I am one of the few consultants in my field (arts & culture/not for profit), who has their own website.
I have love affairs with social media and then stop. I invest lots of time Tweeting and sharing links. I post lots of photos. And then stop. I’ve had a lot of thoughts about Instagram, especially I love photography. I used to post to Instagram very regularly. Then I did a course from a very well respected Instagram expert, which stopped me in my tracks.
That was mainly because I don’t want my feed to look like the feeds she promoted and I do not want to worry about a perfectly curated feed which needs planning in advance. Doing the course actually stopped me doing Instagram as I couldn’t and didn’t want to do Instagram like she did. For some reason it didn’t occur to me that I could do Instagam as I wanted.
At that time the accounts she promoted, or the ones that I followed made me feel really bad.
First of all there was the flat lay and floral contingency, feeds full of beautifully curated, perfectly laid out things, knick-knacks and colour coordinated gewgaws. Or peonies artistically arranged, in what I thought (naively) were perfectly beautiful houses, but were in fact backdrops and bits of wood, not people’s tables.
Those with perfect homes without any stains on the wall, all perfectly lit. I found out they all edited the photos to remove the marks on the walls and yes, they did indeed use lighting, it wasn’t that their houses were flooded with natural light.
Then there were the health accounts, the ones full of perfect bowls of super healthy food, or the yoga accounts of fit, skinny twenty year olds on California beaches. I’ve been doing yoga on and off for well over 20 years and I don’t look like those people. I live in an suburban, industrial/post industrial bit of England. My life is not lived on a Californian beach.
With my personal photography I don’t focus on things like that, but odd juxtapositions, which often don’t look like the standard definition of beauty.
But my biggest problem is that I am giving over the ownership of my work to Instagram. And at the end of the day I am building their business for them, they are making direct money off of the fact that I, and hundreds of thousands like me, give my work to them to use free of charge.
I haven’t been great at sharing my client photography work here on the site. I’ve done a shoot for Thurrock Council (the switching on of the Christmas lights), as well as working with local businesses, finding ways to explain their work through images. I’m currently working with Royal Opera House Bridge. I should upload them here. But because I decided not to Instagram them, I didn’t take the time to upload them to my portfolio.
Strange isn’t it? There is no doubt that it is more effort to share here, than through Instagram. But I am building on my land, rather than chucking my work out into the Instagram vast desert. And with my site, I don’t get sucked into hashtags, comments etc. I retain control – of my work and of my time.
My site adapts to me and what I do. I’ve lost track of the iterations of my start here there has been, and it expands and contracts as it needs to. Now my health is excellent, I no longer blog about disability and chronic illness, but those things still sit on my site, including my most hit blog post – the fight for a wheelchair. As my client offerings change, my site changes to reflect that. I maintain control of my site. If people sign up to the RSS feed, or email alerts (on the right hand side of the page) on new posts they get them directly, rather than my news being dependent on the Twitter/Instagram/next social media algorithm.