Mel Collie


Do "Likes" Make You Worthy

I'm wondering if you feel that your photo isn't worthy because not many people liked it as much as another photo on social media.

How often does that happen?
What do you do? Did you delete it? Feel that theres must be something wrong with it, then change your style? Stay small? Think you aren't good enough?

What does that do for your creativity?

This bothers me, because I've been there. Sometimes I still go there, I'm only human, but I now know that its me who can change how I react and what it means, or how meaningless it all can be.

Flickr is a prime example of how NOT to take it personally.

It has a system.

To get into Explore you have to fit their system, their algorithm, post at a certain time of day, don't have it in too many groups, don't have too many tags, how many days since you were last in explore, if you are an active member with comments ....which, even if there was only one box to tick to fit the system, you would be going against being you, having your own style, being creative and learning by making errors, changing, growing, understanding, playing.

So regardless of the quality of the image, you may not get into the list of the days most popular images. How does that make you feel? Did you think that your amazing image was rubbish? That you were useless?

I post images on Flickr, but only because I am ready to share them, finished editing, ready to upload them, not because I'm looking for comments, likes and to be in explore.

Instagram is similar, I find that I get to see a few of the people I follow, yet when I log out and log back in again I see many different images that were posted hours ago I hadn't seen before. Now just because I haven't double tapped a photo doesn't mean I don't like it. I may not have seen it. I don't check other peoples photos every second of the day, I'm busy doing my own thing, and so should everyone else be!

Create a life outside of social media and be less reliant on the likes as you stare hopelessly at the screen willing them to appear.
Your style will follow with practice, with slowing down, when you stop copying other peoples styles and just discover your own.

Human beings change, we aren't the same creatures that we were last year or 5 years ago. We change with experiences, with age, our metabolism is always changing, we may have the same values, but tastes will change, styles, love for colour, wanting to travel or not...our photography style changes. I admire a photographer who spent 8 years photographing a beach who now produces beautiful luminographs.

His vision changed over the years. He listened. He moved. I'm pretty sure , but cant say for certain without asking him, that when he started photographing that beach that those stunning luminographs weren't present in his mind, he had no idea, but they evolved as he unfolded his vision. If he had no likes or shares for the first few months of his luminographs do you think he would have stopped? if he had, we would not be blessed with seeing his beautiful creations.

Listen to where your rhythm takes you. Don't be ashamed or apologise. Changing style happens, embrace it, notice it, listen to it.

Can we be less concerned about the judgement that social media brings? We are all aware of the trolls and the comments they leave. Keyboard warriors with a boring and frustrating lifestyle who love bashing other peoples work they have dared to bare. In a way, when we share our images, ask yourself if you are sharing because you want the attention. If you do, then you are sharing for the wrong reasons, and thats where the issues begin.

Next time you are on Flickr, for example (other social media platforms are available) and you check out the popular images, and wonder how they managed to get those likes, know that you aren't missing out. You are being true to yourself. You aren't going to take an image of a popular location because you want more likes, more attention,  but because you absolutely love that place, it feels special to you, your love will shine through your image that you create.

Slow down. Ask yourself if its an image you feel like taking or if its one you feel you should be taking.

Your shot isn't worthless if no one likes it.

If you are happy with it, thats all that matters. Be true to you. Be honest to yourself.

Many of us are biased liars, which sounds awful, because we are taught that lying is bad, yet we do it to ourselves all the time.

Being honest to yourself can be a hard, but brings many rewards.

Accept the fact that you are a biased liar and move on. Peoples don't like their real selves to be exposed so they cover themselves in untruths on a daily basis until they no longer know who the real self actually is.

If you don't know who you are, how can you know if the images you take are yours and not copied from others or taken to please others? How can you be true to yourself if you don't know who you are being true to? Are you taking images of the landscapes because thats what you believe you should be doing? Would you rather take macro images of flowers and bugs, or abstracts of the geology or images of clouds?

The truth just is. It can be abrupt. We don't like that, so we avoid it. It can be ugly, because we aren't used to it, we prefer the cloak of lies.. but the truth can open the door to personal development so you can look more deeply into yourself.

Look within for permission, not externally.

Then you will find what you are looking for.

Mel Collie

Melanie Collie1 Comment