Recently I have been reaching out to others photographers, ones whose work I appreciate, and started creating dialogues with them through email. Likes and comments on posts are nice, but having a proper conversation with an exchange of ideas is better. Most of the comments we get on social media are along the lines of “nice”, “sweet capture”, or just an emoji. That can help with confidence, but for most of us, we yearn for something deeper. After all, that’s what seems to motivate most of us to share our work. Yes, we’d still make photographs even if no one ever saw them, but the choice to share them – that seems to come from something else, a desire to connect.
Most exchanges on social media satiate our desire for connectivity about as well as a prostitute can satiate our desire for love. The interaction mimics the mechanics, and can even make us feel good, but it is fleeting and often without meaning. A prostitute doesn’t really want to be your friend, he or she just wants your money. Most one word commenters don’t really care about your work, they just want you to notice them so you can reciprocate. The emoji comment, just like a haggling John, wants to put in the least amount of effort to get what he or she wants.
I am not saying don’t comment, you should like and comment on work you enjoy. I know sometimes it’s hard. I too have stared at the comment line of a post trying to think of something original to say. However, I want to issue you a challenge. I want you to think of one or more photographers and create a dialogue. Write him/her/them an email and express what you like about their work, reference a photo or article that particularly affected you, and ask them a couple of questions. So far I have found it very rewarding.