So, I’m sure by now you’re all familiar with the 101 ways to heighten your photography reputation and business prowess through the magic of social media. There are nearly as many blog posts and articles on the secret mojos to becoming a social media icon in the world of photography and art as there are, surprisingly, photographers and artists out there in social media-land. Typically, these articles repeat the same tired old cliches: engage, time your posts carefully, be consistent, etc, etc, etc. Here’s another take on this ‘phenomenon’ of social media.
Recently I was in southeast Alaska photographing bald eagles. During that trip, I ran into 2 fellows from the BBC, filming for a wildlife documentary they’re making. Filming for another wildlife documentary they’re making. These guys have made several, and travel around the world filming for a company that makes some of the most amazing wildlife on the planet. The photographer, John Brown, also shoots stills (as well as video) and is represented by Getty images. Pretty cool gig.
I mentioned to him about possibly doing an interview with him, if he’d be so kind as to give me some time; he did, and I enjoyed a great couple of hours chatting with the 2 of these guys about wildlife photography and filmmaking and all the stuff the rest of us merely dream of. I’ll edit that interview down in the near future and put together an article from it.
During the course of the conversation, I don’t recall John mentioning social media once. Not once. He didn’t give me his twitter handle, or his facebook profile, or refer me to his G+ page. He mentioned his website, but the rest of the conversation was about his work; his photography and his art.
Another friend of mine, Paul Souders, is a fantastic photographer. He has a facebook profile, which he very rarely posts to. His last post to the social site 500px was nearly a year ago. He’s returning, or just returned, from Antarctica. The guy shoots all over the world, and his work is ridiculously wonderful.
Another friend of mine, Joni Tevis, is a writer. She has an essay coming out in the near future for Orion Magazine, and has a wonderful book, “The Wet Collection” published. Awesome, awesome writer. I’ve chatted with her several times about writing, making art, and getting it out there. She does have (barely) a Facebook page, but rarely posts to it. She’s not on Twitter, Google Plus, etc, etc. She writes.
Another friend of mine, Shane Theriot, is a musician. A guitar player. He’s awesome; seriously, awesome. He’s played with various national and international acts, and worked for numerous well-known and “successful” artists. He has 2 nationally released CDs and is working on his fourth. Shane tweets about 5 times a year, and posts on facebook not much more frequently.
The point here is that art isn’t about social media. It’s about art. Your photography isn’t about social media.Don’t grab for the mustard and forget about your sandwich. These working and uber-talented, wonderful artists, aren’t running up and down facebook/G+/Twitter telling the world how cool they are; they’re making art. Art which is then sold, read, listened to, viewed, etc, all over the world. They work with talented people, and they make great work. Social Media isn’t the key to what they do, and how much we like it. Their work is.
Let’s keep it at least some semblance of real.