When You Want to Be Social but You're Not Even in the Game
The Power of Photography and Social Media
When our photos have the ability to travel far and wide, and reach people in the middle of nowhere, we think of success, thanks to social media outlets like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram; the list goes on. We change people's hearts and minds in an instant, because of our worthy attempts to be an outstanding photographer, capturing beauty, innocence, peace, the laugh of a child.
However, though, let's break this down. Instagram is for those who in particular want an airbrushed fantasy of the natural world, due to people's popular ideas of art and beauty that they also see on Pinterest. For, what one sees as natural beauty, a work of art, someone turns it around and airbrushes some kind of meme all over it, and calls it "inspirational." Inspirational was being there, shooting the picture.
Facebook with its algorithms automatically crop down your picture to fit their page. You're not seeing the whole picture, and if you are, it's because it's been cropped even though you, as the photographer, didn't crop it. There will always be a place for art, for your photos that carry the air of mystery and beauty. But wait, there's more to it.
The world itself exists with the undeniable truth that it doesn't need any more pretty images. What it needs is you. You are the photographer who is seeing something different, from a different ray of light and time of day, that separated your picture from that of Ansel Adams. The world needs to see your story, that you're telling through your photography. Photography that brings conversation, and people together to discuss the things that are important to you too, and not just with Facebook friends, who in all reality, are just surface conversations. Dig deeper. Find those connections.
Picture this: a picture of a humming bird captured in flight, with all of its dazzling colors, and wings beating 100 miles per hour against a beautiful, big blue sky. You would think it would be majestic. Now, imagine picturing the great horned owl, which is also known as a tiger owl, and you capture in the background with it a bulldozer. Which picture would you find yourself more likely to discuss? A beautiful hummingbird, or the great horned owl with a bulldozer behind it? Our conversations that we have on a day-to-day basis are shallow. We don't discuss the important things, because we don't want to offend. We've become soft about what we really care for. What we're passionate about. As a photographer, I love photography. I love to talk about it, I love to teach about it because I want people to know, and to do it right, not just looking for that self gratification of a like, a comment, or a heart for your photography.
We need people to have eyes that see, and a heart that hears, with ears to listen to the conversation that's hard to hear. So, with that in saying, people do see your pictures, but what people are more hungry for are those damned stupid memes. People will spend hours on Facebook just looking at some of the silliest of memes, and share them because they relate with the saying, but not the picture. Make your photography appetizing to whet people's pallet, with your pictures that tell stories. Capturing a tear rolling down a child's face would be a good picture. Telling the story that the child will never see Dad again, because he died overseas fighting for our freedom is something altogether very sad.
Don't be afraid to tell positive, life-affirming stories in your photos. Imagine a photo of a woman at the top of a hill, with her arms open wide because she just found out after nine years of trying to have a baby, and had lost all hope... Now, picture the same picture, add to it that she prayed to God for a year, and that next year, she's on top of that same hill giving herself to God, arms open wide: "Here I am Lord, thank you."
Photography is just pictures without words. Add that deep, warm, affectionate, passionate thing that you're passionate about (photography), and I will bet that you have more likes, more comments, more shares, more hearts—But please let me remind you though that is just all surface stuff.
Engage with people, be social, be civil, keep in mind that everyone is going to see things differently. Be open to critique, and try to not respond to comments emotionally, and you will find yourself in a better state of mind, being social with your photography. Be an advocate for positive behavior. You may think of it as karma, and if that is what you want to call that, that is fine. I kindly want to think of it as the Law of Attraction. Like attracts like, positive people attract positive people. We're all learning something here, so ask yourself...
How can I make this post matter? How will it give back to the world that has already given me so much? Everyone is important, one of the most deepest and profound things that I learned from my sister, God rest her soul and may she rest in peace. "Casey, don't condemn, criticize, or complain about other people because you don't know what they're going through. Give sympathy, but not empathy." Those words will always stay with me, for the rest of my life, and have helped me to be a better friend, dad, and son, grandson, uncle. I've become less judgmental of people, and more accepting, and it's helped me to use my photography to enlist my followers to care about the issues that I care about to.