You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours…
Photo sharing websites can be a great thing. I enjoy seeing landscapes from all over the world. The variety, the variety of styles and the various interpretations of the landscape are a great source of inspiration for me.
Exposure, no pun intended, to different ways of seeing is a great way to expand your visual tool box.
A few days ago I sent an email to a friend who lives and works in Jasper. He not only gets to places in the Jasper backcountry that few people see he is also interested in photography and as a result has photos of places in the park that very few people have or will ever see.
In our correspondence he mentioned that he noticed on one of the popular photo sharing sites he gets very few views or comments compared to a lot of others with photos that are nearly not as good.
My answer to this was that this has been going on for as long as I have been posting photos on the internet. I see it on Facebook. I see it on Flickr. I see it on 500px and I hate it.
There is a secret well, it’s not really a secret on how to get thousands of views and comments and that is to view and comment on every single photo that you see. Even if you don’t like it, you tell the photographer how good it is and you know what happens? They reciprocate.
Proof? Many times I have seen people apologizing for being away for a few days and not being able to keep up with all the new post. It’s hard to keep up with two or three thousand of your closest internet friends.
I seldom comment on photos that I see and I follow even fewer photographers on the internet.
If you are one of those caught up in the “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” thingy, think twice before you do that.
Most landscapes that I see on the internet aren’t very good. Not a knock on the picture taker just stating facts that we all see things differently and are at different levels (thats a bad word but I can’t think of a better one) of skill.
Suppose I told people that had boring or technically inferior photos that they were great or that I loved them. I am doing them a disservice. Instead of helping their progression of the art form I am tricking them into thinking that they are on the right track.
It’s doubtful that people intend to send the wrong message if only because they are more interested in getting page views than wanting to offend someone who might “like” their art.
Know this, if I say that I think your photo is great, I truly believe it. If I fave it, its because I really like it and want to see it again as a reminder of what good art can look like.
Honesty is the best policy and like your mom used to say if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it.