First Monday Post of 2020: final call for the ongoing musical images challenge. Thoughts on a comment about what happens to our images. Thoughts on the idea of a pictures of the month selection. Thoughts about collaborative projects. And news from Phr 🙂
The results will be published at the end of this week or beginning of next. If you want to participate, those are the last few days. Please mention the name of the challenge in your email, so I can find your entry easily. Please send jpg images between 1000 and 2000 px long edge. The topic is images that evoke a music, any music ,to you. And you can send a (public) link to the music in question in your message if you’d like us to feel the relationship for ourselves 🙂
3 photographers have sent me photographs with texts, titles and edition numbers. The corresponding galleries are almost complete. If you’d like to sell / swap your best photographs here you are welcome. A quick reminder of the basics. Phr is pronounced fair. I’ve explained why before and will create an FAQ section. Photographs selected (by the author and the DS curator – me, for now) are displayed on a page in your name. Visitors can buy them or offer you something in exchange of equal value. In case of a sale DS charges a 30% fee to the seller (compared to 50% and up-to 97% in certain galleries) In case of a swap, there is a donate button on this page and both interested parties can donate something to DS or not. No pressure.
When 6 galleries are online, I will engage in some PR to get people to know the website. That should bring in visitors, although there is never any guarantee with anything not paid for (and, no, I do not want to spend personal dinero on advertising). Ultimately, the best PR in a community is always – without exception, word of mouth from its members. You care? You share 😉 New to this and you’d like to know more? I’ll soon post more and here’s my personal gallery as an example page.
The main reason for putting your gallery online here rather than in a website of your own is the car dealership effect. A car dealer alone in a city almost always closes down. No one cares. Car dealerships all bunched up in the same area in town thrive because people coming to visit one brand will always visit others. The traffic to Phr coming for one photographer will always end up on someone else’s gallery page as well. Bunching up doesn’t create competion, it enables sales. The more photographers join and send visitors, the faster this will grow for all. When we reach critical mass, I will also try to organise exhibitions in brick and mortar galleries.
It’s exponential. Meaning slow initially and potentially furiously fast afterwards. It’s also my way of doing things. We each help out and it thrives or everyone plays solo and nothing happens. The world’s dominant forces (populist governments, social platforms) are isolating us to weaken us and turn us into sheep and battery cells for advertising engines (hello, The Matrix). In this little corner of the web, we win together or we don’t win at all 🙂
A few weeks ago, we suggested you send in photos of yours you like but don’t fit into the monthly challenge so we could collate them into a best-of post. Not much has happened since as the holidays sent us all hunting for presents and turkeys 😉 If that’s OK with you, I’ll select a few photographs sent in recent posts and create a first “pic of January collection”. Your feedback on that will tell us whether and how to continue with this idea.
Here’s a new idea. Challenges are fun but limit us to one topic and a few weeks of thinking. I’d like to continue those but offer an alternative view on “directed photography”: collaborative projects.
The idea is simple. Let’s take the topic of environmental healing. I’ll create a dedicated page for this (and other topics) and whenever a scene evokes one of those topics to you, you can send the corresponding photograph to me and it can be added to the ongoing project page (as for Phr galleries, this is subject to curation). Environmental healing is just a topic that crossed my mind as I type this page. If you have a pet topic/idea you are willing to share, please leave a comment. I think projects are a fantastic way of directing our awareness and stimulating our creativity, and that we can create really great work in this way, over long periods of time.
Some projects could end up being multi-author Phr galleries.
In a privately sent comment on the Hindsight is 2020, a reader recently asked what becomes of such disparate photographs: “how on earth could anyone catalogue, store or display such an unconnected series of images? If each one is a unique image, with no visual connection to the others, what does the photographer DO with them, after they’ve been transferred from the camera? […] I can’t imagine them being enlarged and hung on the wall – anyway, all of us take way too many images for that to be anything but idle fancy.”
I think the disconnection between photographs is mainly one of subject. This is why working in series or projects is interesting. It directs our vision and hightens our awareness about a specific idea and makes us more receptive to it in the field. Rather than being mere random sponges that soak up tourist sites, we evolve towards being intellectual sponges that find similaries and connections between those sites wherever we go. A deeper worldview always leads to better art.
In a random set of photographs such as the one in the hindsight post mentioned above, you can see photographs from series and random photographs together. Both can be pretty but those from series are often more personal yet interesting to others. And that’s the key to good photography: making something personal that appeals and speaks to others. In the random photographs, the author, the style, are the link between, but that is probably less interesting for viewers and not something the world can connect with as easily as a common understanding of something deeper than style.
As for what our photographs become, what their purpose and destiny is … my answer is feedback. A loop involving intent and feedback is a sure path to growth. You do something with purpose, you show it, you get feedback. On the 2020 version of the Internet, this can be savage. But there are multiple safe and intelligent places to share (DS is just one of them). Now, maybe you don’t want to grow. And maybe you want to grow without feedback. The feedback received by Van Gogh wasn’t the most supportive, after all, and he still became one of the most respected artists in history. Post-humously. Maybe it’s nice to share and grow in a group, while we’re alive?
We think, we create, we share, we receive feedback, we try again and we keep the very best, most iconic, more epochal for prints, albums and galleries. The rest ends up on hard drives. Seems cool to me (if not totally environmentally friendly).
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