After reading the article ‘Dealing with the Flood’ by Gareth Dent I came to the conclusion that at one time in my life I did contribute to the flood of imagery on the internet.
I have always taken pictures from a young age. I always wanted to be a photographer. I wanted to go to journalism college and learn about storytelling and photojournalism as I thought myself as a kind of Don McCullin from the North of England. This never materialised but after going to college to study photography I started to learn more and see images as a way of work and to exhibit. This is what I was taught to do.
After years of doing so whilst working full time in a completely different field, I stopped taking photographs of life around me, family and friends and started to just make work for works sake, commercial, exhibitions and then going into business photographing weddings. I never really thought of my impact in creating images and the sheer amount as they were for work and other people as it was my job.
Before I came off Facebook four years ago, I noticed when downloading my data before deleting, that I had over 2000 images of mainly school times, the odd wedding image and pictures of the garden, nights out, gigs, mainly my whole early teens and 20’s on show amongst others. The ones I wanted I kept, but these were actual printed images I had scanned, so I took some trouble there at least. The rest I deleted. I thought at the time, why have I taken a picture of the greenhouse and shared it? Why is there a picture of a shoe? Why did I think anybody really was interested?
Instagram then swiftly arrived and I loved it, seeing and discovering all the different accounts, the pictures of everyday things, the social and shared interest value and I embraced it. Sharing pictures of my cats, my letters I wrote and received, things I saw, anything. This was all ok at first but in recent years I have found that I just don’t post as much unless it is relevant to something I am doing or I want to show. I think you can get swallowed up in a world of endless images and pictures and constant sharing and it can be overload. The whole premise of it became too polished and then it became an actual job for some, running and building businesses off their images and profiles.
The purpose I have found to use social media to share images is of the things I see and do and things that are of interest such as architecture, 1970’s odd charity shop finds and my work. I have made some good friends on there and even met my boyfriend so its not all bad, however I do think not sharing as much anymore has its benefits. I have retired from full time photography as my eyesight is poor plus as I mentioned in a previous post I just fell out of love for it. Taking myself away and deciding that I will just do what I want and photograph what I like has worked, so invariably the flood stopped but started again recently but in a cataloguing way as I am now trying to build an archive of my past work that will be 20 years in the making.
Jesse Alexander –24 Hours of Photographs by Erik Kessels.
https://weareoca.com/photography/people-are-hungry-for-stories/– accessed 2nd April 2017.
I do think that photography is devalued within some realms of social media. The oversharing aspect of the same thing, peoples children, dinners, the business aspect of too much information adding a new take on an egg butty. But by photographing it as ‘Free range, freshly laid this morning hens eggs from my garden, made into a delicious sandwich, on artisan hand made brown bread with freshly made mayonnaise and butter, added hand picked cress with a dash of sea salt. All served on a slate, with garnish under which sits my rustic oak table.’ It is a butty or is it art?
I liked this quote in the piece that Alec Soth quoted from Robert Frank in his talk ‘The Current State of the Photobook’;
“There are too many images, too many cameras now. We’re all being watched. It gets sillier and sillier. As if all action is meaningful. Nothing is really all that special. It’s just life. If all moments are recorded, then nothing is beautiful and maybe photography isn’t an art any more. Maybe it never was.”
I agree and have in recent years taken this on board due to the un-fathoming amount of pictures I have deleted over time of stuff that is just not important or part of any social realm, especially as you can now just do this in the world of digital. I noticed this when I drove down to Portsmouth last month. The motorway sidings where full of blossom as it was early spring, the sun was out, there were sign posts with silly names on them, alsorts of weird motorway trip things but I remembered them as I was driving and concentrating on my surroundings more. I couldn’t take pictures and neither did I want to. I had to cut down for myself, as yes I still take pictures but for me and to then use to illustrate things I have written about on my blogs as I have done for over seven years. I prefer it like this.