Tag Archives: Lenswork Daily

Not Fit For Public Consumption

Moon, Branches, Low Clouds

Moon, Branches, Low Clouds
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 2015

I’m a regular listener of the podcast by Brooks Jensen over at Lenswork Daily, which always offers up interesting and thought-provoking episodes about the practice and appreciation of photography.  In the recent podcast titled “Just for Me,” he raised the notion that most photographers tend to produce at least some work that is purely personal, as opposed to that offered for public consumption.  He may have offered more than one reason for this – the one that sticks with me is the idea that photographers may hold back work that, for whatever reason, is thought to run the risk of not being well received by one’s audience.  The takeaway, as I understand it, is that this kind of thinking should be questioned, since the work produced that is personally meaningful to its creator also is likely to be the work invested with the highest degree of merit.

I agree with this point entirely, but what struck me the most is how much it missed the mark for me.  Personally, I make no distinction between personal work and work for public consumption, at least as near as I can tell.  My thinking is that if something is good enough for me, it’s good enough to share with the world.  Taking a different approach would be like drawing a line around some of my images and declaring them “not fit for public consumption.”  What I share with my images is more than just the photographs themselves, it’s basically a window into how I see the world.  To me, this is very much an “in for a penny, in for a pound” kind of proposition.  If I offer up one part of my work, there’s no reason I can see not to offer up it all.  Doing it any other way just wouldn’t make sense to me.

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Still At It

Cottonwood Trees, Two Stands

Cottonwood Trees, Two Stands
Near Greenland, Colorado, 2014

I started writing this blog in February, 2013, which means I’ve been at it for just about 2 1/2 years now.  I’m still doing it, and I plan to keep on doing it, but lately I’ve been asking myself why.

When I started this blog, the idea was that it would be about 1/2 an exercise in marketing and 1/2 an exercise in personal expression.  On the marketing side, my thinking was that having a website with a blog, wherein the content was updated about once every week or two, would provide those interested in the content with a reason to keep coming back, thereby driving traffic to my website.  On the personal expression side, I thought it would be fun not only to post my images, but to provide (hopefully) interesting remarks and observations to go along with them.  Personally, I really enjoy reading the blogs of photographers who regularly provide inspiring images and well-written content, and I hoped my website and blog might provide a similar resource for others, at least maybe in some small way.

In practice, neither of these goals seems to have to come to pass.  On good days, traffic to this website peaks only in the double digits, which seems kind of low.  Moreover, based on the paucity of comments and offline feedback, I don’t think this blog is getting much readership (although I really value those of you who do read it – thanks so much!).

So why do I remain committed to doing this blog?

I’ve been puzzled by this question, since, as mentioned above, this blog really is not hitting the goals I set for it.

A couple of weeks ago, though, I think I found my answer when I listened to a podcast by Brooks Jensen at Lenswork Daily.  The podcast was called “Your Next Deadline,” and the basic premise was that having a deadline to work under is a good thing because it provides motivation to get things done.  For photographers, of course, this means creating new work.

Now, I don’t have an actual deadline for this blog, but I do start to feel a bit edgy if I don’t get a post out about once every week or two.  I don’t know why, maybe I just like seeing the unbroken line of archived posts stretching back to 2013.  In any case, writing a post means needing an image to share, and needing an image to share provides motivation for me to create new work.

It’s as good a reason as any to write a blog, I suppose.  With any luck, it will keep me at it for the next 2 1/2 years.  If so, I look forward to seeing you in February of 2018.

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