"You have to use the same filters on all your Instagram posts..."
UPDATE! Now listen to this blog post, right here! It might be cringe worthy because for a voice over guy I suck at reading my own copy!
What? Is this how far working artists have fallen down the disturbing rabbit hole? The title of this blog post is a direct reaction to the tsunami of new aged millennial bullshit that is crashing on everyone trying to make a living at a creative craft. Let me clarify what I am trying to convey in this markedly, horse out of the gates, blog post. One of the many outlets for exposure, advertising,marketing and general narcissism nowadays is the social media platform, Instagram. I feel like an old codger explaining that but hey, whatever. With that seemingly powerful (and mostly free) tool comes a whole lot of utter horse shit rules, guidelines and social norms that "successful" instagramers should use, created and cultivated by God knows who but probably the unabashed millennial.
I loathe the instagram machine, I'll be very clear, I wait for the day that it starts to crumble and something as equally asinine comes along to replace it. That day will happen, remember Betamax? It's only a matter of time. You would think a photographer would obsess over the idea that there was a relatively simple platform to display and share their visual content, FOR FREE! I mean, that sounds God damn, amazing. Beats the hell out of a website where updating takes minutes if not hours and content is seen by at least 1/1000th of the people that hop on instagram, right? It's not that simple though because with the rise of social media platforms comes the rise of social media platform culture. There are little rules, do's and don't to having a successful, and neutured, instagram feed. There's the 98% and the 2%. The welfare queens and the yuppies all in digital visual form. It's rules and regulations might as well share a seat at the table with Communist China. Alright, alright that is a bit of a stretch but you don't conform, you're not going to be successful.
Someone has mentioned to me that my Instagram looked a bit "all over the place" (even though my main stated focus is fashion, conceptual art and the human body) all of which are definitely the only thing on it. Now my slight agitation, yes slight, isn't directed towards the person who said this. It's how they feel in relation to the instagram experience. I won't knock them for that but they later mentioned something more, disconcerting? The fact of the matter is, I should be using 2-3 of the same presets for all of my work...
Can I insert a rocket ship exploding on the tarmac here? I have to learn how to do that because this is where I start to get SIGNIFICANTLY annoyed. That statement is just such a archetype for all the wrong things that are going on in photography and the EXPLOSION, pun intended, of dumb faux tographers that, all of the sudden think, that they are so artsy because they buy a canon 6d (still a great camera) and a sigma 35mm art lens(which will defocus in about 18 months). This market is saturated with that very person.
If your mindset is finding presets to make your work look uniform, you are a boneheaded moron. I automatically think you are a toddler with way too much technology in your hands. Technology that you don't understand, technology you just think is cute or cool or "vintage". Press a button and boom, you have a kodachrome filter(mind you there hasn't been one accurate kodachome preset to date) Are presets all bad? Hell no. They cut time, make things easier and can aid in developing a "look". BUT IT WILL NEVER BE YOUR LOOK. You just bought a preset from someone or downloaded it for free and pressed play, without ever knowing what it did to your photo or how you got to that. Nothing irks me more than people not having a basic understanding of how things work when using them. It's not magic kids. I much prefer someone actually make their own crappy vintage filter(raises hand, yes I've totally done that and I am admitting to my rottenness) than just click something because they thought it looked cool.
SO MANY "successful" photographers seem to do this. It's all the rage, clients love the look and feel of the soft light/flare and vintage muddy tones. It's a trend and it won't last and half, more so 3/4th of these people won't know what to do with themselves when clients don't want it anymore. Or, they will just download the filter preset of the new thing that is popular.
I've gone slightly off topic BUT VERY IMPORTANT. I am so happy this person said that my instagram was all over the place. Why? Because that's my style. I take every shoot, every concept I make pictures of and I make sure it stands on its own. Does that mean thursday could be different from friday? HELL YES. That's the point. How I perceive the shoot, how I interact with the model/client/subject, that, that is how I show my style, That will always be consistent.
I've danced with the devil before. I've felt persuaded to edit display work that looks the same for the past couple years and in many instances I've fallen victim to the spell of conformity but today made me realize that those days are quite over. I'd rather make what I want and fall into (even more) obscurity than try to reflect the trends of every photographer who decided to pick up a camera in the last 5 years and charge 500 dollars for a wedding. You folks don't dictate style.
Today, I will beat to my own drum, louder and with more gusto than I ever have before. Today, I will put my headphones on and listen to my playlist. Getting a bit dramatic here Mike. For my personal life and pursuance of making something I want to remember when I'm diaper laden I couldn't feel more emboldened.
For the work I do as a "career" photographer, things won't change but I'm not going to field clients because they want the latest trend. I want clients to come to me because they like what I have to offer, not what Instagram dictates is good.
Oh look, time to go post my photo of the day on Instagram so I get the proper engagement and free exposure from the insta god's algorithms.