The joy of photography in the age of social media

Dec 7, 2022 - ⏱️ 2 minutes to read

I was listening to a podcast about street photography, and the presenter mentioned Vivian Maier.
If you don't know Vivian Maier, she was a street photographer from New York City who was active in the mid-20th century.
Her pictures, never published during her life, were discovered by some collectors and later published.
Her work is candid, intimate, and powerful. She had an innate ability to capture moments and emotions on the streets.

I think that, as humans, we are fortunate to be able to see her work now. If we think about it, she took photos only for herself.

That's what I want back from my photography.

I was talking to buddying photographers (@__the_street and @sacks, both of them met on the internet, about battling with the Instagram algorithm.

As someone who enjoys sharing my work with people (yeah, maybe I'm chasing feedback, I recognize that), it can be highly frustrating to battle against the algorithm. It's unpredictable and designed to boost the in-app engagement of the particular platform. Publishing high-quality content is often not enough, and often, your posts get ignored and never shown to people.

For example, right now, Instagram is pushing Reels to its users. Short and engaging videos that keep people scrolling for the daily dopamine boost.

It's hard to compete for attention on a platform that doesn't prioritize stills anymore.

In my opinion, there will be a renaissance of printing.
Physical media is one of the ways to share your work with others. It doesn't rely on obscure social media algorithms. It's completely analog. In the end, it makes you more intentional with your work.

Another way of sharing pictures I'm exploring it's via this website. It gives me complete control over how I show my work to people and retain community aspects.

The algorithm is not always evil. Abandoning Instagram could limit your ability to engage with that community and potentially reduce the visibility of your work.

Instagram's main problem is that it incentivizes people that "play by the rules".
But why should I post what people are expecting? I don't want to scroll through an endless feed of similar content. I want uniqueness.

My end goal is to produce work that matters, work that is meaningful. Ultimately I should care less about numbers and more about how I can create connections through my work.
Numbers and metrics are not the only measure of success or value.

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