Read Gareth Dent’s article ‘Dealing with the flood…’ on www.weareoca.com
- If you use social media, spend a few minutes reflecting on how you use photography within it, particularly if you engage in photography in other contexts as well.
I use Facebook and Instagram, Instagram more than Facebook nowadays. Instagram is obviously a very photo-based platform, but I rarely post much on my personal account anymore. I do post on my weight loss account though, progress pictures and other random shots of me. I used to post a lot of photos of my kids when they were younger, mostly when I had more time and I’d also post them to let my distant family see the children when they can’t in real life. I still take photos on my phone a lot, but I don’t post them online as I’m pretty sure no one is interested in my boring life. I think at first it was a novelty for everyone to post everything, but I’ve noticed that all my friends post a lot less than they used to nowadays.
- What is the purpose of the photographs you post on Facebook or send via Instagram? Do you stick to ‘social’ photos or would you disseminate something more considered or ‘artistic’ by the same route?
The purpose is usually social and to share important things with my friends and family who I don’t see often. At points when I was more interested in photography, I did try to post more ‘artistic’ or well-thought out pictures. These were more for the aesthetics than for providing information.
On my weight loss account, I post photos for various reasons – one is to remind myself where I’ve come from, to see the progress I’ve made with my own eyes, as it’s actually quite hard to remember what I looked like before. Another reason is to inspire and encourage others in the same position. I find looking at other people’s before and after very motivational and so I hope to do the same. The third reason is honestly because I am proud of my weight loss and I suppose it makes me feel good to show it off a little bit.
- Does social media democratise or devalue photography?
It definitely democratises photography – anyone can get their photos out in front of millions of people if they want to. I don’t think it devalues photography, more than highlight the good from the bad. There are some amazing photographers posting creative and beautiful work on Social Media, and it helps them get exposure for their work. Hopefully the good stands out amongst all the rest. Rather than devalue photography, I’d say that it’s just changing the way we think about it and produce it.
- Are you contributing to the ‘flood’ and is this a good or a bad thing?
Not so much nowadays, but I certainly used to. I think many people who once posted every moment of their lives just because they could have got over it and reserve social media photos for more important events in their lives. A lot of my social media feeds are dominated by celebrities photos and photos attached to advertisements. Far less of the real people I know actually post photos regularly unless they are on a particular theme (like my weightloss photographs).