Why Nobody Cares About Your Photos & 5 Ways to Change This.

I think it is common to have the feeling that our photography is undervalued, I also firmly believe that this is due to the large amount of photographic content that is on-line and its consequent valuation in number of likes or shares or things of that kind. Therefore, it is normal, especially if you are just starting out, to feel that your photography does not matter to anyone and it is probably true…to some extent.

Since the popularisation of digital cameras, it is common to hear the term “democratisation of photography” and  I, for one, am a firm believer that the more people that have access to tools that allow them to take pictures, the better. However, in the same way that having a pen does not make you a writer, not everyone who has a camera is a photographer. This distinction is important because having a camera and following trends or replicating the image you saw on google will never result in anyone caring about your photography in a meaningful way.

Below you’ll find 5 suggestions that’ll hopefully set you on the right track to make images that others will care about:

1. Don’t blindly trust simple lists like this one.

Things are much more complex and often times, lists like these are simply clickbait that do not give you any real answers. There is no magic formula, just hard work and figuring out what works for you. That said, I do believe that there are some basic lines that you can start to follow to improve as an author.

2. Think of your individuality.

One of the first things that you have probably done has been to create an account on a social network like Instagram, which is fine. In fact, Instagram has one very good quality; it allows you to connect with other photographers around the world or better yet, photographers who are close to you, with whom you can share experiences, go out to take photos, etc. However, the negative side of Instagram is its format that often restricts creativity: We tend to follow trends due to the design of approval by likes and comments, producing photography that is adapted to the tastes of others. That is a death sentence because it means that what you do is not personal. And personal is always going to connect with someone in a more powerful way.

The great Jose Manuel Navia says: the photographer you will become is already in your photos, you just have to search, work to find it. If you focus on trends or only do what others expect, you will never find yourself because you will be looking in the wrong places.

3. Be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.

Professor Brian Cox says: People often believe that the job of a scientist is to be right, it is to know for sure something, but in reality the job of a scientist is to go to the limits of what you know and push beyond them. It is to face what you don’t know and try to understand it, thus being in a constant state of ignorance. This is how things are discovered, otherwise everything would have already been discovered.

I’ve always thought about my photography in a similar way.

You see, one of the qualities of photography that I like the most is that you have to be there to photograph, there is no other way to do it. A writer can write about distant planets or adventures in exotic countries from the comfort of his own home, a painter can paint anything he imagines in his own studio, but a photographer cannot. The photographer has to be intellectually and physically in the specific place to portray it. That is precisely what makes photography so special in my opinion.

It forces you to step out of your comfort zone. Be it overcoming photographing strangers in the street and in turn portraying a vision of the world that only you can portray, or perhaps something more culturally foreign that makes you uncomfortable, but you take the leap, make the journey and find a way. That translates into something personal and as I have already said, the personal is always going to resonate with someone in a powerful way, starting with yourself, which is no small thing.

4. Make a decision and follow the path.

Whether this in more technical aspects such as opting for colour vs. black and white photography, using fixed lenses instead of zoom lenses etc. or in more intellectual aspects such as choosing to work on a project or subject that interests you, make a decision and explore those limits. Focus on it for a while and with patience, dedicate six months or a whole year to it, remember that the more time you have, the deeper you will go into the unknown and the more things you will discover about your photography, your environment and also yourself. It is not easy, I know, but it is one of the best ways to find your own voice, your way of seeing and your individuality as an author.

5. That your photographs don’t matter to anyone, is a lie.

Especially if you follow, among other things, the four previous points. Of course, we have to define what it means to ‘matter’.

For me, having a lot of likes is not important, the important thing is that even if it is just one person, that that person is moved by one of my photos. It’s about that one person taking a trip to a place they otherwise wouldn’t have because of my work, thinking “I too want to experience that culture ”or  inspiring someone else to use their camera to tell stories.

One person is all it takes. This will eventually become 10 and then 100 and perhaps even 1000. But it all starts with that something personal to me that connects with something personal to you.

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@the_raw_society | @jorgedelgadophoto | @christelle_enquist

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