I am a frustrated creator, to use the social media/YouTube lexicon. I go through waves of intense desire to create either photographs or videos. Those waves usually dissipate quickly, mostly because I don’t know what to do the images and videos. That sounds odd, so let me explain.
Making a video is a non-trivial task. You need to put thought into what you’re doing, constantly making sure you’re getting sufficient footage, film from multiple angles, etc… When done, you have many hours of editing, finding music, learning software tools, and rendering time. I’m a beginner, so my results are a bit amateurish, but I’m learning and they’re getting better. Those video’s obviously get posted to YouTube.
Photographs come from a Fuji X100F camera or my phone. The phone images are edited on the phone using VSCO or Snapseed and posted to Instagram. Photos from the “real” camera are edited with Adobe Lightroom… and sit on my hard drive for the most part. I have an old WordPress “photo” site with a few images, but I haven’t updated it in years.
So, what’s the issue? With videos it boils down to – is it worth the time and effort? To actually make any money on YouTube, even just a few hundred dollars a month, is nearly a full-time job. You have to be very consistent with uploads every week and put real effort into making interesting content. You need to identify a niche and focus on it. You need to promote your content. I like making videos, but I’m not sure I’m interested enough to go to that level. Therefore, I’m making occasional random videos for friends and family. Which is fine, but it’s a lot of effort. Do I want to continue?
Photographs are a similar, but slightly different issue. This will sound silly, but what do I do with my pictures? I suppose I can just keep posting them to Instagram for the approximately twenty friends and family who follow. I thought about creating a second, photography-specific Instagram account for the camera images but that would mean actively trying to attract followers. I’m not a professional, an influencer, or at a point in my life where my ego needs the boost, so that doesn’t really fit my personality. I suppose I could make prints from time to time to hang up around the house. I honestly just don’t know what I want to do with the images. The end result is that I rarely take pictures lately.
A day ago, I decided to try and create a gallery/slideshow that would display on the Smart TV in the living room. At least people coming to the house could get a glimpse into my pictures, right? Forty minutes later of trying to create accounts, logging in, and struggling with settings, I still couldn’t get the damn thing to sync with my images. That was the end of my attention span for that project.
Next, I turned to GoPro. They’ve updated their mobile app, called Quik. I’ve played with it a little bit and it seems interesting. Their premise is that the app will solve what they call the “black hole” of photos and videos that just sit on your phone. They have a tool called the Mural that you use to place daily content from your phone, and it helps you organize and create interesting slideshows and videos. I think it would work but will require a change in workflow along with how and where I save images. Again, do I really want to put the effort in to make this happen?
I realize that these are amazing first-world problems to have. I’m enough of a student of the mediums to know that the answer is that you’re creating for yourself. Unless your goal is to make a living with art, it makes no difference if anyone sees what you’ve created. You’re doing it for you. That holds true for photography, writing, or YouTube. I know this.
But as the old saying goes, if a tree falls in the forest – does it make a sound? Well, we’ll never know if someone isn’t there to listen. I’m not ready to abandon all creativity yet. I don’t know what the answer is for photography. If anyone has ideas on what to do with images, I’d love to hear it. YouTube is a bit trickier. I think the answer is to find a style that fits what I do. I need to find a way to document the things that I do that isn’t so labor intensive. If it’s easy enough, I’ll do it. I’ll push my stuff out there so friends and family can keep up with my activities and adventures. And if random strangers also want to see it, so be it.
We live in an amazing time. No more photo books with polaroid prints. No more grainy VHS tapes of family vacations. An unlimited number of ways to share images and art… it’s overwhelming.
Sigh. The life of a creator is hard.