the internet in the workflow (part 1)

what to do with so many sites to share one's work? it can be a crazy chase to join so many sites, to garner more views/faves/comments. 

one answer, which may cure the sense of madness, but not really actively help with increasing the audience: incorporate the internet into the workflow that weans all of the photos into the essential ones. 

the internet used to be a simple means for sharing one’s photographic work. the professional always had a destination website, which drew visitors from established sources, and for most everyone else a Photo Interest** site was sufficient.

the interaction may have been like the flow example for flickr. uploading a photo to flickr had many sources for interaction, and the results had many uses. there was a way to garner some feedback on the work; get additional exposure to one’s work that would not be possible with a personal portfolio website. it was not rare to notice that people were contacted for use of a photo, or hired for a photo shoot. there were articles about flickr's superstars.

a one-site use for improving one's photography.

a couple of years after the rise of flickr as the site for photo-sharing, photography had exploded in popularity thanks to digital photography, and so did the number of alternative sites, while other established sites (e.g., p-base) stayed on, and in the meantime flickr imploded. popularity-driven photography moved to Instagram, as the mobile phone drove more people into photography, while flickr reverted to being a shoebox, as originally intended. 

many approaches-to, or interests-in, photography remain viable through a single platform. Instagram is such the case for many people using photos for social attention, and marketing by commercial firms seem to have found a way to use Instagram and their popular uses. Twitter is pushing into this area of photography, and 500px has become a home for yet another style of photography.

a question for a class of photographers is: which site to replace flickr? or, at least, to help with their next step in photography. the answer may be the internet itself, rather than a site. not the simplest of solution, but definitely a bit sane.  how can the internet be used to further one’s photography, without having to chase websites and assess a social critical mass?

the most singular benefit I had for uploading work to a social site was that of revisiting a photo, thus causing a re-examination of the work. this become important as Lightroom became much more powerful, and it became more efficient to work on photos closer to an evolving vision. 

thus, the use of the internet can be split into two processes: Passive Soliciting and Active Thinning. in the second part to this post, what and how of these two processes are detailed, though they can be summarized as follows:

  • the idea is to use the photo-sharing sites to leave photos as bait — to “go fishing” for results from searches, and whatever interaction is left at the site. this is a form of Passive Soliciting.
  • a big effort by a photographer is to thin-out one’s work to make for strong portfolio. Active Thinning is effected through a gathering of photos into projects, which can be uploaded to non-social sites, and pursue this process over a period of time.

there is more work, in terms of uploading to sites, but that remains less of a concern with fast broadband connection, and removing any urgency to upload daily, or at certain times that maximize the usage of the site by one's contacts. 

PART 2 [ link


** flickr never was a photo-centric site, since the presentation of the photos were not the most important function of the site. Smugmug was/is definitely more photo-centric.