900 posts. In today’s goldfish-attention-span media industry, that’s a fraction of a second of content. On instagram alone, all the photographs published on DS since day one represent less than 10 seconds. Still, as non-monetized photo blogs go, we can probably call it a good run and look proudly at the past. The time, however, has come to say goodbye.
Goodbye to the old model, that is 😉
As repeated many a time before this celebratory post, we ain’t going nowhere. Our independance makes us far less vulnerable than most. Our collaborative nature makes us far stronger, more fun and more interesting to run.
But everything has to evolve.
I found that definition somewhere in a book and can’t, for the life of me, find the reference anymore. It’s so true, though.
I’ll leave the solving of hunger and war to people with broader shoulders than mine, but still want DearSusan to be an agent for good, however small. This means I (personally) no longer want to do some things which, to my eyes, contribute no wellbeing to anyone.
Chief among those are technical reviews. My lens reviews have always been more photo and lest test. And from now on, I won’t even go anywhere near anything performance-related. It’s impossible to buy bad gear today, that’s it (although some is rather unpleasant to use). Anyone trying to talk you into a new purchase for technical reasons is lying to you. End of tech stories on DS (at least from me, other contributors are welcome to continue).
Equally wrong is most advice on making photographs. Read it long enough and it will feel like photography can be summed up in 10 rules and tips. Not that we’ve ever published any such drivel on DS, or ever will. But, from now on, I’ll try to do the exact opposite and dig deep into certain subjects such as creative thinking, artistic intent, the craft of photography, printing …
Not an entirely new direction, then. Simply a different weighting to our various previous foci.
As much fun as DS has been, it has its flaws. Its foibles.
First among which is the blog-only format. A kind commentator recently explained how he reads Ming’s blog and DS, sticking almost exclusively to these two, and enjoying perusing old posts on both. As flattering as this is, it also reveals a great weakness of the blog format: interesting posts get lost in the flow. What a waste. Ming regularly republishes or udpates past gems, but I want to try something different.
So I’ll be writing fewer posts in the future. Instead, I want to structure the knowledge contained in these 900 posts so that they are more easily found from the homepage. And create new evergreen resources in the form of indexed pages and courses.
And I would dearly like others to do the same so that we can create or curate a set of really useful free resources for all to use.
This leads me to a first a brief announcement, then to the main purpose of this post, which is: if not actively maintained by a community (not a single author), DS as a blog will cease to exist quite rapidly. Ouch 😉
So, the annoucement: a course page is now online. 1.5 courses have been published (the .5 purely to allow me the use of the plural 😉 ) and will soon be 2.
The first is about what makes photographic prints valuable to others. It’s meant as a guide for all those who want to partake in the print swapping/ selling website we are finalizing. It’s not a scientific formula, it’s not endorsed by anyone who matters in the art scene. It’s a basis for personal reflection, created to ensure understanding between community members wishing to engage in transactions (financial or not). It is 90% complete.
The second is about Photographic composition. This is a vital component of photography and a domain about which so much misinformation has been communicated, it hurts. I start from the ground up, trying to simplify all that rubbish and turn it into something that can actually be learnt and practised.
You can find both in the Resources > Courses menu. And at the bottom of the homepage.
It took some self convincing to publish those, as I don’t feel expert enough to be teaching anyone anything. But there is just so much irrelevant rubbish out there that it hurts even more to not do anything abbout it.
Hence the name Red Pill.
Just as in The Matrix (one of the most important films to show kids, if you have any) you can take the blue and continue living the fake dream while those who don’t suck you dry. Heck, you might even rise in their hierarchy. Or you can seek the truth and take the red pill. Everything worth doing is worth putting effort into, right?
I have just thrown ideas on digital pages, which need proof-reading, completing, accuracy checks … They’re a start, and a great one for anyone strating out. But the fact remains that I am no world-class expert. And those ressources will only become better if real experts make them so. Your input is required.
As John Wick loves to repeat: “consequences”.
All our actions have consequences. And by now, the nature of this post may have become more clear to you 🙂
Deliberately turning my back to the dominant forces in both the photography market (gear) and internet marketing (sleazy content) has one inevitable consequence. It is quite possible that DS will fizzle away.
Let me describe the unassailable mechanics:
(1) I have been responsible for almost 2/3rds of all posts. That will no longer be the case as I’ll be working on resources instead.
(2) DS will get no longer support from industry blogs, as it has numerous times in the past.
(3) DS will get demoted by the search overlords.
A blog that loses 2/3 of publications, most internet searches and most external links soon loses all contributors and all traffic. The END. The website will continue to exist and accumulate ressources for free use, like a library. But if you want the cafe/blog, the interactive discussion part, to thrive (or even survive) then I will need you more than before. Sorry 😉
It’s fine if you don’t want to contribute. As I wrote in the introduction to this post, 900 post is a great run by any standard. But I don’t want to support DS unless there’s explicit proof of its usefulness as a community hub.
You can keep it alive. I don’t want to, for the sake of it. The writer / reader divide simply isn’t how I see the world. I don’t need DS. In fact, DS costs me tons of time and money (bwt, thank you again to the 2 gentlement who donated since we added the button 🙂 ) I do it both for fun and as a service.
I’m committed to creating useful resources and a gallery space for all to use. But my time is limited and the only way I’ll invest in the blog part is if it becomes a real, useful, community hub.
In exchange for the money, work, ideas I’ve put into this website for years, what I would like to ask – if you’re interested – is that you:
Communities are the antidote to the cesspit in which the Internet is evolving thanks to the social platforms and search engines.
If the content on the website is not interesting enough to trigger even the most basic tangible signs of engagement that are shares, subscriptions and comments, then it clearly isn’t doing its job or of significant interest to anyone, let alone to a community. Fizzle is then the best way to go for everyone involved. There are plenty of gear-obsessed channels out there to replace us, all thoughtfully repleat with affiliate links for viewers to follow through 😉 😉
So here’s the deal: we’ll watch the blog part of DS rise or sink together. I can’t think of many other media so willing to put readers in charge. Will you see this as a pain or an opportunity? Either way, it’s been a priviledge.
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