STREET PHOTOGRAPHY: Sharing is Caring?

Instagram has started shadowbanning people. 

Don’t know what shadowbanning is? Google it. The thumbnail sketch goes like this: Instagram makes you think people are seeing your post when you use hashtags, and when you check the hashtags yourself your post is visible, but others cannot see your post when they search for that hashtag. 

Instagram is mind-fucking you. They want you to think your post and hashtags are reaching new users, but in fact only your followers can see your post. 

That’s some dastardly shit. 

Reportedly, other social media outlets shadowban users. Twitter has been allegedly doing it for years. My issue with it is just one of disappointment. Sure, Instagram is free and the owners can do whatever they like, but it’s just that I’m running out of ideas of how and where to share my street photos online and potentially be exposed to folks I don’t already know in the process. Should any of this matter to me on a personal or even a professional level? Nah. Still, it’s fun to share photos and gain followers and get likes and all. People may hate on the idea in principle but who cares if an activity is important or not if that activity is fun? Everything a photographer does doesn’t have to be part of some Machiavellian scheme for world photographic dominance. It’s perfectly fine to get a kick out of people “liking” your photos, even if folks generally like “everything” and aren’t really interacting with your portfolio. 

I don’t understand Snapchat at all for the record….

At any rate, Flickr seems to filled with foreigners and old people. Facebook is over-saturated. Twitter is for famous people and to find out if somebody is really dead. Instagram has started shadowbanning users. Great. Just fucking great. I am in the streets shooting, interacting with people every day. It would be nice if it didn’t end there. It would be nice if there were some allowable enjoyment to be had via street photography besides the act of taking the photos themselves…..

I care about street photography and sharing is caring. We shouldn’t all have to be like Vivian Meyer and have our entire portfolio discovered after we are long dead….

Exit. 

Does Image Quality Really Matter?

What matters more: photo content or picture quality? What photo has more intrinsic appeal: a grainy photo of a person getting shot in the head at point blank range or a crisp medium format photo of an apple sitting on a kitchen counter?

People seem to prefer interesting content over visually appealing picture quality. Actually, having both at the same time can be a detriment….

Before I begin I must admit: I’m far more shallow and superficial than I might have hoped….

Let’s take the internet for example, which consists of 3 things: photos, video, and text. That’s it. That’s the internet.

With laptops and PC’s declining in sales and tablet sales becoming stagnant, the main way folks consume the internet these days is by using their phones. Phones have made people highly tolerant of inferior photo quality, especially if the photo features a juicy ass, a nice set of boobs, or a cat, in no particular order. This is because people use their phones to record video and snap photos of the above things, often times in bad lighting or with less than professional level cameras mounted on their phones. Actually, there arguably has never been a professional level camera mounted on a phone…

Come to think of it, amateur porn is the reason this is a debate at all. Every time a chick sends you a photo of her rack and you whack off to it you are taking a side in this debate….

Meanwhile, the internet gives us high quality porn and photographers offer their services for top dollar. Premium porn sites sell content that later gets bootlegged and iPhone photo geeks scoff at paying 5000 USD for a wedding shoot. What the marketplace, both the internet consumer and iPhone shooters are saying is that image quality essentially doesn’t matter.

….and we wonder why our basic friends are simply not impressed by our nice, sharp, well composed DSLR photos, and instead like grainy, drunkly composed iPhone St. Patrick’s Day pictures….

Actually taken with the Fujifilm X100F and ruined in post….

This is why Instagram models are so successful. For every person surfing the web on their phones looking for art there are 2600 men searching the hashtag #tittytuesday. Art is secondary to porn, and in turn, image quality is secondary to content. In fact, many men are suspicious of well lit, professional photos on an Instagram models feed. They suspect a sell is coming, and nobody likes “the sell”. We, ahem, they are more amenable to poorly lit bathroom and bedroom photos where the model is wearing her often worn night clothes…

A nice painting is probably not as desirable as a nice blowjob I suppose, even though the painting normally costs more….

We photographers spend thousands on our cameras and even more on an array of sharp lenses and we only have 900 followers on Instagram and 300 on twitter while some chick in her moms basement using a Galaxy Note has 200k followers on IG and a respectable 24k on twitter, even though she never does more than post photos….

Everything here works besides the Black 4k, which is crap…

Why the fuck are we buying all this gear? Are the camera companies mind fucking us? If you shoot weddings or funerals or school photos I get it, but most of us don’t shoot shit besides street photos and our reluctant family members who we are afraid to tell how much we paid for our gear….

This is a micro-struggle. The debate over image quality vs. image content will not determine whether or not your city legalizes prostitution. This is small shit in the scheme of things. Still, think about how much grainy amateur porn you whack off too compared to over-produced West Hollywood porn…..

Exit.

Street Photography is Paperless

Ain’t no money in this thing here bruh.

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Street photography isn’t a genre where you’re going to work your way up to being rich. Nope. You wont make ANY money shooting street photography. None. You wont sell a single print. You wont book a single magazine gig. Nothing. The best you’ll do is host seminars and become famous for those seminars. You can blog about it, like I’m doing, and maybe eventually it will segue into other genres of photography that actually pay. Otherwise, this is art in the purest sense. You shoot the streets because you love shooting the streets. If you are in it for any other reason then you are lost.

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With that being said, street photography is a fine beginners genre. You will learn a lot of useful skills. Mainly, you will learn to shoot moving subjects. This is valuable if you end up shooting sports or weddings or other types of live events. You also will learn your camera and how to adjust it to suit the scene in front of you. The street is not the studio, and the light is generated by God and not an Einstein strobe. As the natural light changes or vanishes, your settings must change also, so you’ll become a master at that. In addition to learning your camera, you’ll also develop a steady hand as you combat camera shake with your non-stabilized 24mm to 50mm prime lens, and you’ll learn a lot about photo editing, which is no less than half of the photographic process.

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You can dream as big as you want, and there are no hard-and-fast rules as to what can and cannot happen in your career, but if you’re looking to get rich off street photography, look elsewhere. Street photography is a labor of love, and the best you can expect is a ton of Instagram followers and perhaps some proceeds from awards you may win when you enter contests. Other than that you know the drill: Stay low and keep shooting!

Please like, share and follow my little blog thingy….

My Social Media Blackout

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Canon 5d Mark III with a 50mm 1.2 lens…

I don’t know if you fine citizens in America have noticed but social media is nearly unusable during the weeks leading up to an election for President. I can’t enjoy one good WorldStarHipHop fight video before I see folks who only watch CNN when there is a tragedy, all of a sudden write posts as if they are talking heads or political pundits. I had no idea watching two debates on TV gives a citizen an honorary degree in political science.

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“Get out. Bye”….my reaction when I see a mean spirited call-for-action political post on my timeline. 

So this week more than any other before, my Facebook feed is largely anti-Trump posts (most of my Facebook friends are black liberals) or the occasional “Hilary sucks too” post. My white Facebook friends are all over the map topic wise. Some are dreading nuclear war if Clinton is elected. Others are offering up no-chance third party candidates. Many are dead quiet, and these are probably folks who have decided to vote for Donald. Your boy Ric Ray is a moderate and is a registered independent. I never know who I will vote for until I’m in the booth staring at the names. The last two times I voted for president I was overcome with the spirit of “we shall overcome” and voted for Obama. In truth I wasn’t too keen on him or his opponents. I’m just not enthusiastic about the major elections at all.

Scrolling through my Facebook feed, and to a lesser degree my Instagram feed,  I am horrified at the depths to which people are going to in order to bash these candidates. I understand that in a democratic nation such as ours, coupled with modern tech and social media, this is what is going to happen. There will be doom-and-gloom posts and deeply ironic judgements rendered on a candidates’ character, judgements that a person would never want made against themselves. When confronted with that argument people like to say, “…but I’m not running for president!”

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My reaction reading all this madness on social media. One of these candidates will be our president you know…..

My response is always, “…you would if you could”

Every working adult would accept the position of president or king or queen if the position required little to no effort to gain and maintain.

I get it. This is the first, full-fledged, reality-TV based election. Both candidates are famous for being celebrities mores than for being good politicians, even though Clinton was a senator for a decade. The same way people bash or blindly worship Kim Kardashian, folks will do with Trump and Mrs. Clinton. I’m not even saying this is wrong. I just don’t want to see it on my Facebook feed. Thus, I’m unfollowing damn near half my feed until this whole “leader of the free world” thing gets sorted out…..

Unless you are one of those folks who post mean political attacks, please like and share my post….