Why I stand against social photography
Just some thoughts about the pervasive habits of so many "photographers" to make an entire "photography work" based on social modes or social interactions only. Destroying Nature, creativity and real photography
Social photography is killing our photography
Is it a polemic post? probably. But I prefer to think about it as a free stream of thoughts, driven by recent facts and considerations.
What I mean with social photography
With the term of "social photography" I'm referring to the pervasive habit of so many photographers to "live" their passion uniquely through social networks. A kind of photography made by "likes" trading, elective groups, influencers and influenced... gear exhibition... travel onanism...
What's wrong with that? probably nothing.
What's wrong with social photography?
In a very impolite way, I can say that social photography is creating (or already created) tons of identical shots. Taken in identical locations, processed in identical ways, "enjoyed" in the identical consumerist way, commentend with the same identical words ("awesome", for example)
Everyone out there defines himself as a "wanderlust" (I started hating this word!!), and make a show of every single trip.. exposing to the social audience all the moments that should be considered intimate!
But anyway.... let me explain my point
The kind of pictures taken
Am I the only one who is really bored about the millionth shot of Vernazza?!
Don't misunderstand me: some places are iconic obviously because they are truly outstanding! Mother Nature created little spots on this world that are absolutely perfect... But honestly I want to say that I can't stand no more to see always the same places, shot from the same points.
Just to name a few: Vernazza and Cinque terre... Cime di Lavaredo, Braies lake, Tuscany and Podere Belvedere, Venice... Antelope Canyon, Lofoten islands (I will go back on it later), Northern lights, Big Sur, Durdle Door, the Brest lighthouse, Neist Point, Xingping and the Li river...
(probably I should have called this post "The most iconic locations to shoot at... and that I will try to avoid as much as possible")
Please, fellow readers... Don't consider me as a snob... really. The problem here is that this flooding of all-equal images is making me numb to those great places! And this is probably the worst thing that can happen to a landscape photographer!
But it is not only a problem related to the locations: have you noticed that now the most shared pictures are the ones containing someone staring at a great landscape? Social photography is imposing a new "model of photographer"... the "look at me photographer". Yes, because it is so freakin' cool! It's cool to be the one with the tent on the Alps... the one with a beer looking at an epic sunset in Iceland.. the one standing on a rock on a steep cliff.
This is not photography, this is narcissism! Pictures named "alone"..... trying to convince the viewer that you did it all by yourself... like a great explorer... Let me tell you one thing: we all know that someone else took the picture of you, and probably you payed an organized tour for it!
I can go on: why the hell a photographer shoud take so many pictures of his own gear!? Of course we have sponsors, it is crystal clear... but do we really have to cheat our followers this way? Are we photographers, or are we fashion bloggers?
And just to go on again: open your Instagram (or 500px) account.. and you will see: purple is the new black! Do you know that a good shot can be good even if it is not purple, don't you? All the shots are equal: purple tones, shadows and midtones completely closed, and an abuse of Orton effect (yes, Orton lights are a new kind of drug every social photographer seems not to be able to do without). Just like "Hi there, my name is Tom.... and I do not use Orton light since 5 days" (Clap Clap Clap)
What can we do today? Idea: organize a workshop!
"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, and it knows it must organize a workshop, or it will be killed".
Today everyone wakes up and organized a workshop. 1 year of experience, and every guy out there feels free to name himself a master. Teach how to use composition... how to post process the taken shots (really, I received polite comments telling me that my shots are ok, but my colors are fake. The comment came from a photographer that seems not to be able to create a non-purple shot. bah....)
How we look at the shots
Photography is not a kind of art anymore. It is a "commodity", something that nowadays you can enjoy from your smartphone, at no cost... just "swiping".
We "swipe" on our smartphones, going through hundreds of new pictures every day. 1 second per image... not more...
And many times, we look more at the name of the photographer, than at the picture itself. we look at images on our smartphone... images as big as a stamp, made by over saturated colors and hyper sharpened details.... Shots that (in many cases) are really ugly when seen on a decent monitor.
But this is the new target: social photographers tend to stay away from real exhibitions... and usually they join contests only to be able to share the awards in a second time. "Sharing" is the key...
Followers and likes... a new drug
I'm glad not to be the only one with the same ideas... I spoke with some great photographers out there (and good friends), and we all have the same feeling: nowadays (social) landscape photographers are not interested in photography as a form of art. They are not even interested in growing up as artists.. the only really important thing is to get more likes, and to increase the followers. They want to be "influencers"..
What's wrong with it? In a very first time I thought nothing... but then I realized the big impacts of this new trend:
1. you end up in posting your work and look only at the like count. You are not interacting anymore, except to say "thank you". Can we really call "social"?!
2. most of your time is spent as the curator of many social media... not in growing up as an artist
3. the continuous hunt for likes and followers creates too much internet interaction, that drags your attention away from the "here and now". Yes, there is a very interesting article about the attention span and internet use
Probably (surely!) everything will be the same, regardless my considerations.
But speaking about myself, I will do as much as I can to go back to my origins.. I want to use social media to** interact** with fellow photographers... to give and receive constructive criticism.
I will reduce the number of groups I'm in, so I can follow only high quality work, and I will not feel the urge to post everywhere.
And yes.. probably I will be less active on social media. I will use my time to work on my shots, to take pictures on the field... and to create connections "in person".
Not because I want to be a snob..but because I want to re-gain the feelings and the emotions that I used to have when I was in front of a great picture...
I really want to thank some guys and friends... we spoke a lot about the bad trends we all can see. I also found some great artices, that I will link for you here. Hope you will get the point..
Traveling Narcissist: The rise of ‘look at me’ travelers
Jimmy McIntyre: Why I haven't been taking photo or present online
Environmental message lost as Insta-traffic takes toll on Tasmania's natural wonders