I'm fortunate to be on vacation now. Not on "holiday" as my European colleagues would be - and this is a one week break and not the two or three weeks they would have the good sense to take, but it is a break all the same and a welcome one at that. There is no particular agenda other than to do as many of the things that "real life" doesn't encourage or allow you to do during the rest of the year.
For me this year so far, this has revolved largely around trying to understand what's going on with photography in the world today and to take time to get better at my own photography. The two are of course completely different things and both take a lot of time and effort. I listen frequently to Martin Bailey's podcast
and in a recent episode, he described some of the photographers he admires and/or has affinity for. It was (as usual) a really interesting episode. In it he mentioned a guy named Zack Arias
who does editorial photography in the Atlanta area. A bit of perusing his blog and I bought his recent book from Amazon called Photography Q&A
to bring along.
It's been a lot of fun to read. Zack is outspoken, curses a lot, and has an opinion on most things. Most endearingly to me however, he is humble and aware of his own place in the world. When you combine all this you get a boatload of very candid advice. He also takes some wonderful pictures including this recent one of his son
which I think is just wonderful. Plus his dog (I presume) looks a lot like my dog (that's my dog Brandy below) so that's cool.
By the way, Zack's picture is on Instagram, the most popular photo sharing service I've never used. Along with Martin's podcast, I've been checking out This Week in Photo or as it is known TWiP
. It's an entertaining podcast with a rotating cast of contributors most of whom are interesting and articulate. In a recent episode, they spoke about, among other things the "reboot" of SmugMug and new embedding provided by Instagram. As they discussed how the various forms of online presence fit together, it became apparent that while there is no right answer, they are all being used and used heavily. As the old Genesis song goes, you gotta get in to get out so I decided to check out Instagram.
It's as fun as advertised thought also ridiculously simple and begs the question why some things work and become immensely popular while others never even become a thing. The filters are cool - though I haven't used any yet - but my money is on the square crop which has always to be a favorite of mine. No doubt too the ability to connect to photographers you admire through such a forum is very cool. I'm having fun
with it now at any rate but really still have no idea what to do with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, 500px, Flickr ... and the list continues.
As one of the contributors to TWiP mentioned, your use of these sites probably depends on what you're trying to achieve. Since I don't really know that, it's not surprising that the landscape is confusing. Maybe this is the right question for me to focus on while I'm on vacation.