Too much social media. Too many people. Too many photos.

About finding a place for photography on the Internet.
I don’t have this point solved and this kind of doesn’t make me happy. Unsolved issue is never good.
I am continually posting on daily basis to following sites:

Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress and on a Instagram.
Also need to mention my static web page on Jimdo.

It’s about a disability to select only one platform.

Historically, for me it all started with Flickr, so that’s why I have bonds to this platform. I have some people over there and connections I made there during the years. It was always a place number one for my photos. And it still a place where all my public photos start it’s digital journey.

Later on I started adding photos to Tumblr blogging platform. I have not many personal bonds to it. It is least social place compared to other mentions sites, but it was always easy to place to share and expose photos to the eyes of other people.

Banska Stavnica, Slovakia, July 2016

And than I established a Facebook account. I had doubts about convenience of this platform for photo-sharing. And I still have these doubts.  The reason I decided to share on Facebook was to show my photos to more people. I can live without sharing photos there, but there is this thought…. “there are people who follow you, so you should not leave”…. /note, I still have a second Facebook account with real name and with people I know in person/.

I think Twitter is probably least convenient place for photo sharing, but I somehow was curious and so I happened to tweet my photos. Well, anyway, it is similar to Facebook, sharing photos is possible but not the best way to showcase. If I am gonna cut down the number of webs where I am active, Twitter will be one to start with.

Along the way some people told me to try Instagram. I was very critical to this platform, but I gave it a try. After all this platform makes sense to me, because I show only photos made on my phone. Otherwise I would keep those phone photos only for myself. I still don’t take Instagram very seriously and I treat it this way…just for fun.

So, it is about my inability to choose only one platform to be. Some people who’s work I like are only on one platform and they dislike other platforms. It is like “John loves Flickr and Tumblr, but hates Facebook and Twitter. Suzan loves Twitter and hates everything else. Pavel like Suzan’s and John’s work. John likes Pavel’s work. And so on…”.

Kremnica, Slovakia, August 2016

At this point I was trying to find a solution. So I established a blog on WordPress. Personal blog is great. It is a web page, that I can place my photos and eventually add my thoughts. It is customizable, so I can make it look anyway I want (unlike other platforms – well Tumblr design is customizable, too). But, there is problem. If I didn’t tell anybody that I have a blog, there would be nobody who looks at my stuff. So, I have to do a little marketing and drop links to other social sites to attract the attention.

None of the sites named here are perfect. Every has it’s own positives and negatives.

Life on the internet had become complicated for me.

On one side it is good to see what other people are photographing and get some fresh inspirations from them. On the other hand, it could easily happen, that too much inspiration may lead into dissolving your own personal viewpoint.

There are already too many photos out there. We all know it. The number of shared photos is still growing… Here is a prediction  from Deloitte:

Deloitte Global predicts that in 2016, 2.5 trillion photos will be shared or stored online, a 15 percent increase on the prior year. About three-quarters of this total will likely be shared, and the remainder backed up online.
We estimate that over 90 percent of these photos will have been taken over a smartphone; digital SLRs, compact cameras, tablets and laptops will collectively contribute the remainder. This estimate does not include the trillions of photos that remain on devices’ memory.

Not sure if this prediction is counting with fact, that my photos are shared on 5 different platforms as a copy.

It is crazy. Don’t you think?

It’s been some time since…

It’s been some time since my last real blog post with written text. Last two weeks I have been only posting photos. They were uploaded to Flickr and than pushed via  IFTT web tool to my other accounts – WP, FB, Twitter and Tumblr.

And I don’t think it is the best way to do. It is a bad way to do … So I turned this IFTT robot off. All right.

Coffee break, sorry….

Ok, back here. What I wanted to say? So, I re-directed the publishing concept. I missed this writing. It was first ok, but than I realized I am missing something but didn’t know what it was. So, this is it. Want to continue sharing my thoughts, if I have something to say.

So this is one thing.

Hodonovice, June 2016

Second thing is my BOOK. It is complicated. First I was thinking about making a book for about 4 months, but it didn’t take me anywhere. Than I completed a selection of photos. Than I deleted everything and started all over. I asked for help, but I got lost along the way. So I deleted everything again. Than I stood up again and completed the book, really into detail. Than I asked for opinion about the book again. But for a second opinion of a second person. I really wanted to finish it and it was all ready to print. But after the discussion I came to understanding that my stuff I am doing is nonsense. So I had deleted whole project that I put a lots of effort into. Again.

Than I was angry on myself, because I thought my street photography is all bullshit. I lost the meaning of what I was doing. Why am I my doing this secret/candid street stuff. Actually, I am hater of labeling things, and when I realized I am doing street, I hated that. Because I realized I am doing street photos to make street photos. To achieve that look. That aesthetics. I realized that my stuff is 80 % or 90 % stylization. So I was angry on myself.

And than I was thinking and having doubts regarding my post processing. Not the dilemma between color and bw. I love bw and I will always love bw. And color is color, I see my car and it is in color so it is OK, too. Ha ha. But… it is about using presets, that use certain amount of this and that, grain, contrast, I use them because it is easier and faster compared to doing it manually. And also because I would not achieve it myself without them. But perhaps the way I use these presets is not good. Many times I use them to empower the photo. So the photo is boring and with this cool preset it is suddenly interesting. And I hate that artificial add on of meaning/mood.

And I had some doubts about final look of my photos.You know… why am I making my photos to look like it was a grainy old film? Why? I like that look very much. This is OK. But, I am twisting the reality after, I sit at my computer and I do stuff to my photos. They look great (to my eyes). But is that ok? It is above mentioned stylization. Stylizating into those that I admire. So I was all angry about myself…when you realize you are doing something because others are doing it.

Also I had an issue with photographing strangers. I asked myself, why do I do it? If I am not brave enough to look in the eyes of the strangers, should I make the photos secretly? It is too easy to make a photo of a stranger as I learned the technique how to do it. And since I learned it, I lost that drive on, because I already know.

What makes sense would be documenting life in broader meaning, not just limited to streets as my mind was caged into this label….maybe. But again, I was here in my thoughts already, so I am going in circles…

So I made a power point presentation of my “book project” that I turned into a video slideshow…. just to finish this chapter for myself. To finish that street book project. But, in my mind I wasn’t able to finish just like that. I really wanted to have that book in my hands, because I love the photos I made. It was last Sunday and I had a discount coupon on Blurb that was about to expire. So, I sat at my computer for a couple of hours and completed the whole book. And ordered. It is light, it has 33 photos, it has a new cover,  only photos from the street and no other shit. Just street. Not much words. Just one introductory sentence. Best paper (I hope the more expensive means the best, ha ha) they had on stock. Now waiting for delivery. And I thought I am all done with street shooting. Because I made that book and that was supposed to be a milestone. Just saying what I was thinking…

So, with this stuff in my head…milestones, stylization…I looked at my bulky photo archive in my PC and I skipped everything that smelled like “street”. I know, silly. So, this way, I finished processing my 60 or 70 folders packed with photos in one hour, because almost everything was photos of people on the streets. Just boring snaps.

Also, I didn’t feel like processing/looking at my new September photos from my camera memory card, so I looked in my May folder and thought I might process non-street photos from Poland. It was about traveling around Katowice and cities around and photographing old coal mines, brownfields, decay and stuff like that. Just wanted to see anything but street.

So this is little explanation about crazy thing going on my my blog.

Short post with heavy thoughts

Writing had become a habit for me. It helps me to move forward.

I found out that I tend to make my photos look artistic. Or stylish. That’s bad. It is only putting a stylish jacket on.

There is nothing wrong about wearing a stylish jacket. Stylish jacket can help me look better. But it could also hide something.

It hides myself.

Short post with heavy thoughts….

street photography
Kojetin, June 2016

street photography
Frydek-Mistek, June 2016

P.

Check my tomatoes

I don’t have my own style.
Really.
I only stylize my photos.

Dictionary:
stylize
verb (used with object), stylized, stylizing.
to design in or cause to conform to a particular style, as of representation or treatment in art; conventionalize.

I stylize my photos so they look in a certain style.
I make them black and white. With heavy contrast and lots of grain. I do it because I like to see my photos this way. I like this style.

I see this stylization in two steps:

in shooting
in post processing
Hard to accept it.

Let me show you some stylized photos I like a lot:

street photography
Ostrava, July 2016

It looks kind of artistic. It should evoke emotions – dark person stepping into the light…mood. Rather dark and disturbing.

street photography
Ostrava, July 2016

And this photo…isn’t it just cheap use of reflections and high contrast? Just to create aesthetically interesting photo?

I am afraid so.

Need to say again. I love the look of these photos.

Does these two photos hold more value compared to a photo of my tomatoes?

P.

I love to document

These are thoughts I had after the discussios we had on Flickr. The topic was where photography is and where it is aiming. I thought I will reply on my blog. I think there are many ways how to look at photography.

After all I think author or photographer must stay truthful to self.

I don´t know if the quality in general went down. I see it from the opposite side.
More people are photographing, more good stuff.

I was trying to analyze what I do. My photos. For example these three photos in today’s post. I made them and I like them.

I like black and white. I like aesthetics of street photography. So that’s why I do that.

street photography
Frydlant nad Ostravici,, June 2016 

Frydlant nad Ostravici, Czech Republic, 6/2016

The photo above. Some man, somewhere, walking. Dramatic look due to post process. Film feel. Strange expression of the man. I snapped it from the hip. I like the look and feel of the photo.

street photography
Frydlant nad Ostravici, June 2016 

Frydlant nad Ostravici, Czech Republic, 6/2016

Here, a boy, eye on the cap. Cheap juxtaposition? Photographers shadow vs eye. I was trying to be witty. But I like the look and feel.

street photography
Frydlant nad Ostravici, June 2016 

Frydlant nad Ostravici, Czech Republic, 6/2016

Last photo. Woman, a seller from the store, fixing something. Dramatic post process in BW. Because I like it. It adds the soul to the photo.

I love to document.

P.

My eyes are open, but they don’t see

Ok. There is this question. About street.
It is not a question. It is a fact.
I think street photography is a fashion. A trendy thing.
It become cool and it become mainstream.
It has it’s aesthetics, it has a smell, pace, life and so on.
Nothing wrong about it. Nothing wrong about mainstream.
The problem I see is making a photo to make a photo.
Sounds weird.
I will try to explain better.

street photography
Ostrava, Svinov, June 2016 

To make street photo. So people see this cool and awesome street shots other people are doing. It is my personal experience. So they see and think. Hm, I like that, I want to do street too. So they (me and others) march in the streets, they practice, they get better, they make cool photos that fulfill aesthetics of street photography. Their photos looks awesome. Just awesome. They are proud of themselves.

street photography
Ostrava, June 2016

But they just want to fulfill a certain aesthetics. Achieve certain look, certain feel and mood. They want to join the crowed of cool street photographers.

But….. will I care about a snap from the street of a stranger in the future? Will my today’s good looking photo hold a value in the future?

street photography
Frydek-Mistek, June 2016

I think it is a trap of stereotype thinking, seeing and doing.
My eyes are open, but they don’t see.
They only look if my mind lets them look.

P.

Through the peephole

You must think, that I just arrived on planet Earth from the outer space. Or, after reading this episode you will.
It’s been three years since I stopped using viewfinder. Totally. It was July 2013 when I started to frame photos using LCD screen only.
I had benefited from that and composition of my photos got better immediately…
But…
I am again trying, shifting , challenging myself, pushing myself out of stereotype  thinking, re-evaluating….
Soooo, on yesterday’s session with me and my camera Olympus OM-D E-M10 I turned LCD screen off.
First impression (note, I used viewfinders for 10 years before). Confussion. I had to put my eye towards the little glass tunnel. My nose touching the screen. Looking like through the little submarine periscope. Through the peephole. How new to me. How unusual feel. Three years, really, I had been shooting daily only on LCD….!

street photography
Ostrava, June 2016

Second impression. I felt connected with the world behind the lens by that little tunnel. It is a strange feeling and I don’t know how to describe it. Compared to LCD it is most significant factor. Most significant difference. On LCD screen I am looking at the world squeezed to a little rectangle. My eyes are 20 centimeters away and I am observing the displayed image (not a photo) on the screen. Good or bad? Different. It leads to shoot different way… it leads me to see and perceive the scene, the world, in a different way. When using viewfinder I  am not able to make a composition as accurate as if I was shooting with LCD. I am part of the seen, my eye connected by the tunnel with the world. No distance from the scene. Being part. Being inside of it. A 3D feel.

street photography
Frydlant nad Ostravici, June 2016
With LCD I am looking on – almost – final photo. I am standing out there, say… in front of the tree, and I see a 2D preview of the tree on the screen.
Sure, when shooting from the hip, it is the third type…you don’t see anything, you guess the distance and hope the person, the subject fits in. Just a side note.
Third impression. I found myself, when using a viewfinder much more shy when approaching to people. Actually, I was shy to put the camera in front of my eyes. When I was close to the person I wasn’t able to bring the camera up. With LCD, and I am not sure why, maybe a psychological thing, I am dare to make photos that I would not with have done with viewfinder. Probably, as I mentioned above, it is because a viewfinder (the tunnel) connects me with the subject. And suddenly, if I look through the tunnel I am looking at real person, that might be looking at me, directly, and I can’t stand it. Too shy . With viewfinder I feel it is more honest…the person and me. And the tunnel. Connection.

street photography
Ostrava, June 2016

With LCD I am more of  a picture taker. Taking pictures of the reality in front of me. Not being part. Pre-visualizing the future photo. Being apart from the photo.
If you guys read it…. Does it make sense to you? What do you think? Do you prefer viewfinder or LCD?
Last note: all the photos shown here ware made using LCD.
No, this is last note (added after publishing this post):  On my Olympus I have Electronic Viewfinder, which is actually a built-in little LCD.

P.