The Need to Be Obvious

Photography and the internet are no longer just kissing cousins: they are married. They are so deeply integrated by this point in history that neither can exist without the other. Thus, to succeed in photography, one must master the internet, and to succeed on the internet, one must master photography.

You might feel like you are creating something deep and permanent with your fine art images, but in the 21st century, you need to be able to knock someone over, not only with your images, but with your web presence as well.
You might feel like you are creating something deep and permanent with your fine art images, but in the 21st century, you need to be able to knock someone over, not only with your images, but with your web presence as well.

I thought about this as I clicked a few photographer’s links on Linkedin.com, the job search web site. I found one in site particular (name withheld) that, to me, is emblematic of a very serious problem photographers have with the internet: they like to play hide-and-seek with their work. This site featured a grey background with a phone number and an email address, and six categories on the left side of the frame. Clicking on each category showed us about five sample images of each type of photography.

Okay, I get it. “My photography is so good, all I need is this taste teaser and they’ll flock to me.” Let me tell this guy and his ilk, as a magazine editor, I’m skipping his site and his work. I’ve got a thousand things to do today, and they don’t include trying to figure out his stupid web site.

It is sometimes said in the newspaper world that we write articles on a sixth grade level. While that might sound a bit insulting to newspapers and a bit patronizing to readers, it is a dark necessity. Television is produced to be accessible at an even lower level.

If you are a photographer and are looking for work or just to get your work noticed, taking the high road will leave you lonely. Editors are busy, and are frequently far less thoughtful than I am. They neither understand nor care about your spare, mysterious, enigmatic use of negative space. They don’t care about your clever double entendres. They need to know what you can do.

Be obvious.

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