My bookmark list for photo and art blogs used to have well over two hundred blogs on it. It is now down to twelve after I just deleted two more today. Why you may ask? To tell you the truth, much like Facebook, I was no longer getting anything out of them. Many used to post interesting work and opinions. I no longer look at blogs that post others work. Many do so without permission of the artist which is a form of theft in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I have done it in the past as well, but I no longer do so unless it happens to be an event flyer that turns you onto a new show or gallery. Many others only post their cohorts work and it literally goes round and round in circles until I begin to believe that there are only about 200 hundred or so photographers out there. As for interesting opinions… well…
Now it may seem odd that I am writing, or more aptly, complaining about something while doing the very thing I am complaining about. The truth is – it is odd. Why keep writing something if I don’t believe in the power of it anymore? Actually I do believe in the power of the word, it is just that these days I have very little time on the side for writing as an underpaid (or not paid) position. Making new work, getting a graduate degree, working, and taking care of a six month old is quite capable of filling my time.
I think many of the blogs out there in the ether world of the Internet were started for very good reason and then like me many discovered that it was another job that we didn’t have the time for. Some now lay defunct like the garbage in a Burtynsky photograph while others just post guest written filler that amounts to nothing but self indulgent blabber and doesn’t add much to the conversation at all. Some have cashed in their chips and rolled their success into something bigger. Good for you. For some people the blog was simply an inflation device for their ego. Either way it got old quickly for them too.
I can’t remember the exact reason I started writing this blog. I do remember having a genuine interest in passing on interesting shows and bits of my working process to others which is what I continue to do, albeit at a varied pace these days. I also get the chance to rant every once in a while, which if you know me personally, I do on quite a regular basis. I am a huge fan of expressing my disgust with injustice. But I also started this to help others along the way. I have a genuine interest in helping others and moving the photographic world another step forward. It is the reason I chose teaching as a profession. It was the reason I sat down with David to start Fraction magazine a few years back. That experiment didn’t quite pan out the way I had in mind so I moved on to other pastures, but luckily David continued on to keep it alive.
So where does the blog go from here? Hopefully the future of the blog involves a new iteration of the comments section. That has failed to evolve into anything more than a bathroom wall in a truck stop as far as opinions and new knowledge goes. Even lively discussions have often turned into mud throwing and trolling insults as of late.
More importantly what can we learn from blogs in the future? Or more succinctly, what would I like to see from blogs in the future? I would like to see more of fellow artists work in progress and their working process. I would like to see more community form that isn’t just interested in promoting each other, but in truly forming community that benefits each other and one where true friendships form. I would like to see more open and honest dialogue about the future of photography as art and a viable business. I don’t even mind seeing tutorials on being a better photographer etc, just realize that if you are in the business of photography you are giving away your knowledge for free and creating armies of competition for yourself. What would I like to see less of? Less shameless self-promotion. Less commercial product placement. ( I don’t care what photo bag you use) And most of all less filler.