Reflecting on moving forward
#2016bestnine as seen on Instagram thesometimephotographer
Like so many other photographers, I find social media a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it's a great medium for reaching a wider audience, and for allowing me to connect with fellow photographers from all over the world; on the other hand, it is time-consuming and requires constant attention. I guess it's a bit like parenting a demanding toddler; you've connected with it, you want to nurture it and see it develop over time, but equally the constant demands wear you down, and you have days when all you want to do is get someone else to look after it for you (even though you would never in a million years hand over your "baby" to someone else's care).
Having recently begun work on a couple of short- and long-term photography projects, including a #365project, I've been trying to review my work from the past year and compile a collection of my 12 favourite images from the passed year. How did I forget (in just 12 short months) just how time-consuming an activity this is, especially if you shoot in mobile and DSLR format, and never quite manage to ensure all your images are catalogued in one, easy-to-access format? I guess this in itself is a lesson! Photography #newyearsresolution1 is to manage my workflow so that it includes a file of my personal "best of the month" images. I'll let you know how successful I've been in 365 days' time.
Coming back to my not-too-successful reviewing-the-year activity, I found it interesting that some of my most popular images on Instagram thesometimephotographer aren't always ones I'd have chosen as my "best" or "favourite" of the year. Some of the images considered "best" by the #2016bestnine App are not what I would consider my best images; in fact "best" in this case is a slight misnomer as the result is based on the number of likes received by your "best nine" posts of the year. Did any other photographers feel this was the case for them, or did they feel that their top performing images were also their best?
Now that I'm a couple of weeks into my #365project, this contradiction (between what I want to create and what a viewer might engage with) could become a factor in my life as a photographer over the next year, as I know that there will be days when I will feel the pressure to deliver on my #365project whilst not feeling particularly inspired - or not even happy with the images I've produced on a given day. These will no doubt be the days where the knowledge that the average viewer will only engage with any given post for 2 seconds or less could be motivator or demotivator; only time will tell.
On reflection, the answer, for me, is to both engage with social media and disengage from the noise that comes with it. Hopefully I will find a path to follow in the coming year, that works well for me, and even, maybe, produce a couple of images that do qualify as "best" in the process.
I'm also going to view social media as a (mostly) positive thing, not least because I appreciate the time taken by people who actually view my work, and even take the time to like it or comment on it.
On which note, I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been following me in 2016 - your support is very much appreciated. Happy New Year to one and all!
If you're on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, you can follow my project on:
#lyndahiggsphotography #reflections #2016bestnine #lyndahiggsphotographyblog #photographer #photographyblog #happynewyear
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Lynda Higgs is a Fine Art Photographer specialising in Street and Travel Photography. She has lived and travelled in diverse cultures over the last 20 years, and currently lives in vibrant Glasgow, Scotland, with her husband and young daughter.
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