Do you want an audience?
Some thoughts on social media and creativity, David Lynch on catching ideas, and a personal milestone I'm excited to share.
“There’s no original ideas; it’s just the ideas that you caught. The thing is to be true to the idea.” — David Lynch
Thanks, everybody, for the great feedback on my post about your Instagram experience. Many of you sent links to articles I should read, and I’m still going through your emails and comments. There’s much to think about here, and I’ll share my reflections in the coming weeks. Here it is again, in case you missed it:
One of my readers had this to say about his IG experience:
Instagram used to be someplace I went for inspiration and sharing, and while I still do get inspired by some of the photos I encounter there, it's far less useful as a sharing platform (for me). I'm a small fish in an enormous pond, and adding my photos to the stream feels akin to walking into Times Square and tossing some prints onto the floor while millions of other people are doing the same thing and then relying on the whims of the wind to determine whether my photo is actually seen by someone. And even if it is seen, it's likely just something that smacks them in the face while they're being bombarded by hundreds of other prints, and so mine is tossed aside as quickly as possible.
That resonates. We all want to be loved, right? Something I wondered after reading your responses was the impact that social media — and Instagram in particular — might be having on photographers and creators generally. Like, is it doing damage to our creative psyches? Has social media conditioned artists to expect a response from their work? And is that a good thing?
Obviously, most of us want an audience. It’s not cool to admit it, but for the most part, we benefit from the reactions to our work. I know I do. It feels good to know your ideas are getting out into the world, especially when people respond positively. I worry about the harmful effects of social media on our creative minds and can’t tell if social media is warping our expectations or changing the way we approach our creative work. What do you think?
I recommended David Lynch’s Catching the Big Fish in my previous post. I finished the book yesterday and really can’t recommend it enough. Another reader replied to that post with this video from a few years ago. It’s worth reflecting on ideas and how we should respond to them, especially as the internet continues changing how we do what we do. Lynch is so thoughtful. I know you’ll dig this:
A reminder that I’m rolling out a new feature here, “Today’s FlakPhoto” — my attempt to drive some eyes to the imagemakers doing good work outside the confines of the Instagram algorithm. More about how that looks here. Please submit anytime!
Finally, a personal milestone: I noticed this morning thatwelcomed 25,000 subscribers today. That's exciting! I rebooted my newsletter last year to rely less on social media. That hasn't exactly happened, but I have found a vibrant community here, and I'm having so much fun. Thanks again for your support and enthusiasm, everyone. I plan to celebrate this by giving away three copies of the new Saul Leiter Centennial Retrospective here next week. You'll need to be on the list for a chance to win — Subscribe here. Stay tuned!
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