop on (or perhaps it's never removed from the front of your lens) to try and mask the obvious flaws in an otherwise un-inspiring scene.
Yup, admit it, we have all been there.
Searching for Inspiration
I've come to realise that part of the issue, for me at least, is that the only place I am searching for inspiration is on these platforms. I'm rightly ashamed to say that I don't own a single photography book (more on the reasons for that below), have visited less than 5 photographic or art exhibitions in the last 5 years, and rarely, if ever, sit down with other photographers to simply chat about our work.
Reading that last paragraph back to myself sends shivers down my spine - how on earth can I expect to be inspired if that is the state of things.
Friday Foto Inspiration
So I've decided to try and use one of the real benefits of social media, its potential ability to crowd source, to try and build up a collection of inspirational content. The idea being that on a Friday you tweet one thing that has inspired you recently, could be an individual image, a book, an exhibition, a blog post, a workshop or anything else relevant. Include the tag #FridayFotoInspiration and perhaps over time we can start to build a collection of photographic inspiration for the community. I can't be alone in feeling exasperated with the current state of things as head towards 2019.
Why I don't own photo books
Myself and my wife have always loved to travel and in January 2018 we bought and converted a VW T6 campervan. We are currently looking to transition to full time living in said van, spending half our time in the van and half our time backpacking and exploring much further afield. I had convinced myself that it would be impractical to build a collection of books when I'd spend most of my time on the road. This, over the past 6 months, has lead to a huge amount of regret with many titles, from photographers whose work I love, being no longer available to purchase.
Well, I've now decided that books don't expire and while I may not be able to spend as much time with them over the next few years, at some point I'm sure we will settle down to a more stationary position and I'll be grateful for reversing my decision.
Failing that I'll just convert a old library bus into my next home on wheels.
And, as a first book, I've just ordered 'North-West' by Alex Nail.
Part 2 Coming soon; Social Media is too PC … Please tell me why you hate my fucking pictures !!!