Photo sharing communities are a lot of fun. Not only do you share photos with an international community but you also have the opportunity to receive feedback on your work. Feedback not just in terms of comments, but also feedback represented by the number of visits your artwork receives within the community.
How to react to both those numbers is something I’ve been asking myself lately.
I do some tests from time to time just to see what images people in different photo sharing communities will respond to. I currently post images on Flickr and Society6. I’ve also posted images on RedBubble, and 500px but have been posting less on those sites during recent months.
All the communities are different, but, I’ll post the same image and wait to see how the reactions vary from site to site. Overall, some react heavily in favor of traditional types of images – flowers shots and landscape shots and will have very little if any reaction to conceptual images. Some react to both in equal amounts. I’ve begun to notice something they all seem to have in common — too many images of the same thing, similarly processed.
…which brought up a question I needed to ask myself.
What are people reacting to when they look at my photos? That question lead me to look at my images and ask myself another set of questions. Am I creating images that also look like images that others are creating? Have I become complacent? Am I challenging myself anymore? Are the views and comments received reflective of the quality of the work or the subject matter? Are the views and comments leading me to create images simply to continue to receive a favorable number of view and comments?
To help answer some of my questions I decided to look anther photo sharing community, one that didn’t seem to have many of the artists that I found on the other sites where I’m currently posting my work. I wanted to see if the work presented on the site was different and ask myself if my work can, with some success, be accepted into the community. Fotoblur — the community I found was “new” to me but has been around for a few years now.
Fotoblur seems to be much more of an international community with more pros participating on the site. Now I don’t call myself a professional photographer. I’m a designer that can take photos. I then take those photos and manipulate them into something hopefully more impressive, and in some cases develop an individual or a collection of photos into something conceptual!
I was hesitant to add photos to Fotoblur since I wasn’t sure how anyone in the community would react – or worse, not react at all!
I decided to restrict my images to my conceptual artwork collection, and with hands shaking with every upload I uploaded my artwork. The reaction was very positive I’m very very happy to say! Overall the community is wonderful, the people are friendly, the photos posted are enlightening and inspiring.
And I discovered something interesting – posting my artwork there was something I needed to do.
Although I’ve been happily posting work around the web, I found that recently, for whatever reason, I was creating images that looked like the images everyone else was posing, and that’s not really what I want to do. Everyone feels this way after a while, you don’t want to be part of the pack, you want to be different!
By taking the chance and posting my work on Fotoblur I found what I wanted – change.