With the advancement in social media’s ability for people to upload and share images easily and constantly, I think that the idea of photography, as well as an image’s meaning, sometimes gets lost in the overwhelming content that is continuously being updated.
I also truly feel that a photographer’s view of their work, and even their reason for taking the image in the first place, has changed form from their initial reason for wanting to pick up the camera in the first place.
Bear with me here.
Let’s look at Facebook as an example. Many wildlife photographers upload and share their images here as it is a great platform for exposing their art (check out Gerry’s blog on Photography is Art and Art is about Sharing).
It is also a great way for one to create a following as well as a brand for themselves.
On the one hand I think this is necessary and beneficial, as many wildlife photographers have grown in name and brand as their images have become more identifiable and acknowledged by a wider audience.
On the other hand, I strongly disagree with how the idea of sharing and brandbuilding has become warped and focused on the amount of ‘Likes’ one receives. This sadly results in competition between photographers in terms of ‘Likes’, rather than quality and skill.
To me this makes no sense at all.
My questions to you are these: Why do you want to take wildlife photographs? Do you feel that the amount of likes determines if your image is powerful or not?
My answer is that I pick up my camera, compose my frame, and use my knowledge and understanding of my camera’s settings to try as accurately as I can to immortalise the moment that is captivating me.
I feel a connection with my subject that shines in me and encourages me to try and capture it.
To show it to others so that they can see this connection, and appreciate the image for what is it: a representation of the photographer’s connection with the subject in that specific moment in time.
Whether I get a well-rounded number of ‘Likes’ on this image after I have shared it, or absolutely nothing at all, does not bother me in the least.
If it does affect you, then I encourage you to think about your photography: why do you capture the images you do, and what you want from them?
If it is for more ‘Likes’ and acknowledgment, well, carry on posting your images and asking people to ‘Like’ it.
If it doesn’t affect you, then don’t be disheartened if your image stays on Facebook or any other social media platform with a nice clear space underneath it.
People will have seen your image.
Let them enjoy your image, and keep on sharing your love, passion and art with them.