How Many “Favorites” Or “Likes” Are Enough?

1x1.trans How Many Favorites Or Likes Are Enough?

(A photograph from my ongoing “Suits” project. London 2011)

This is an essay I wrote addressing our obsession with “favorites” and “likes” on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, 500px, Google+, photo blogs, and so on. If you have ever felt that you were photographing more for affirmation from others than yourself, give the essay a read.  I share my personal experiences and also make practical suggestions in the end how to overcome an addictions to “favorites” and “likes”.

My start in photography

 

When I first started photography (2006), I remember the joy that I had of taking images for the sake of it, and how I would lose a sense of time when hitting the shutter. My first camera was a Canon point-and-shoot, and it was with me everywhere I went. I didn’t know street photography at the time, so I took photos of things I find interesting in my everyday life. Landscape, my friends, flowers, architecture, the typical stuff.

Over time, I became more obsessive about photography. I knew that although I took photographs for myself, I wanted to also share my photos with my friends, family, and the rest of the world.

Thinking about how to best get my photos out there, I first stumbled upon Flickr, online forums, and photo blogs. Of course at my first opportunity, I signed up for all these services to get my photos out there.

I first shared my photos on these sites as a simple way to showcase and display my work. However I soon discovered the addictive nature of getting affirmation on my photography through these early online social media photography sites.

Whenever I uploaded an image to the internet that I was proud of and received a “favorite” or a comment, it was pure ecstasy. I felt a warm sense of affirmation from others, and having the number “1” in my “comments” section for my photoblog was sure a hell of a lot better than having a “0”.

I soon got hooked on the feeling. After uploading photos to these sites, I would check them several times a day.

When I would check and someone would leave me a comment, give me a “favorite”, or there would be more pageviews, I would feel absolute joy. However when I didn’t get any feedback or “favs”, it would make me feel depressed.

I wanted more. More favorites, more page views, and more comments about my work. My photography became less for myself, and more about self-recognition from others (quantified by numbers rather than anything else).

Over time I discovered the “hidden rules” of getting lots of comments, favs, or pageviews on my photos.

1. The rule of reciprocity

One of the things I first learned was the rule of reciprocity. On Flickr, an online forum, or photo blog, if you gave someone a comment, favorite, or some sort of feedback– you would expect to receive it in return. Therefore the more feedback you gave others, the more they would give you.

2. Publish or perish

Another strategy was to constantly publish at least once a day. This would ensure the chance of getting more comments, favorites, and likes – and even giving you the chance of hitting Flickr’s “explore” that would give you the mystical 100+ favorites benchmark. Not only that, but it would build expectations for people, so they would start following you regularly.

3. Spamming groups

At the time I signed up for as many photo forums as I could, and would publish each of my favorites images to all of these sites. This ensured that I would get more visibility for my work, and would also end up getting more affirmation from others.

Not only that, but I would add my photos to as many Flickr groups as possible, hoping that it would lead me to getting more comments, favs, and views.

Fast forwarding to today

1x1.trans How Many Favorites Or Likes Are Enough?

5-6 years ago I would get an average of 1-2 comments on my photos and 1-2 favorites if I was lucky. I didn’t have many people following my work, would get an average of 5 comments on photography blogs on my work, and about 50-100 pageviews a day on my photo blog.

Let’s fast-forward to today. I now have several photos on Flickr that have over 100 favorites (even one or two with over 200). I have close to 10,000 followers on twitter, over 20,000 fans on Facebook (similar numbers on Google plus), and my blog gets several thousands of pageviews a day.

Yet there are times I feel empty about my photography.

What is the problem here? In the past I always imagined once I got a ton of followers, a ton of comments, and a ton of favs it would make me happy for the rest of my life. Or at least I expected that the more favorites, followers, or pageviews I got it would make me happier.

However in my experiences, I have found this to be false.

How many favorites or likes are enough?

1x1.trans How Many Favorites Or Likes Are Enough?

One of the reasons I decided to write this post was from Christian Nilson. He wrote a post on Facebook which said the following:

The hunt for clicks, likes and favorites – a curse? I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I catch myself looking at the statistics page of Flickr at least once per day, the same goes for the visitor statistics of my blog. When doing this, I catch myself thinking why? Is it some kind of need for recognition that I’m trying to satisfy? Probably. On the other hand I want to think that it doesn’t matter what others think as long as what I do keeps me happy. Any thoughts?

When I read Christian’s thought, I immediately related with him. Although nowadays I’m not asobsessed with clicks and checking my stats – it is still an issue that haunts me that I am trying to overcome. I write this essay in the hope that if you have experienced the same feelings of “favorite hunting”,  this essay will provide you some advice and suggestions on how to overcome it.

Is it possible to have “enough” favorites or likes?

1x1.trans How Many Favorites Or Likes Are Enough?

One of the things I learned through psychology and cognitive science is that we have an extraordinary ability to adapt. Whether it is good things or bad things. For example, if we won the lottery, we would be much happier, right?

Wrong. Numerous studies disprove this. Of course if you won the lottery you would be ecstatic for the first few days. You would no longer worry about those credit card bills, those looming student loans, and now you would be able to buy a nice car and house.

However after a year people who win the lottery report the same amount of happiness they did before winning the lottery. Imagine a year after you win the lottery. The Porsche you bought now looks cheap to your neighbors’ Lamborghini, your house small compared to that of Bill Gates, and the amount of emails, phone calls, text messages, and Facebook messages from friends, family, and strangers asking for money is unbearable.

Humans also have great resilience when it comes to adapting to bad things.

For example, we all hear of stories of people who get into traumatic car accidents and become quadriplegics. If we lost all sense of control in our legs and our arms, we would be depressed for the rest of our life, right?

Also wrong. Of course people who become quadriplegics are understandably depressed for the few months after their accident. However when interviewed about a year later, they report about the same amount of self-reported happiness before they suffered their accident. Many of them report how grateful they are of life, how they discovered a new hobby (listening to music or writing novels by voice), and how they are able to empower other people through inspirational talks.

Cognitive scientists believe that the reason we are so good at adapting to situations is because it is a natural coping mechanism. For example, if we were living as cavemen and we lost an arm (I’m certain many people back then did by wild animals) our biology would tell us to go on with life. If we just got sad and depressed for losing our arm, we would inevitably die.

As for adapting to really good situations? I surmise it is because when we are adapted to a good standard of living, our biology instructs us to maintain that same standard (and even strive for a better standard of living. This is why many billionaires still continue no work to earn more money (even they have far surpassed a good standard of living).

So how does this relate to the online social media world of photography?

Being able to adapt to good (and bad) situations also relates to the social media world of photography.

First of all, it describes our never-ending appetite for having more favorites, more likes, more page views, more followers, more contacts, and more comments, etc. More, more, more.

How many “favs” or “likes” are enough?

1x1.trans How Many Favorites Or Likes Are Enough?

How many “favs” on our photos on Flickr or “likes” on Facebook enough? According to psychology and cognitive science, there is never enough.

I would agree with the psychologists and cognitive scientists. In my personal experience, even after surpassing 100 favorites on Flickr on a single image (one of my earlier goals in life), I still wanted more. I saw others who had over 200 favorites on a single image (which made my 100 favorites seem like a failure by comparison).

Once my most popular image had 100 favorites on Flickr, that became the benchmark, the standard in which I measured the success of all of my other images.

Whenever I uploaded a photograph that received less than 100 favorites, I would deem it a failure. I wanted all of my new photos to get (at least) 100 favorites on Flickr.

There would be times that I met the goal, which would only make me mildly happy and amused (kind of like how Asian parents expect you to get straight A’s in school). However whenever I received less than 100 favorites on Flickr, I would feel like a failure.

Taking a break from uploading my photos to social media

1x1.trans How Many Favorites Or Likes Are Enough?

So what was I to do in this never-lasting quest to conquer Flickr and the Internet with the most favorites of all the street photographers out there? It seemed that as time moved on I would become less satisfied with my photography. My happiness and self-satisfaction would lie on how many “favs” I would get on Flickr and less about how I felt about my own images. I would spend far too much time checking if my numbers went up, and not enough time out shooting.

So what did I do to get over this?

I took a hiatus from uploading images to the internet.

Well, to be completely honest I didn’t decide this. It was something that occurred by-chance.

Around the time when I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by my photography and social media, I got a challenge from Charlie Kirk when I was in Tokyo in December 2011. I think I was having a conversation with Charlie and we talked about how most of the great photographers out there (who pass away) are only know for their 10 or so best images.

Therefore Charlie challenged me to go an entire year without uploading any images to the Internet – and at the end of the year uploading my 20 best images. He said he thought it would be a good thing for my photography as it would teach me to be more disciplined and a better self-editor of my own work. It also made sense to me, as if the masters died having 10 great images, couldn’t I have the patience to last only 1 simple year to produce 20 “good” images?

An entire year? This seemed like a great idea at first. I knew it would teach myself patience and be a good exercise in becoming a better self-editor of my own work. Yet, I didn’t know if I would be able to do it.

At the time, I uploaded a photograph online at least once a day or once every other day. I didn’t know if I would be able to go an entire year without that sense of gratification of getting lots of comments, favorites, likes, page views, etc on my images. It was almost like asking a smoker to give up cigarettes and nicotine. Favorites and likes were my drug.

I asked Bellamy Hunt what he thought about the idea, and he thought it was a brilliant idea. I asked a few others, and they said it was an awful idea.

I then told Charlie I would think about the challenge and spent about a week pondering the idea.

In the end, I decided that it was a challenge that I was up for, and I agreed to Charlie’s challenge. We also decided that the loser of the bet had to buy the other a nice dinner.

Now looking back, it was probably the best advice I have ever been given in photography (thanks Charlie).

The one-year “no upload” challenge

1x1.trans How Many Favorites Or Likes Are Enough?

The first thing I did to start this challenge was to publically announce it. I remember mentioning it on my blog in an article, and told my close friends what I was up to. By announcing this challenge publically, it made me responsible for my actions – meaning that I didn’t want to disappoint others.

At first it was incredibly difficult to not upload any photos. I would go out and shoot, and get what I thought to be was a great shot. I’d rush home, post-process it, and prepare to upload it online.

I then had to stop and remind myself: I was doing this challenge and I wasn’t allowed to upload anything.

I still wanted to get feedback and critique on what I was working on, so what I ended up doing was still uploading my photos to Flickr, setting it to private, and marking Charlie as “family” so that he could take a look at my images and give me personalized feedback on what I was working on. Over time, I soon added more of my close friends and confidants as “family” on Flickr – so they could track my progress and give me feedback as well.

Although the challenge was difficult, I had a pretty good roll. I went around a solid 6 months without uploading any images which caused me to lose all urges to constantly check Flickr and check my stats.

However I soon started to get pressure and suspicion from people on the internet, constantly badgering me why I wasn’t uploading any photos. They would ridicule me for this challenge, saying that “no serious photographer did that” and that it was detrimental to my image as a photographer.

Over time, the heat from my critics got hotter and hotter. They continued to prod me to share my photos saying that “I had something to hide”.

I am sad to say that I succumbed to these outside pressures, and prematurely uploaded my photos online. Although I am proud of the projects I recently uploaded (Dark Skies Over Tokyo, Korea: The Presentation of Self, and Downtown LA in Color) I still feel I needed more time to work on them.

After this first onslaught of releasing my images, I felt a huge sense of relief. But then it felt like I was on this “social media treadmill” again. I felt the urge again to always be sharing my images, and sharing with others what I was up to. This led me to leaking many of the projects I was working on. I then once again started using the number of favorites, likes, and comments as a barometer for what project ideas were good or not.

Literally a day ago I realized that this madness needs to stop again. I went into my Flickr stream, did a heavy edit of all of the photos in my stream, and removed a lot. I think for the time being, I am going to take another hiatus from Flickr while I focus on my “Suits” project.

So what is so bad about wanting to get a lot of favorites or likes anyways?

1x1.trans How Many Favorites Or Likes Are Enough?

There is of course nothing wrong in itself to want to get people to look at your work through photography social media sites. I want to clarify at this point in this essay and state that I am not against sharing your photos online. Rather, I am trying to advise you from getting to obsessed with online social media and photography. And once again, these are based on my personal experiences and thoughts – feel free to pick and choose what you like.

In my experience I have discovered many dangers of this never-ending thirst for favorites, likes and attention when it comes to social media.

1. The majority of the people on the internet don’t know what a good photograph is

I’m not trying to be elitist when I say this, but most of the people on the Internet don’t know what a good photograph is.

Think about the most popular photos on the internet. They are generally wide-open bokeh shots of random lights in the street at night, HDR photos of sunsets, or selective-colored photos of flowers. Sure from time to time I enjoy nice bokeh shots and think that HDR can be used tastefully, I would say that the majority of popular photos online are over-done. Many popular images on the internet are generally clichéd, unoriginal, and boring. Not only that there seems to be an over-obsession with post-processing nowadays, giving us clown-vomit HDR, over-sharp images, and hideous watermarks.

There is a school of thought that believes in the idea of “collective wisdom”. They believe that the intelligence of a mass crowd is smarter than the individual. While in some regards this model has worked well (popular Wikipedia pages are often found to be more accurate than the average encyclopedia entry) but it also fails many regards.

Jersey shore is one of the most popular shows out there. But it is a good show? The show is certainly entertaining (I’ve watched a few episodes) but I would doubt if had the same amount of poetic directing such as Citizen Kane. But I would argue that the majority of the American public know of (and perhaps enjoy) watching Jersey Shore compared to watching Citizen Kane.

The most popular restaurant in the world is McDonalds. But is it good food?

So instead of listening to what the masses think of your photographs, I believe in the idea of trusting a selective few (whose work you admire and repsect).

For example, getting feedback from a photographer I know and respect means a million times more than getting hundreds of comments from the general public.

If we let the crowd dictate what is good or what isn’t, it makes us lose our own voice. I have several photos on Flickr which I don’t think are very good, but have tons of favorites and comments. I also have many other shots on Flickr which I (and people I know) think are my best shots, but have very few favorites and comments.

2. The problem with marketing

The number of favorites or comments you get on photos doesn’t mean whether you are a good photographer or not. It only dictates how many people follow you and how good you are in marketing yourself and photos online.

When I say “marketing” I mean have an online social presence. There are many photographers who have a strong online following due to the fact that they run a popular blog (like myself), the fact that they have done many interviews online, if they give lots of other people feedback and comments, or if their photos are in popular photography groups.

There are many great photographers who don’t get many favorites or comments online. Does this mean they are a bad photographer? Certainly not.

For example if a photographer has a Flickr page yet has never shared their page with anybody (not even their own mother) and they have 0 comments and 0 favorites it doesn’t mean anything.

Yet we still look at our own numbers and thrive by them. It is a matter of life there will always be someone wit more followers, favorites, and likes than you. It is fruitless trying to chase down that rabbit hole.

3. Social comparison

If we only got 1 favorite on a photograph, we may be discouraged. We might tell ourselves, “Oh man, only 1 favorite? That is pathetic. I see all these other guys with an average of 10 favorites on their images!”

But then the guys with the average of 10 favorites on their images look at the guys with an average of 20 favorites and are discouraged.

Then the guys with the average of 20 favorites on their photos look at the guys with 100 favorites are discouraged.

I certainly don’t need to stay this any more. This is classic sociology, how we compare our success in relative to others. For example, that’s why people who own a $100,000 house in the poorest neighborhood may be happier than someone who owns a $1,000,000 house in the richest neighborhood (all of the neighbors have $5,000,000 houses).

Therefore 100 favorites for someone on Flickr can be considered a success for someone with only an average of 10 favorites per image, whereas 100 favorites can be considered failure compared to someone on Flickr with an average of 200 favorites per images.

How to overcome the endless pursuit of favs and likes

1x1.trans How Many Favorites Or Likes Are Enough?

Okay, so if you got this far (I congratulate you for having the attention span) you might be thinking to yourself, “Okay I realized that I am a bit too obsessed with favs and likes when it comes to my photography. I want to overcome it, but what should I do now?” I wouldn’t pose a problem without offering a practical solution. I am certainly not the beacon of knowledge when it comes to the issue, but I offer some advice based on my personal experiences:

1. Don’t upload any photos for a year and focus on a project

Although I wasn’t able to last an entire year without uploading any images to the internet, it was still a phenomenal learning experience for me. Not uploading any photos to the internet taught me patience, and helped me focus on my projects (and not get distracted by favs and likes on the internet).

Therefore I suggest you to work on a street photography project for a year, and upload it to Flickr, Facebook, Google+, 500px, your website, blog, etc at the end. I can almost guarantee this will make you a better self-editor of your own work, make you more patient, and focus on photographing for yourself (not others).

If you need advice on how to start a street photography project, you can see these articles on the subject on my blog:

2. Join (or create) a private critique group on Flickr or Facebook

This is another idea that you can do (in conjunction with not uploading your photos publically online for a year). I still believe in the idea of getting feedback & critique on your work to know what to focus on and how to improve.

Therefore by creating or joining a small and intimate group of photographers via a private Flickr critique group or Facebook critique group  — you will be more meaningful feedback and critique on your work. Not only that, but they will better learn and understand your work, and follow and guide you through your photographic journey.

3. Aim to get feedback from those whose opinions you respect

As a sociologist I know that at the end of the day, we as humans thrive and need social validation from others. I think that although trying to be too focused on validation from others can be detrimental, we still need a degree of validation from those we are close to, and those we respect.

Try to find a mentor when it comes to your photography. Nowadays this is very difficult to do, but attend a Magnum workshop, take photography classes in your neighborhood, or contact a photographer online that you admire (and ask for mentorship). All great students have even greater teachers that help guide them. Even the greatest photographers have mentors that they trust and confide in.

Conclusion

1x1.trans How Many Favorites Or Likes Are Enough?

I write this post not to preach, but to share my personal experiences and frustrations as a way to help you if you too suffer an addiction to “favs” and “likes”.

It is natural for us to want to gain respect and affirmation from others. It is what makes us human. But once we cross that boundary into having only an obsession from numbers, it starts getting dangerous.

Try not to thirst for recognition via the number of favorites, comments, and page views on your photos. Rather, strive to impress your peers, your mentors, and those whose work you respect.

Certainly don’t only photograph to please others. In the end, you should photograph to please yourself. But at the same time, getting feedback and constructive criticism from people we respect will help you strive to get better, take your photography to the next level, and to challenge yourself.

While I am confident in terms of my abilities as a street photographer, my knowledge, and my insights I like to borrow a saying from Socrates: “The only thing I am certain of is my own ignorance”. There is still a lot I need to learn and things I am ignorant of, but I hope that what is contained in this article will help you in your journey in photography (and to a certain degree life in general), as I know it has helped me.

Have you ever been addicted to “favs”, “likes”, and views on your photos? How have you overcome it—or is it still something that you still suffer from? Share your advice, thoughts, and personal experiences in the comments below.

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  • Hater

    “1. The majority of the people on the internet don’t know what a good photograph is”
    Do you know ?????????

    • http://www.facebook.com/YoungTeach Bilal Khan

      Troll

      • Verdoux

        Just because he wrote something that you don’t like doesn’t make him a troll. Learn the correct definition of a troll.

        • http://www.facebook.com/YoungTeach Bilal Khan

          A troll is someone who posts inflammatory remarks in an effort to promote emotional responses. 1) He refers to himself as “hater” without giving his proper name. 2) He offers no direct critique of Eric’s comments. He just poses a question with no purpose other than instigation. 3) He’s received a few comments that are off-topic and invoked an emotional response.

          PS: Great article Eric. This is a phenomenon that I find is true in many aspects of Internet life. Blog writers, twitter users, etc. I wonder what would happen if those sites removed that function. Would we still post? I feel a little like Pavlov’s dog every time I update my blog, Facebook status or Flickr.

          • Hater/ Troll

            “He just poses a question with no purpose other than instigation.”
            Really? No my dear friend. I do have a purpose.
            I am that little kid who posed the question –
            King, where is your cloth?

          • Waqas

            I agree a photograph is as good to ones eye as it is bad to another, no photograph is bad in my opinion…. like they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder… I agree with hater/troll he has a valid point

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=630047944 Michael Nguyen

    great article Eric and thanks for publishing this, something people need to know. I know i am a victim of fav whoring. I remember talking with Charlie once and saying “if i get 1 fav for every 10 views then that’s a successful photo”

  • http://stevesigloo.tumblr.com/ Steve Wood

    Nice article Eric. Compliments on being honest with your experiences. Finding a mentor is definitely not easy…

  • http://www.cutebun.blogspot.com Cutebun

    Very true. I’m guilty of oversharing for likes and comments.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1255625091 Christos Kapatos

    Nice read man!

  • http://twitter.com/m_avina Mike Avina

    Another solid read. I agree–with the caveat that (having run several critique groups), crit groups can sometimes be less than useful as well. The opinions that are most helpful come from folks that are far ahead of you. The real joy is in the hunt, everything that happens after is mostly not as satisfying; with the exception of sequencing a long series (sometimes interesting meanings emerge in the relation of images to one another). I don’t think recognition, whether it is on social media, or “serious” venues is ultimately that interesting–at best it only offers a weather vane that indicates that you succeeded in your own artistic goals. Maybe you should organize a one or two-day workshop for folks that can’t afford a workshop, get a bunch of volunteers, get some kickstarter coin, make a little book of the best images shot by the students–now that would be satisfying. I volunteer to give a spiel about making environmental portraits and working with people.

    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      Definitely will do some more charity work while back in the states, thinking of teaching another inner-city photography class perhaps in Detroit over the summer. Thanks for the ideas Mike!

  • Rui

    Thank you for this awesome article man !

  • http://www.facebook.com/emmanuel.dasalla Emmanuel Dasalla

    yes I’m an addict, but reading your article was kind of a relief knowing that others are having the same problem as well. But I don’t think I could ever do that ” don’t post any photos for one year project” posting photos on flickr is the only thing that keeping me happy…but I agree on what you wrote “getting feedback and constructive criticism from people we respect will help you strive to get better,” I just have to rely on that thought for now on…

  • http://www.facebook.com/ltomdotcom Tom Petrie

    It used to be a goal of mine to begin with, but I lost the internet for a year or so (i could never check) and now it doesn’t bother me at all. To be honest though i think it was switching to film that helped me the most, I almost have chance to forget about my pictures, like you said in another SA of yours when you wind on your film it’s the next photo (It always makes me chuckle watching people check their screens instantly, I’m guilty of this with digital myself). Shooting projects is really good too, I think it gives you a little discipline, it is awfully hard not to upload pictures sometimes. Good read mate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/borgein Børge Indergaard

    Excellent article Eric. I have on and off fallen into the social media trap myself. Not only do you become obsessed with likes, favorites, comments, ratings, sharings and what not – which takes a whole lot of time out of your day. But it is extremely exhausting as well, and it sort of drains the life out of my photography interest and passion due to the fact that it starts feeling like a very demanding second job… This article was very enlightening, and I think we all strive for some sort of recognition, but, it’s important to remind yourself that you’re taking the pictures for yourself and not for others to look at the picture for 1 second, hit the F key (or star or whatever) and go to the next…

    When I think back, I have favorited, rated and starred so many photographs that wasn’t interesting AT ALL to me simply because of the chance to get feedback myself. You give feedback, you get feedback. And by giving a lot of feedback – even to uninteresting work – you start hoping that you will get some back… Ironically, you’ll probably get the same type of feedback as well… So yeah… It’s sort of a useless and neverending trap.

    You can call it the “Photography MMO”.

  • http://twitter.com/Will_Wylie Will Wylie

    I haven’t read the whole article yet (it’s 12.30am in the UK when I write and need to sleep for work tomorrow!) But, check out Sartre’s take on satisfaction. He believed that we had an existential ‘lack’ in ourselves, meaning that we always strive to change ourselves. Hence, once we have achieved a goal we search for another as we now lack something else. So, even though you might have won the lottery, it’s not long before the ‘lack’ in you resurfaces and needs addressing!

  • jknotzke

    Hi Eric

    This is one of your better posts and something that really hit a chord with me. I agree entirely with you that people have lousy taste in photography.. Or at least they don’t have the same taste as me. I’m always amazed at the amount of comments and +1’s some photographers get. I look at their work and think “Seriously?”.. Speaking of which, and speaking of cloud vomit, have you seen this ?
    http://stuckincustoms.smugmug.com/Portfolio-The-Best/your-favorites/10668747_nxsXfB/2183017519_2dPtTjw/A#!i=2183017519&k=2dPtTjw&lb=1&s=A

  • http://www.facebook.com/gul.jung Gul Jung

    Great post. Organized my thoughts, re-focused my hobby & passion of photography by it.
    Thanx a million for your enlightening article.

  • Sepia Prince

    “Clown-vomit HDR”??? – BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    It’s been a while since I commented on your blog, Eric, but I was totally compelled to do so on this piece. In my quest to create and share my growth and vision, I totally succumbed to the social media disease ‘checking for likes’. It’s debilitating and crippling to the point of making art in the first place: the JOY.

    I mainly shoot projects and will certainly consider NOT uploading any pic to social media sites for an extended period, if not a YEAR. I wish you the best of luck and hail you up for continued willingness to be a human who makes photos.

    Give thanks!

    ~ SP

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9390869 Devin Jones

    This is one of the best articles I’ve ever seen you write. Kudos. I’m all too guilty of social media whoring and may try your approach. I think if you fleshed the idea out and rewrote it, maybe added a few guidelines and suggestions, this could be as helpful as “The Leica Year” concept over at The Online Photographer.

  • http://www.followtheboat.com/ Jamie Furlong

    Great article, Eric. I think I’m caught somewhere between the two at the moment. When I celebrated 1,000 likes on my FB page I immediately thought ‘So?’, especially when photographers far better than me have only 250 ‘likes’ on their page. It’s pretty meaningless.

    I think when we start out the ‘likes’ and the comments are a nod of approval or recognition. Younger photographers are used to the trappings of social media so it’s quite normal for them to post up an image and expect instant gratification through liking and sharing. There’s so much noise out there they’ll do anything to get noticed, but sometimes we lose sight of what it means to be a photographer. Ultimately we should be photographing for ourselves. Photography is, after all, a reflection of ourselves IMHO. If we are going to photograph for anyone else then your point about impressing peers, mentors and the people we respect is a useful reminder.

    BTW, I’d not seen your ‘Flight’ picture before (I’m crap with flickr). Love that!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pagenstedt Georg Pagenstedt

    I really like the idea of a private Flickr critique group. But who would do that with me from the guys, who’s photos I like?

  • Trevor Saylor

    This is a very good post. Thoughtful and honest, and good advice that doesn’t come off as “preachy” or condescending.

    In fact, this is very timely. I have gotten to the point that you were at a year ago, and I just posted on my blog an article about the same thing the other day. I’ve become disillusioned with posting online, Flickr is garbage, facebook is obnoxious, and most people don’t know what a good photograph is anyway. How do I know if my stuff is any good by posting it online? Frankly, I don’t. I’ll post the link to my post here in case anyone has any advice–though in the spirit of the post above, I’m not trolling for page hits–on the topic. I may be at the point that I stop posting online altogether for a year as well, despite the fact that I have completed some projects over the past year on my own. Here is my post if anyone has any advice:

    http://trevor365photo.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/photographic-musings/

    I’m happy that you are where you are with your work and your career. Seems you’re enjoying yourself, and that’s the most important thing. Keep it up!

  • http://www.ericspiegelphotography.com/ Eric Spiegel

    This is incredibly timely for me Eric. Thanks for this. I was secretly jealous when you announced last year that you would wait a whole year before you shared any new work. All I could think of was if I did that, the pressure I put on myself to earn likes, faves, +1s, and retweets would melt away and I could just focus on creating photography that I thought was meaningful. But at the same time, I thought that I could never do that myself. What would my internet friends think? But this past month or so, I’ve decided to seriously hold off on sharing new work for a while. I don’t know how long that will be, but I know I don’t want to succumb to striving for the approval from strangers on the internet anymore.

  • Jon Savage

    Well said Eric.

  • http://www.facebook.com/charlie.kirk Charlie Kirk

    Nice post. Pretty much agree with everything you’ve said. One way to gauge ability rather than popularity is by posting to strictly curated groups. You’ll be at the mercy of admins, but, if the group is half decent, the admins will have a fair amount of taste and knowledge.

  • isoterica

    Excellent
    post Eric. I think many of us that start out and eagerly get into groups or use
    social media soon find themselves ensnared by the affirmation of likes, faves,
    stars and plusses. It makes us feel good about what we are doing, like we are on
    the right track, like others are connecting with us via our photographic
    perspective and that good photography is a lot easier than we had expected. And
    we are misled. While
    feeling connected is generally supportive, all these other associations only
    lead, as you said, down the path to a very empty feeling, even depression. All
    you have to do is get sick and not post for a day, or a week, not be able to tag
    back on comments or participate in the latest challenge, giving heaps of support
    to other ‘friends’– to suddenly discover how quickly you and what you’ve
    created can be forgotten. And during that time is when your ‘friends’ should be
    visiting your site.

    I
    had a very popular blog a few years ago which seems funny to say here as no one
    here has likely seen it– a blog I deleted because of how miserable I felt every
    time I signed in. It wasn’t a snap decision or something I did in a fit of tears
    or anger. I was very methodical about changing my perspective first.. refusing
    to comment on anything that didn’t blow me away and just on the blogs of those
    who I considered ‘better friends’. I was always gracious thanking those that
    took the time on my blog. Then it became more sporadic posting as the entire
    idea became laborious and was actually killing my desire to shoot or at least
    photograph what I wanted. I visited less people, the mass thank-you was
    auto-posted in the summary section of each photo and thus.. less time on site. I
    tried several approaches giving it a time period, six months, if I didn’t start
    feeling better about it, because at this point in time everyone seemed so into
    it that I was questioning myself, I would delete. Nine
    months rolled around as I continued to hesitate but just getting on my old photo
    blog sent waves of frustration through me that would affect me for hours later
    when I had signed off so I deleted it.

    I
    deleted.. a history.. of all that I had done. In retrospect I wish I had at
    least backed it up for my own sake but I didn’t figuring that I did still have
    all those photos. But you don’t really go back and you shouldn’t. I bounced
    around from site to site after this deciding I would join the ‘better’ sites,
    1X, 500Px, Fotoblur.. and start fresh, a new name “Isoterica” and a new
    attitude, only, getting there I discovered more of the same. I stopped blogging
    entirely, making attempts every several months to start something up that I just
    ended up deleting. It’s been.. I want to say around two years now since I’ve
    actively blogged though I have gone to community sites and spoken in their
    forums. Seriously do a search on Isoterica and it pops up all over but there’s
    really nothing out there. I am everywhere and yet nowhere and this amuses me but
    at the same time it’s rally sad that this is how it is and that this need to add
    favs and likes to sites is so prevalent that even hosts that did not begin that
    way, like 500px, is now linked to Facebook and other social media sites. And
    I don’t like it.

    I
    don’t like posting in a place I call home to have my work distributed throughout
    several media sites that I do not like– as part of networking. There is a
    reason I am not on, have never joined or left those sites.Then again I don’t
    like reality shows so this self aggrandizing behavior on social media sites
    turns me off as well. Who cares if so and so had a mocha latte at Starbucks.
    Seriously, do I now get to look forward to when they use the bathroom six hours
    later? I just want to share my photos. Like me?.. fave me?.. just no. It is a
    culture, that is what I have discovered and that is why I am still currently
    without a ‘home’ even though I do have the domain. I am glad you wrote this for
    the newer people so that they can avoid what you, me and others have had to pick
    our way through. I like your blog but every once in a while you have a real gem
    of a post and this is one of them. Thanks.

    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      Amen!

  • John

    Interesting article. I don’t shoot street much, but your comments are applicable to all genres of photography.

    It’s a conundrum, really. While you’re right in saying that the quote-unquote average person doesn’t know what a good photo is, “serious” photographers simultaneously look down their noses at the over-processed flower shots getting oohs and aahs from the “great unwashed” but also get frustrated because their own well-exposed, compositionally interesting and technically accurate shots are glanced at with maybe a “nice shot” here or there. I remember seeing some photos uploaded by a facebook acquaintance. They were baby pictures (of course) and while they weren’t outright garbage, they were plain and had no interesting features. They were snapshots, basically, probably from an iPhone. I had to laugh when I saw the first comment – “The best photos I’ve ever seen”.

    I see two levels to it. On one level, I think to be a photographer you actually NEED a little bit of arrogance. You have to believe that you’re getting better with time and practice, that you can handle a camera better than many people, and that the adoration of the average instagram shooter is neither something you need nor want.

    (On the other hand, informed and constructive criticism is useful sometimes. If (for instance) Joe McNally or Jay Maisel looked at one of my pictures and said it was good, I would walk around grinning like an idiot for a week. If they said it was crap, I would ask them why, memorise their critique and try to make use of it next time. Whereas getting a “omg lol ur so amazing” on Facebook may be pleasing for a few seconds, it’s hardly going to stay with you for long).

    Flickr is even worse. While there are some very, very good pictures on there, it’s too easy to sign up to one of those “kiss the butt of 5 photographers and you can upload a picture” groups and get hundreds of positive comments on a photo, be it brilliant or be it abysmal. Look up the entity known as “I-still-believe-in-you” to see badly exposed, blurred, unrecognisable pictures being treated as if they were the works of Da Vinci back from the dead. It’s embarrassing. It’s actually almost sinister to see how easily people can be duped.

    I signed up for a photo criticism site for a while and got a few useful pointers from it, but it was basically a slightly more exclusive version of Flickr, i.e. a hybrid of a social networking site with a popularity contest.

    On the other level, though, you need to know your place. Look at photographs which completely knock you off your feet and keep aspiring to create something like that one day. Look at pictures by truly great photographers, then look at your own and say “what is the difference between this photo and mine?”

    And you’ll never please everyone. Someone’s always going to hate your stuff, however good you know it is. If you know it’s good and the people whose opinions you respect know it’s good, then you’re off to a good start.

  • Thomas

    hi eric

    i like your article.

    but i want to give one question back to you:

    “How much text is enough ?”

    You might realize that your postings are less in number but your texts are getting longer and longer.

    Your Reader
    Thomas

    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      Dear Thomas – yes I am posting less, but trying to write more in-depth articles that have more value and are more helpful. Let me know what you think of this!

      • Alberto

        Hi Erik, I’m writing from Italy. I read a lot of articles on internet – as many of us do – and if I somebody has to really write something that matters has to take his own time and text lenght… so short or long it doesn’t matter, the important thing is depht.

        I’m still reading, so I really like your shared thoughts – keep on, thank you

        Alberto

  • http://www.facebook.com/fokkomuller Fokko Muller

    I like your honesty Eric. These thought are not easy to express and I respect you very much for sharing your thoughts and making yourself vulnerable.

    I am also checking too much for likes and comments on all kind of platforms. And I find myself posting photos that are not bad, but not always good enough in my opinion. Just because I can’t go out on the streets as much as I would, I start posting photos that are mediocre.

    I couldn’t stand the idea to not post for a whole year (yet). But I am thinking of posting less, maybe once per month. But it also conflicts with my idea that I should post more regularly to keep “contact” with my followers. You keep contact by your blogs etcetera, but most street photographers have their pictures and that’s it.

    I like your suggestion to use a private Flickr group. Finding a mentor must be hard. I guess the people that I think about, get those questions many times and are far too busy.

    A lot of stuff to think about. Thanks!

    Best regards,

    Fokko

    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      Cheers thanks for the support Fokko!

  • http://twitter.com/praphul92 praphul t

    tanku eric kim for such a wonderful article.. u know wat? i’m now on this project..one year without facebook :)

  • ilparm

    I do not know what to tell you, Eric. I have never felt the urge to receive validation from strangers. Never felt the need to collect faves and likes and praise. Looking at the responses here, I guess I am in the minority.

    Maybe it is because I started taking and developing my own pictures when I was twelve. My first street-shooting outing took place when I was only sixteen or seventeen. I fell in love with photography before I even knew how to turn on a computer. I used to show some photos here and there to friends but the reality is that I only shot pictures for myself. That still applies today, I only shoot for my own satisfaction and I get that satisfaction from the pictures themselves and what they mean to me, not by what some random stranger might have to say about them, positive or not.

    I currently have 2052 pictures in my flickr stream. Only one of them has made it to explore and it was embarrassing. It was a picture I shot for the Street Photography Now Challenge that was selected to their main pool. I received a lot of praise from people I did not know, whose streams I did not like and I also got invites from groups I was not interested in joining. Honestly, I do not understand how some people can want that to happen to each picture they post.

    Pursuing popularity and acceptance is a normal thing among teenagers and social networks have been very smart in exploiting this. I have the impression that a lot of guys are in this mostly for the cookies, to be social, make friends, have fun, share. They pursue photography as a social activity, not as a profession or as a way to reach self-fulfillment.

    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      Thanks for your feedback ILPARM, I still am trying to figure out more of what I want out of my photography – but it is the journey that I am enjoying the most. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      • ilparm

        Thanks to you, Eric. I should add that I see nothing wrong with using photography as a social tool. Again, back when I was a teen I used photography as a means to meet girls and boy, was I glad I did! :o)

        I remember another post by you where you mention the benefits of receiving critique in person, face to face. I think the same applies here. What do you value more, a hundred likes by anonymous persons and people you only “know” online or the praise of Charlie, a guy you know personally, you have shared beers with and that knows better who you are and where do you come from with your pictures?

        I do not dislike recognition, but I see faves and likes more as simple spam-like buzz-generating tools rather than a true form of appreciation.

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  • Stephan

    Hi Eric,

    This is a nice topic and discussion to engage. It gives us a chance to personally reassess the reasons why we post, if not to reveal to ourselves why we do. I know I firstly posted to have a chance to see my digital pictures. It wasn’t so much of a problem with film which requires developing to be able to see them, though scanning does so too.
    It quickly became, with that “sharing and connecting with people kinda quality and ability of social networking”a way to break from the isolation I was experiencing, but looking back at my first years in photography, after reading Ilparm’s reaction, I have to re-acknowledge the fact that I wasn’t even showing my pictures so much at the time. It is only recently (3 years ago precisely), since digital and social networking GOT INVITED INTO my life that I found myself playing the game I wouldn’t have played otherwise.
    At first I thought it would be a way to find interesting people and to interest people with whom visually speaking, first, connections could be made. It did help spotting one or two who had deeper perspective than just spending time to flatter and be flattered, but quickly enough you’d realize that it is more that reciprocity game that matters for connections to be sustained rather than the sustained photographic approach or philosophy and its inherent or associated visual quality.
    There are a lot of people there looking to be flicker/500px famous, or a famous flicker/500px photographer which shows how narcissistic we can become, or how badly looked at we need to be to feel satisfied about who we are. We consume ourselves by marketing ourselves through the social network and that only benefit the social network providers really, cause time spent out there to comment on a hundred of photos or even more for people to get maybe half that amount back is time you don’t have to better your photography if not only take meaningful-at-large photographs, for those whose photography is not only an extension of induced consumption behavior, or a mean to connect socially as pointed out by Ilparm.

    Thank You for your time, Eric.
    Cheers.

  • Ratul Maiti

    A great article. Very nicely written. Honestly, when I first started posting in Flickr, I used to do many of the things you mentioned above. But looking at some of the photos that make it to Explore , I knew this whole thing is a spam. Though, I cannot deny, the idea of being liked is an addiction… But, I am more moving into the blogs and tutorials that get posted on G+ . I like the idea of mentorship, but I guess it is hard to find with most photographers also busy with the social media, workshops or offer mentorship at a price. That sort of takes the whole fun away.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.lewis.359778 Kevin Lewis

    The only like or favourite you should want is your own. If you like an image or it is one of your favourite images then great. If other people like it or favourite it then great, if they don’t, ask yourself why you take photographs? For yourself or for others?

  • d_horton

    yes, really good article, eric. what i really appreciate is the level of honesty and transparency that you share. social media in this respect can elicit very complicated emotional responses. i believe it’s a very common “condition”. you’ve made yourself a bit more visible than most and that must increase the anxiety considerably. i also suspect that many of the people that follow you not just the general public but decent, serious photographers.

    Your final points, 2 and 3, really resonate with me. getting involved in private groups and soliciting response from folks I admire seems to be the solution. i love and appreciate the interactive nature of flickr but realized after a while that I only really care about the criticism or response from people whose work i truly admire. when i get positive feedback or favs from them, it really means something.

  • Carlo Martins

    Hi Eric, speaking from Portugal. Enjoyed your post, very true. I guess we can all ask the question. Why do we photography? If not for some kind of recognition. Or from the general public (if we think we are good enough), or from our friends and family. I had the same “problem”. Always looking for feedback to keep me going on. I guess photography is like a drug, always hanged over from it. I was never a person to comment on others and expect feedback in return, hence, never had all those thousands of comments and favs, but seriously, at least once a day. Checking all the meters of “recognition”, Being facebook, flikr, whatever. Even writing these articles is a way of recognition. I also have a blog, and also include photos between text. And will continue doing. However, I would say that when I started having out there work that really completed me, really fulfilled me, when I felt that I had reached a comfortable stage I kind of relaxed and stopped checking “the meters of recognition” so often. Photography is a process and a long one and it’s dam hard! But when you reach a platform that’s worth your while where you get serious recognition then it has been worth it. All my effort, all my investment in time and money, has been “payed of” for say. Basically now I only post professional work so that i can reach future customers. Gone pro — if that really exists in the art world. And really don’t care about what people think, like or don’t like because I have proven my point. Also I find that opinions are more of a pull down than a pull up. Now I shoot editorial and I shoot personal work and find it amazing that now personal work is just that, personal. If I feel like sharing, I do. If not, I don’t. It’s that simple. It’s all a process to reach the top platform and I find that we all pass through the same stages.

  • Gumanow

    27 favs is good.

  • Mike

    The quest for favorites/likes/comments by so many is ridiculous. It is common to see people striving only for those things, while their photography generally stinks. That is too bad. If they spent less time worrying about the favorites/likes/thumbs-up they’re receiving and “great/awesome/cool/wonderful shot” type comments they might actually improve their photography.

    I would much rather have 5 comments that dig into my photo and point out something good or bad about it, over 100 “great shot’s”. Photography is a journey, which should never end. It certainly shouldn’t end just because a person has managed to get hundreds of pretty much useless comments and favorites on photos that could be improved!

    Everyone likes to be popular on these sites, and receive the comments, etc. Realizing that many of the comments are hollow and empty is important and best learned right away.

  • Diego Gallegos

    This is a top article!

    I felt like I connected on a lot of the points that you brought out. I myself started taking photography when I was 13 and stopped because I never thought I’d be good enough. I took a lot of photos but always kept them to myself. Around the beginning of this year I started posting photos (I am now 18) and began getting good feedback from people on Flickr, Instagram etc. But found myself with the same problem that you discuss. The constant need for more. More likes. More favorites. More comments.

    It is never ending and I think that I will take your advice with not posting anything for a year (or for as long as I can)

    I want to find myself as a photographer, why do I photograph.

    I want to start a project around Street Photography and the interesting colours and the randomness of a busy city. The way that everything goes together as if they were all part of some distant family where they knew nothing of each other, yet their faces all look alike.

    I want to find a mentor as you mention, and possibly have someone with more experience than myself give me solid constructive criticism.

    Thanks for the great article!

    Ps. lol at clown vomit HDR. I can’t stand it either.

  • Diego Gallegos

    OH! and the part on most people not knowing what a good photo is so true! I received positive feedback from a photographer that I admirer on 2 of my photos and that meant more to me than all of my favorites and comments put together.

  • Sara W.

    Hi Eric, I found this very insightful article whilst I was searching for “favorites Flickr” because I wanted to read what other people thought about the psychology behind it all. I see other photographers I admire on Flickr who have become very popular and literally “churn out” one photo after another and consequently seem to have become jaded. Their work no longer have their spark which attracted me to them in the first place. They post photos because they know that even if they post any old photo they will get lots of faves and comments (and they’re usually the same bunch of people faving and commenting). I find it very cliquey and I can understand why, if you reach a certain level of popularity, it can no longer seem challenging.

    I think Charlie Kirk’s advice to you was brilliant. I’m glad you took it up (albeit not for the whole period) and reading about it gives me encouragement, as lately I’ve been feeling pressure to post more photos since some of my photos have been garnering a lot of attention. I keep telling myself I have to keep the momentum going…but having read your post I feel much more relaxed about it and feel that the most important thing is to stay true to yourself, your style and your vision.

    Thanks for the article, it was long but strangely, it didn’t feel like it at all and it was a pleasure to read.

    p.s. Yeah I abhor all those HDRs and watermarked photos – never understood the point of all that watermarking, it instantly cheapens and crappifies the photo by several degrees, and I mean if someone wanted to use your photo they could so easily remove it with Photoshop.

  • Liz Ackerman

    Can I just say I don’t approve of people taking pictures of people who are clearly saying “NO!”

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  • Emily

    Love this post & the photos in it. I wish I could put food on my table & pay my bills & not share photos for even 6 months, because this sounds like a wonderful experiment. A social media rat race cleanse. But marketing my photos (even scaling it back significantly & sharing much less) seems too vital for my business. But damn. The idea is a true fantasy. Thank you for sharing- and, by the way, great work. :)

  • rojo chispas

    My solution to ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ is simple and effective. Not a member of Facebook, Twitter, or anything where people vote for popularity. I like being common without the need to be like someone else or putting people in yes no boxes.

  • http://www.aquashieldroofingcorp.com Temika Oslan

    This was helpful for me and it really gave me allot to think about. Thanks for this!

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  • Arun Ravi

    I think this was a result of Digital era + Flickr + affordable DSLRs. And everybody falls prey to this!

    Currently, I’m on a 2 year hold on my photography, and still reflecting on my ‘why’s. Hope to come out soon..

    – Arun

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  • Brenda

    I understand the emotional motivating force of recognition via social networking in ancient writings, e.g., attachment to desire, impermanence, the qualities of suffering…how the acquisition of that we desire is like drinking salt water…that is, how we ease our thirst/desire may only serve to intensify…for me, the important question is my creative endeavor awakened from an internal voice to speak or is it a desire to be heard, accepted, validated from others? The first is a voice of the soul, spirit, unconscious. The second is the doorway to suffering.

  • Tommy Bass

    I’ve been reading through your blog here for a few weeks, since I bought a Leica M5 and decided to pursue “street” photography on 35mm film, but only now getting the urge to post because of this great blog entry you made here on a very legitimate issue. Really good and honest writing here Eric.

    I just got sick and bored of shooting digital over the past 7 years and indulging in the Flickr “popularity show” merry-go-round. Like you, I lived and died by the amount of faves and comments, and with my wife’s enlightenment, felt that this was becoming a somewhat unhealthy obsession. I mean, what does all this photography mean anyway? In economics, If there’s an over-abundance of something, that something starts to lose value very quickly. That’s what Flickr has done to photography.

    On top of that, I’d catch myself becoming a little angry that boring and over-processed shots were getting 100’s of comments while I had to put my images in 20 awards groups just to reach 75 comments, sometimes more, sometimes less. This Flickr charade, however, did force me to produce better shots, but I was shooting solely with the thought in mind, “will this get me 200 comments on Flickr, or not?”

    As most of you know, over the past several months, Flickr has redesigned the entire layout of the website and it’s absolutely horrible, slow, and much, much less user friendly than it ever was before. It takes longer to do anything on Flickr and they’ve killed the fun of it all with the most muddied looking layout I’ve ever seen. However, due to this self-inflicted damage on Flickr’s part, it only opened my eyes further to the vanity of the whole thing.

    I’d be lying if I said it would be easy to not post anything to Flickr for a whole year, but with the purchase of my Leica M5 and going back to film more often (still have my Leica D-LUX5 for digital shooting), I’m going to pursue my own photography project and post less to the Flickr rat-race.

    Thanks,
    Tommy Bass

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  • Dan

    Great post, Eric.

    On the social media landscape, “success” is usually defined by the numbers; but the numbers certainly cannot necessarily be the yardstick for quality, or a guide to one’s voice.

    When I started Streets in Colo(u)r in 2007, I thought it would be cool to have a membership of over 10k. Pretty soon, I came to the conclusion that quantity does not necessarily translate to quality.

    I agree with your post. Most of us, at any given time, have gone through the need for the virtual pats on the back. But eventually, it is trumped by our craving to find our voice.

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  • Rom Ayala Ladera

    Thanks Eric.This helps a lot.

  • ThePeopleofDetroit

    Great post, Eric.

  • Juno Doran

    I read the whole article and thought it made a lot of sense. But then at the end I saw a Facebook like button and above this comment box a favourite button, so now I’m a little confused :) One thing about your article I totally agree with: the majority has no taste. Peer feedback from people whose work you respect is definitely the only like worth having. But ultimately it’s about ourselves, alone, and how we feel about what we do… but can we ever be truly ‘alone’ again? Doesn’t seem possible.

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  • Richard

    I couldn’t agree more with “The majority of the people on the internet don’t know what a good photograph is” and it frustrates me.

    I’ve been fortunate enough to attend many pro critique sessions of photos at my local camera club so I’m reasonably confident I know what a good composition (including lighting, framing, sharpness etc etc) is.

    As a result the number of ‘faves’ and comments such as ‘wonderful composition’ and ‘amazing capture’ for what I’d personally describe as a poorly composed, poorly lit ‘snap’ really gets on my nerves at times. I honestly don’t know what they’re looking at, I know it shouldn’t bother me but when I upload a shot that took me a long time to compose and wait for just the right light (sometimes of the same subject) and it gets virtually no ‘faves’ I start banging my head against the wall.

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