I tell myself and others that I'm into photography purely for myself. And yet...
I tell myself and others that I’m into photography purely for myself. It’s a hobby I take pleasure in, and what others may think of my pictures doesn’t concern me. I don’t pretend to be particularly talented. Sure, by now I know some tricks that will often lead to an acceptable picture, but most of my photo’s are probably not very interesting to others. That’s okay, as long as I like mucking about with different cameras and films.
That’s the theory, anyway.
The somewhat embarrasing thruth is: I’ve grown rather fond of likes. At first, I didn’t really care about it. My pictures didn’t get many likes, and I dodn’t like a lot of pictures (well, I did like them of course, I just didn’t click the button). Gradually, that changed. I started following lomographers whose pictures I admired, some of them followed me back and we became ‘friends’. The automatic notifications of uploaded albums lowered the treshold for viewing my photos, and my pictures were getting more traffic, leading to more likes. It felt good. Than one day one of my pictures got Selected, and a wave of likes washed over it. Some of those likers clicked through to my other pictures, leading to more followers and likes.
And then you’re hooked. Every like is like someone whispering in your ear: ooh, you’re so good! A lovely little pat on the ego. I know it’s not really a big thing. Some people just like everything, even the mediocre or bad pictures. I use my lomohome as an online backup to all my pictures, even the failed ones. Sure, different people like different things, but surely no-one can like everything I do, just I don’t like everything other people do. And so there’s an inflation in the value of likes.
At the same time, I feel somehow compelled to like all pictures of the people I follow – especially the ones that like a lot of my pictures – even if I’m not particularly impressed by the pictures. Of course it’s a fine training in mindfulness to try and find something likeble in every picture you see, even the ones that at first sight don’t seem very interesting. But then how do you show appreciation for those pictures that reaaly pop out? By commenting? But if a picture allready has ten comments “wow, great!”, does it really need that comment and 11th time? Well, of course, every nice comment you receive feels great, so yes. But all that liking and commenting turns the whole exercise into a full time job.
I stopped worrying about it. When I have some time and I feel like it, I click trough some albums, liking the pictures that I like, and commenting on those I like a lot. And that should be enough. There is no doubt that I am missing out on a lot of great pictures, especially from people from different time zones, who upload when I´m asleep, or at work, but so be it. And thankfully, other people seem to feel the same way, since the avarage number of likes seems to be going down on my pictures (though they´re pretty awesome. Really!)
Still I catch myself feeling a bit left out. Every now and then I try raising my likes by advertising an album in the shout box. Like all those other shouters, in our collective plea: Like me!
But I’m trying to kick the habit, and tell myself that the number of likes on my pictures doesn’t matter. I’m into photography for myself. Right?
PS. Please like this post.