Among many things I dabble in, writing, knitting, crocheting and more, I’m also a photographer.
I had an interesting conversation with a guy at my job during a casual gathering a few weeks ago about what exactly constitutes dabbling (he loves the word dabble), enthusiast, “Geek”, fan and hobbyist. The discussion of what actually defines a photographer is one that never stops, especially with everyone and their mother out there with a cellphone and access to countless photo apps and filters to apply to each image. There was someone in my FB network who years ago would totally rip into people who shared photos they took with their cellphones and considered it photography or “art.” This person was classically trained in darkroom photography, developed their prints by hand and took great offense to what she felt was the lack of craft that went into most forms of digital photography.
I’ve seen some pretty bad photos that were shot manually and printed in a dark room as well. For me, it’s not the device. It’s the intention.
Which brings me to VSCO.com. Unlike flickr, instagram, dubble, or most any social network image apps, VSCO is about creating and viewing images only. You can follow people, but they will receive no notifications about who is following them and if you have an account there to display your images, you will never receive notifications on who is following you. And you can actively like all you want. But there is no like button, no comment button, nothing. You just post, look, get inspired and repeat. At least that’s what I do. Of course one of the other main points is for VSCO to promote their amazing film preset filters by providing this format to it’s many users. So this is very filmy, photo, geeky business going on here. It pretty much eliminates those who are just looking to rack up “likes” and “followers” for whatever reasons.
Last night I spent a lot of time on Adam Scott’s grid. I don’t know Adam Scott from Adam. I just found his images at random on the VSCO. I love his photos, particularly of kids and babies. I like when there is an emerging theme in people’s work. I’m not sure I have one in mine but I try not focus too much on creating one. I just use my grid to put up what I feel are my best shots.
This Tuesday I met a friend of mine for for lunch who also loves photography. He lent me his fixed prime lens for my Nikon. Someone needs to get me this lens for Christmas because it just makes me see everything differently. Like all of a sudden I can actually capture the beauty I see in everyday things and people and bring them to life. VSCO film preset filters are great for this as well. They really make me remember how much I love the look of film and how the very subtle nuances of those old films really shape my feelings and memories, and perpetually trigger my love for the art of photography.
I admit that as a person who is susceptible to wanting my images liked by faceless strangers on the internet, I often feel like VSCO cuts me off from what might be some critical feedback from some incredibly talented peers. But a community does exist there and their contact information is available. The VSCO grid is very clean and simple and shows only the work without any recorded data of likes or comments or follows. Those things make a huge difference in what people are drawn to looking at these days. The only curated or featured photography spaces on VSCO are those which the team chooses to highlight in it’s journal. Other than that, you’re free to shoot, post and view whatever you like, as long you’re okay with not having a trail of likes or followers behind you.
I’m fine with that.
I have two IG accounts. LOL!!