I don’t think I’m a particularly brilliant photographer. Sure, I’ve carved out a little niche here in a small part of the world and my landscape photography is relatively well known amongst the local community, but I’m no big-shot Instagram influencer, I haven’t got a nationally or internationally recognisable name and I sure as shit do not earn a living from photography.
Quite often when I’m browsing my Facebook photographic communities I see posts from people who are depressed because they have lost interest in their hobby. They usually say that they can’t work up the enthusiasm to get out there and photograph anything and that they haven’t even picked up their cameras in weeks, months or even years. They have lost their ‘phojo’ and they wonder if they’ll ever get it back. Well, I’m here to tell you that that is absolutely fine to lose your phojo, that you really ought to stop beating yourself up about it and that buying a new camera or lens will almost certainly not ‘fix’ things.
Being a photographer used to be pretty simple. You had a camera, you had a subject you liked photographing and you used to go out with your camera and photograph the subject you liked. And apart from perhaps showing off the occasional print at the local camera club to a group of like-minded tragics – that’s probably about as far as it went.
Then social media arrived and as with so many aspects of this modern connected life of ours, everything changed.
Cosplay, fantasy and photographing it has become huge over the last decade or so. At comic cons around the world, people show up as their favourite video game, TV and movie characters. And every year they just get better and better, closer the originals that inspire their creation. In the last few years, developments in technology and electronics have allowed some to take it up to the next level.
This particular suit of “Sovereign” armour from Melissa Ng at Lumecluster is a perfect example. Combining 3D design, 3D printing, electronics, and a lot of skill and ingenuity it took 518 hours to create. And that doesn’t include the time that the 3D printer was making parts.
Photographers join photo-sharing sites for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s as simple as a need for recognition and the occasional pat-on-the-back. In fact I suspect that’s the reason most people join these sites in the first place; a little bit of recognition is worth big dollars in the feel-good bank. Sometimes they join those sites to promote their work for financial reasons, either to sell prints or services. In the post-Instagram era I suspect that many people join in the hopes of growing a sizeable enough audience to attract sponsors, and trips and cheap booze.
Whatever the reason, the simple fact is that once you started posting, you are in competition with every other photographer on the site. Whether you like it or not, your photograph is judged alongside those of the entire membership, rank amateurs and seasoned pros alike. The aim of the game is to get your photograph in front of as many eyeballs as possible and that means playing the like-you-like-me game, getting involved, interacting, posting comments, replying to discussions – you know the drill.
We photographers do love our catch-phrases, but what do they all mean? Here’s my not-so-serious and very tongue-in-cheek run down of some of the more commonly used terms and their meanings. And yes, I’m as guilty as the next guy: