Tag: thoughts

Pride in Blogging

I’ve been struggling with this blog for a number of years. I think once I started really looking into photography and realised that it was more than over-processed sunsets I struggled to find purpose and content for the site. Was I building a blog about Liverpool? About architecture? About street photography? A tech review site? I couldn’t decide and indecision held me back. Last year I had a portfolio review and the woman doing the review simply told me to keep doing what I enjoy. Don’t be something I’m not. It’s taken a while for that to really really sink in and I feel like it’s starting to have an effect. That’s why I’m trying to take pride in this site again.

For the most part it feels like the world has moved on from blogging to podcasts and YouTube. That’s where the ad revenue has gone so it is easier content to monetise but they’re also intimate mediums. A podcast strips away all the noise leaving only a voice through which passion is heard. It’s a medium I really enjoy but doesn’t work all that well for a single person. But blogging does. So I blog.

Social media has been around long enough now that people are having the 7 year itch. The excitement has gone out of the relationship and privacy concerns are becoming more and more of an issue. I’ve never felt at home on Facebook but I have on Twitter. Recently though I’ve found myself crafting a toot only to copy the thought into my “To blog” folder in Ulysses. Sometimes 140 (280) characters is enough to spark an idea and sometimes that idea shouldn’t be dropped into the stream that is Twitter. Sometimes it should be expanded upon and kept in a place that I’ve built. Somewhere that can easily be searched, tagged, archived and basically somewhere that I control. That’s here.

I’m taking pride again in this site. I’m taking pride in the photography and the words and I plan to add to that with audio and video. Who am I that my voice should be heard? No-one really but photography has taught me that what we photographers do is go “Huh” at things others might not. This site is a place for me to put those things.

All that stuff

I'm 38 and I've got a lot of "stuff". Practical stuff. Documents. Memories. Cards. Bottles. Game figures. Games. Stuff, you know? We've all got stuff lying around. When I moved out to my apartment in Liverpool I basically took clothes, a desk, cameras, and a computer. That was it. I had an inflatable bed and a chair to work on. 7 years later and I've accumulated a lot of stuff, which has been made worse by my dad dying last year. Read More

Stories

So Instagram blatantly stole Snapchats best feature, the stories feature. I’ve been thinking about it a lot and my conclusion is that good artists copy, great artists steal. Maybe.

I’ve been a fan of Snapchat since its early days. I read an article that justified its existence in a very simple way. It’s freedom. Almost every social network retains the content you create on it apart from Snapchat. Everything is archived for that day later in life when you or someone else needs it. Now that’s handy but it also means you can’t relax and you can only post the absolutely best things ever. Not with Snapchat. With Snapchat you can post anything and it’s gone a day later. You are free to be silly and stupid. That’s why it’s such a big hit with younger people and confusing for older types. We have to get back into a mindset of being able to enjoy the freedom of being silly. That’s Snapchats key feature and I love it for that. Confusing UI, sure. Annoying content from media you detest, yeah. But an ability to be silly without worry? Amazing.

Instagram just launched the same feature but without silly faces. I instantly thought it was a stupid copycat idea and things like that make me not want to use the feature. It could be amazing but I’ve already got the feature in Snapchat. I don’t need it on Instagram and I don’t like copycats. I’m just going to stick with Snapchat… maybe.

I woke up to see some people I follow using the feature. Mostly just to experiment. NASA was all over it. But they’re also on Snapchat where they’ve been doing the same thing for a while. So do they have social media people holding up two iPhones recording to both networks in an “organic” off the cuff way? They’ve built up two audiences on both networks. Which do they keep? That’s got to be awkward.

People using the feature on Instagram did make me wonder about whether I will use it or not. Should I stay loyal to the people who first created it? I don’t have much of an audience on Snapchat and it is insanely hard to build unless you have a big audience elsewhere. So in Instagram’s favour I already have an audience there but not one I want to shout “Follow me on Snapchat” as it feels pushy. With Instagram I can simply tap into my audience there and bin trying to grow it on Snapchat.

Over time my Instagram usage has gone from whatever iPhone photos to the best photos I can publish. So in a way the stories feature brings back that which made me use Instagram to start with. I kind of like that it’s two sides of a coin. The polished best photos are right there for you to see but if you want to see behind the curtain you can. I do like that.

Instagram also fixes the key issue I have with Snapchat and that is seeing media outlets on the stories page. It’s a simple thing but it annoys me greatly. It’s this thing.

IMG_2621

I really really can’t stand seeing that. I don’t want those thoughts pushed into my head. Who cares about those stories? I don’t and I shouldn’t have to put up with it. Choosing Instagram over Snapchat resolves that issue.

Snapchat’s last key strength is that it never shows you likes or shares or any social media score. There’s no competition and no feeling of “No-one is seeing this.” It’s incredibly liberating. Instagram would be good to keep that idea too.

So let’s see where we are.

Snapchat

  • Did it first
  • Keeps being silly to one network
  • Has annoying media pushed on you
  • Confusing interface
  • Fun ghost
  • No scores

Instagram

  • Audience already there
  • Nice interface
  • No annoying media

I can certainly imagine people I know using Instagram Stories over Snapchat. It’s been hard to build an audience on Snapchat. I don’t know if I will continue or not really. Thing is though. The two apps to provide a different audience to try and tap into. Instagram is a better fit for me professionally. But for that reason will I feel as relaxed and be silly on it like I would on Snapchat?

Acceptance

I was thinking about acceptance the other day after reading an article by Claire Eastham. Imagine if you could accept who you are, draw strength from your abilities and really make something great? Wouldn’t that be good? Instead we dislike who we are. But then that’s the road you take to better yourself I guess. If you see yourself as rubbish then you’ll work hard to fix that. So in the end we’re constantly unhappy and unaware that we’re actually doing the great things.

Right now I’m feeling unhappy and aware that I’m not doing great things. So. Yay. January eh.

You should read the post by Claire for tips on anxiety and such.

Written in Cuthbert’s bake house enjoying cake and dandelion and burdock after a long day stuck at the computer.

Not being good enough

I sat down last night with full intention of posting my best Iceland photos. Ive got about 22 that are sorted into a group for posting. They’re good solid photos. They tick all the right boxes. Beautiful light. Epic landscapes. A land of fire (which we didn’t see) and ice (which we did). They filmed Interstellar there and also Game of Thrones. The light is magical. You know what you’re getting when you see a link for Iceland photos. Maybe that’s why I turned the laptop off and played Mass Effect 3 instead then.Read More

The 2015 Plan

I don’t have resolutions. I believe they’re just trendy ideas with no solid foundation. I’d rather not have a list of things I want to fail at. So I’ve got a list of things I’d like to do this year.

  1. Make more personal work.
  2. Try and start my gamer project.
  3. Exhibit in Look/15.
  4. 1 roll of film per month.
  5. Decide whether Baltic is a project or an essay.
  6. Review the year post in Dec.
  7. Journal daily. Even if it’s just a photo. DayOne app is brilliant.
  8. Disconnect and enjoy nothing more than music. Headphones on. Kick back with tunes.
  9. Photograph more architecture. Properly. No silly angles.
  10. Blog more. I used to post daily. It would be nice to do more blogging.

I read a post by Matt Gemmell on the issue of blogging with an audience. It echoed my worries about blogging. Second guessing content, focus and direction for the site. So the site will simply be my space and we’ll see where that goes.

That said, what do I want to be known for? Crap street photography? People walking around at f/1.8 with great bokeh and nothing at all happening but the processing hides that? HDR? Over processing? Uber wide angle photos on a 35 degree angle? I’ve done all of these things in the past but in 2015 what do I want to do and be known for?

In 2015 I’d like to somehow let go of all that and be ok with who I used to be. It got me here so that’s something. It’s hard though. I was once known for something. I once had masses of Flickr faves, comments, daily Explore features for a style I’m not overly fond of anymore. I once had the Internet tell me I was a good photographer. Now I believe it was wrong. How do you move on from that? How do you trust your instincts? They could lead me back to that place. It’s a worry. I know it’s a sign that I’m growing and it’s a good sign but it’s a battle at the same time. I’d one day like to accept all that. Maybe this year?

2014 ended with one of my portraits being featured by VSCO as one of the best of the year. 2015 has started with Storehouse featuring my photo essay about the selfie stick in Venice. I’m so happy and proud of that. I’m happy to be producing work that is about the content not the look. So far so good then.

One thing I have realised is that I should Instagram more than I tweet. I’m a photographer not a writer (he says in words not pictures). Instagram now has more users than Twitter. Which means I should perhaps take it a bit more seriously. I say this as my shed mates tell me that their dog has its own account. Aye carumba.

I guess in 2015 I want to be ok with being myself a bit more, whoever that is.