Monday, March 24, 2014

Is their life beyond Instagram?

Yesterday, I was out taking photos with my good buddy Mr. S (the genius behind Bricksailboat) and we had an interesting conversation regarding our involvement in Instagram and if there is life beyond Instagram for our photographs. After some introspection (not my strong suit), I realized this is what Me2 and I are trying to find out. He is currently attempting to move our mutual fans from Instagram to Facebook or Google+ and ultimately to this blog, through his generous print giveaway. He of course has had some initially success, but I began to wonder what the ultimate end game was? 

Through my professional career I have watched photography become embraced by the masses with the advent of the phone camera. Many of these photos are distributed through social media sites like Facebook (350 million per day as of 2/2/13) and Instagram (55 million a day as of 3/6/2014) and many more never even leave the phones or cameras they are taken on. That is one hell of a lot of photos per day!! How does one even get noticed amongst this fire hose of images? Is it even necessary to get noticed? Why do we take photos in the first place? 

Me2 mentioned a Pandoras Box when we talked earlier about editing apps, but to me this might be the ultimate question: Why do we do what we do here? Or more specifically: Why do I take photographs that will (realistically) only be seen by a few friends and my family? 

Below is my most liked photo ever on Instagram and it makes me wonder if getting 500+ likes is about as good as it's going to get? What do you think? 

- xxsjc


  1. I'd say the value of images like this are simply to put a smile on someone's face. That's what it does for me.

    But like you said, there's a fire hose of images out there. We couldn't possibly hang on to them all. We have to enjoy them when we see them, then let them slide past as the stream continues around us.

    I'd say the only exceptions to that are family photos, photos of major events, and photos that are collected together into a book so that people can enjoy them off screen.

    1. Meg,

      Thank you for taking the time to reply, your feedback is valuable. It pains me as an artist to agree with you. In my heart of hearts I would still like to be able to sell my photographs as art, but I think the market has changed so drastically this is not an option. But it is good to know a book is an option you think has some value. In the mean time, like you I enjoy the photos that I see daily and look forward to what comes my way as we all move into a brave new future.

      Thanks again for your reply.


  2. Followers / likes aren’t everything. I’ll paraphrase a Banksy quote;

    “The time of getting likes for your name on its own is over. Artwork that is only about wanting to be liked will never make you famous. Any likes are a by-product of making something that means something. You don't go to a restaurant and order a meal because you want to have a shit.”

    I take photos because it allows me an outlet for my creativity. It’s nice if other people like them, but that’s not the reason I do it. I don’t think you should measure the success of an image by the ‘likes’ it gets. And for that, I don’t think Instagram is necessary.

    However, there are so many demands on a social media presence these days that there isn’t time to juggle them all. Instagram (for me at least) simplifies photography. I can do everything from a single point. Take the photo, edit and upload it, all from my phone.

    Keeping to Instagram for my photos also lets me segregate my interests. Would you want your boss to see you still play with toys? I’m lucky, I’m in a position where I can talk about *all* of my hobbies with work colleagues, friends and family. Other people aren’t in such a strong position. Having a pseudonym on Instagram gives you some anonymity, a Facebook account and everyone would see.

    I really hope you’re successful with this, but I think people will be reluctant to add a new stream/feed that’s outside of the already established ‘mainstream’. To reply to this post I’ve had to fire up the PC and log into another account. Instagram is much more accessible.

    Mike. (@Mister_Bricks)

    1. Mike,

      Thank your for taking the time to fire up your PC and respond. I appreciate your view point. Like you I feel photography should be created for personal reasons, not external recognition in the form of "likes". But with that being said, as a fine arts photographer who has successfully sold my work in the past, I am struggling to find my place in this new photography paradigm. I am lucky I do not need to hide my dirty little toy photo habit behind a measure of anonymity, but I respect those who find it necessary, for what ever reason they may have. :D

      I think both Me2 and I were hoping to create a community through #stuckinplastic of like minded photographers who are looking for a place to discuss photography and help anyone who is interested in moving their work beyond Instagram. We wanted forum to discuss ideas and the creative process. There are already enough places to post photos socially. I for one enjoy Instagram and all the wonderful people I have met there and I have no intention of leaving.

      Also, thank you for the Banksy quote. It is so very appropriate! I sincerely hope you will stop by again and join the discussion.