a16 May 2014

Thoughts: Art is not about "likes"

Art is not about "likes"

This post is continuation of Why is Pixoto dangerous? in which I described potential dangers related to social networking on example of Pixoto website. The most important statement I made in that post was that the fact you're awarded, get likes or votes doesn't mean you're already great photographer (although you might be - I only suggest not to rely on the 'likes' too much) and this could result in you stopping to make any progress as photographer.

Today I would like to focus on related subject but I will make completely different statement - the fact that your photos don't get many 'likes' doesn't mean that your work isn't art. It doesn't mean your work isn't great.

Of course I'm interested in reading your opinion.

It's very easy to fall into this trap and start thinking that if you get very few likes on Facebook or 500px, you're just not good enough. Such thought is rather depressive (especially if you're ambitious) and may affect your photography for worse because you might try taking photos that other people would like, not the ones you would like to capture. You would alter your style just to make sure everyone (or at least most people) will like it. But it won't be your true style, there won't be real you in your photos.

In fact it was the mistake that I'd been making at some stage but nowadays I don't really care about it that much. If I like my photo - that's great even if it goes fairly unnoticed on social networking websites (of course I'm happy when it does :) ). I have some style of both composing and processing photos and am really happy with it. I know what I could change to make my photos more attractive but I also know that I won't like them that much anymore. Instead I try to evolve my style the way that I will like my photos even more.

Another issue with social networking is that it's more about pat on the back than real useful feedback. The more friends you have, the more likes you'll get. As simple as that. You will hardly ever notice anyone giving negative feedback on Facebook or 500px. Even if photo is of very poor quality or contains serious technical flaws. A lot of people simply expect that if they liked or commented on your photo, you will do the same and vote on their images. And if it isn't clear to you, some people will make it by putting a comment under your photo like "Please like my recent work". What's more I've seen a lot of talented and skillful photographers (much better than me!), whose work didn't get enough exposure just because they didn't have many friends on 500px, Flickr or Facebook. But they were true artists for sure.

So summing up, remember this: Art isn't about likes. Art isn't about votes. It isn't about popularity. Art is about expression of creative skills and imagination. Art is about beauty and emotions. Show the world how you see it, not how the others expect you to see it.

Daily photo - Simple Sunset

Today I would like to share new HDR photo from Mexico taken at sunset. The light was gorgeous... and as you can see sometimes you don't need anything else apart from good light.

If you would like to learn how to capture such images yourself, make sure to read my free HDR tutorial.
Simple sunset

Finally some EXIF info:
Technical details:
Camera: Sony NEX-6 (read my review here)
Lens: Sony E 10-18 f/4
Focal length: 12 mm
Aperture: f/10.0
Exposure time: 1/8 s ("middle" exposure)
ISO: 100
Number of exposures: 8
E.V. Step: 1.0
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: Cokin ND X variable density filter
Technique: HDR, tone-mapping, luminosity masks
Software: Photomatix Pro 5 (Contrast Optimizer), Lightroom 5.3, Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity

Where was this photo taken:

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