‘Slow+sure’ : outside L’Escargot restaurant in Greek Street, Soho, London
In a world that’s flooded with photographs, getting noticed can be hard work. The point was recently driven home by an article that I read in the UK magazine Black + White Photography. Apparently most visitors to photography websites never venture beyond the homepage, generally moving on within sixty seconds. And Facebook is worse, with content quickly buried under an avalanche of new stuff.
So can you do anything to promote your photography? Or must you sit like King Canute, letting the tide come in and drown what you’ve got to say?
Don’t give up. Take your time and build relationships – with photographers and non-photographers as well. Many years ago, I joined Flickr, the photo sharing website. Like most people, I posted frequently, ‘followed’ lots of other photographers and ‘liked’ their photos. Some of the feedback was flattering, but often it felt like ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’. Disillusioned, I stopped posting on Flickr and licked my wounds.
On moving to Zambia, I decided to give Flickr another go – but things had changed. Flickr had lost some of its shine, having been overtaken by newer, flashier rivals like Instagram. And that’s when the penny dropped. Tired of chasing shadows, I realised why I value Flickr – it’s mainly for the friendships that I’ve made. Nowadays I only follow and comment on work that I really like.
So what has friendship got to do with photo marketing? In this image saturated world, everything. At a very mundane level, people aren’t going to buy your work if they can’t remember you – or they’ve forgotten the name of your website. And speaking personally, I only buy photographs and books that resonate with me. My favourite images are ones that grow on me, not the kind that give away all their secrets the first time I look at them. I don’t have to like the photographer, but I want to develop a relationship with their work.
In a future post, I’ll come back to ways of developing relationships, both online and off. But for now, enjoy your photography, look for kindred spirits and don’t be in too much of a hurry. Slow but sure really can be the best way.