I don’t know about you, but lately more than ever I sense for many, photography has become a competition. Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Instagram all feed us images in what feels like a never-ending stream. Sites like 500px seem to promote competition for Likes. I’m not sure this is healthy, at least for those aspiring to do more with their photography.
Back in ancient times when I used film, I felt more connected to the subject than the technical aspects of photography. When photographing, I was immersed in the experience, many times not seeing developed images for a week or more. Without Facebook, there were limited avenues to share images. The focus was on the experience and image making.
Digital photography and the “internet” offer value, especially for learning. But, I fear they have changed the “focus” to immediate gratification, and foster competition. I have no desire to participate! I photograph because it feeds my soul. I love and cherish being in the moment. And that is what separates the average photographer from the great ones. Connection. Connection to the experience, connection to subject, connection to others, life, etc. The photographers I admire, Dan Sniffin, Chuck Kimmerle, Cole Thompson and Guy Tal to name a few, all speak or write about it, and live this idea. They are not out to make the next wall hanger or to achieve front page status on 500px. No, I believe they are more interested in being part of, and connected to, the experience of photography. The images they create are a by-product of that intimate connection. When I look at their images, I sense this connection and feel I am looking at a part of them. Don’t misunderstand, I am human. I enjoy having others like what I do. I just don’t want that to drive my photography. So my question to you is: Where are your boundaries? Is this something you’ve consciously thought about? Is it even important to you?