Dan Ginn over at The Phoblographer is rightly concerned that the way social media is structured might be making us too sensitive to criticism of our creative work. It's a valid point, and I applaud his resolve to counter this trend in his own interactions. I'm aware, however, that doing so requires a far greater investment of time than just clicking a 'like' button on someone's social media post.
Going forward I’m going to give detailed feedback for the work that is shared in my online circles. I want to move away from this basic approach of patting photographers on the back.
I have tried this approach myself (although I admit the feedback I've provided could hardly be described as 'detailed'). And although in my case (particularly on my Instagram page) I found it did indeed elevate the quality of my interactions with people, it also took up a lot of time.
These are the finished pics of November's Winchester Skeptics event: Can you be brainwashed in 60 minutes? (Click on the image to see the full set.)
By serendipitous coincidence I saw a Facebook post about this Guardian article while listening to the latest episode of Valérie Jardin's podcast Hit the Streets. In the article Anita Chaudhuri relates what it was like to be mentored in street photography in Paris, and subsequently one-on-one online.
It’s a Sunday morning and I’m on Rue Mouffetard, a bustling market street in Paris, skulking behind a pyramid of nectarines. My sights are set on a fluffy black poodle nuzzling the ankles of its owner, a stripey-trousered woman of a certain age. Raising my camera to my eye, I risk a few furtive shots but, irritatingly, the poodle keeps scampering out of the frame. Its mistress is engaged in animated banter with a guy tending a rack of roast chickens. Promising. But, spying the camera, he throws his hands in front of his face.
There are many photography groups and pages on Facebook, but members of the Hit the Streets With Valérie Jardin Facebook group consistently post some of the most interesting examples of street photography and the group is well worth following.
"#pictacule_themes" was an Instagram experiment of mine from January 2017, in which I endeavoured to post photographs complying with various themes, as a kind of ongoing challenge. It more or less fizzled out in May 2017, due to my running out of actual themes to use. To revive this challenge at the beginning of a new year I've come up with some rather more solid requirements, which I hope will lessen the likelihood of the whole thing ending prematurely. First, I have a list of 36 themes to cover the whole of 2019, on the basis of three themes per month (see below).
Second, I'm making it a rule that all photographs must be shot during the current month, with at least three posted per week. Each of the three themes per month must yield at least three photographs.
Third, in the interests of self-motivation I'm making the requirements public (that's what this blogpost is for). Of course making the requirements public means anyone else can join in if they wish, and if they do so using the hashtags listed below it will be a simple matter to follow all participation.
The themes fall into several categories, such as particular subjects, particular styles of photography, or particular techniques or approaches to making photographs. In general I've tried to mix these up for each month, to give me (and any other participants) greater scope in the photographs produced in any one month. It's highly possible that some photographs will fit more than one of the three themes for any one month, but I'm making it a rule that any such multi-theme photographs should be in addition to the minimum three photographs per week.
In addition to the individual theme hashtags listed above, posts will also be identified with the #pictacule_themes hashtag, to allow all posts to be easily found. A fairly broad interpretation of each theme is likely, even desirable — after all, this whole exercise is intended as a series of inspiration triggers.
On completion at the end of December 2019, depending on the results, I'd like to make something more permanent than a series of Instagram posts. A photo-book seems most appropriate right now, which would likely contain upwards of 150 photographs.
Here are some example images from 2017:
(A brief recap for anyone who wants to participate: each week post at least three photographs on your Instagram feed, with each photograph complying in some way with one of the three themes for the current month as listed above. Each post should contain the hashtag for the theme, plus the hashtag #pictacule_themes. In any one month post at least three photographs for each theme. That's it.)
Pics from the most recent talk at Pompey Skeptics:
Catching up with photo processing - here are the pics from September's talk at Winchester Skeptics. (I missed October's talk, so no pics of Diana Fleischman.)
Continuing the Manchester theme, after posting my pics of last year's QEDcon I discovered a load of unprocessed images from the very first QED in 2011. I have now processed and posted these, and so my pics of QED are now completely up to date. Until next weekend.
While sorting out my QED 2017 pics (see previous post) I remembered I still had some shots from 2013 in Manchester when I spent a morning exploring the canal basin. So here they are:
(The first few shots were taken in Piccadilly Gardens before I headed canalwards.)
With less than two weeks to go until QED 2018 I have finally edited and uploaded my photos from last year's QED: