Dumbing Down

Street, Urban, Geometrics, London, City, Black and white, Street Photography, London Photography, Fine Art, Candid, SPI, Street Art, Graffiti,

I’ve noticed over the last year or so that finding a photograph on social media that makes you stop and really have a second look is getting less frequent.
I’m sure that those special photographs are still being posted yet the amount of mediocre photographs we have to trawl through is growing at a far faster rate.

So who’s to blame?
Social media makes posting photographs so easy, would we print even 10% of the photos we post online? Digital camera’s make taking photos so cheap and easy. Would we take half the photographs we take if we were paying for film? The hobby seems to be growing in popularity meaning there are a lot more novice photographers finding their way than the advanced amateurs. There are so many platforms to post a photograph online, does having all these platforms help? Or do we just see the same photo posted 3 times in one day.

We have the most popular “photography” app in Instagram. Everyone with a smart phone is now a photographer. Posting photo’s that could reach thousands of people if it’s posted with the correct hashtags. The “hubs” that feature what they think is good photography. They have a 50k+ following so must know what they are talking about. Or are they mostly bought follower’s and it’s some teenager selecting feature’s on their school lunch break. It’s these featured photographs that people take inspiration from, so they too then have a chance of a feature. Yet the original person choosing this photo is probably less qualified to do so than anyone reading this. Yes, photography is very subjective and what one person like’s the next person wont, but let’s at least try and get the basics right.

Should we look at Flickr and point the blame at them? We all love getting in explore, yet did we get in explore because we took a nice photograph, no. We get in explore for meeting the criteria of the algorithm. We are being told what a successful photograph is by a computer.

What about Twitter?
The weekly competitions certainly don’t help (I’m not against them). The pressure to produce a good photo week in week out is hard. So we often see below the standard posts from some very talented photographer’s as they feel the need to play. Yet it’s more the judging that causes the issues here. Making a shortlist can give a very false hype that’s hard not to get caught up in. All these “congratulations, great shot” post’s that your replying to, you start to believe that it was actually a great shot. Yet who decided, some guy sitting in the office picking a SL while still trying to do what he’s paid to do at work. One person’s opinion again, and I’d once more question that opinion more often than not.

Does Photocrowds crowd voting help?
I don’t think so. Good photo’s being scored low because you want to finish above them, and poor photo’s being scored high because you know your entry was better. Yet if enough people think that way (and they do) you end up with all the poor photos at the top.

How about the ever growing vlogging community. We are seeing more and more popping up, teaching us how to take a photography, giving us tip’s and showing us how its done. Yet are there any vloggers out there that take nice photograph’s while filming their vlog? Or do we just see another pressured photo posted because they have to have one for this week’s episode.

It really feels to me that we (social media on the whole) are promoting poor photography too much. All the like’s we give on Twitter, just because the poster liked your post a few days ago. Is this helping, or is it just making them believe they are doing better than they actually are. The thumb up emoji’s we all post on Instagram “featured” post’s. Or all the double tap like’s we give because it’s just so easy to do so.

What’s the answer, should we start posting less, only sharing our best photos. I don’t see this helping, the worst offender’s probably don’t even realise the poor standard of photograph’s they are posting. Or stop liking as much, save our likes for photo’s that we do actually like. Yet this is social media, are we not all just trying to be social?

Now I can’t have a blog post with no photographs, so here’s some of my recent social media post’s. You may or may not have liked them. If you did, I hope it’s because you actually appreciated them and you weren’t just being social.

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