I was in Chicago last month, and my intention was to arrive two days before my assignment shooting Pitchfork Music Festival, explore the city and do some street photography. The weather had other plans, unfortunately. Heavy thunderstorms in Chicago caused crazy delays, and that ultimately cost me my first day in the city. That means I crammed a bunch of things into my second day.
It had been 8 years since I was last in Chicago. At the time, I was just getting into photography, so the photos I have are more of the common tourist variety. They're great mementos, but not good otherwise. I didn't even use the SLR that I packed with me on the trip!
One of my favorite things about the downtown area was how the elevated train was such a major part of the landscape. You've got these tall buildings, but down on the ground level, there are all these stenciled shapes caused by the tracks and beams.
This is my favorite shot from the trip. I didn't take a lot that I liked, but I am really fond of this one.
I am thinking about my social media history, and it's so interesting seeing the different kinds of interaction that my work receives, and the difference in following across platforms. When I posted regularly on Tumblr, which is where I first started posting my photography, I had my following grow to over 10k. The work got exposure mostly due to the existence of "curators" who signal boosted posts under specific tags. Over the years, my work would get regular features for black and white, landscape, architecture, and art, as well as several "radar" features, which put the post in front of every user.
On Google Plus, I also had thousands of followers (currently around 10K as well), but the interaction level was poor. This was mostly due to oddities in how G+ worked, and the way there was such an emphasis on empty reciprocation and cliques. I posted there regularly for a while, and met some wonderful people, but I always felt like I was trying to "tap into" some unknown secret that would get my work more exposure that could turn into something real. It didn't really happen.
Instagram has been an interesting one. I used it very passively for quite a while, and I only used it for mobile shots for probably the first two years that I had it. Eventually, I started posting street photography from my SLR, and then it became home to most of my concert photography. Through the different iterations of the app's algorithms, I would have varying degrees of success, but on paper I never really "made it". My following is about 1800, but my interactions are consistent. It's usually the same people liking my work, and not liking it because they want me to come check out their stuff. Unfortunately, the way the feeds have been altered from their original chronological order has made the browsing experience tedious, and interaction as a whole has suffered. I'd still say that for the most part, it has been my best experience in the past couple of years.
Ello has been interesting. On paper, my interaction doesn't look like much. I usually end up with a handful of comments or loves on a post, but it's still one of the only places where I get comments of substance. I get conversation starters—questions, thoughtful comments, suggestions, etc. I feel like I'm around artists here, and even though my work isn't exactly exploding, it's usually very satisfying to post on ello. It's also the only place where I feel like I can write long, stream of consciousness posts. I can't really say that about any of the other platforms. I've also been fortunate to be featured for photography (although I'm not anymore) and for music (which I currently am). I also had a wonderful experience where I was connected with the family of a band member that I photographed. Probably the best case of serendipity I've ever had.
I'm not sure where I was going with this, but I've had social media on my mind and I wanted to just lay things out and make some observations. I don't know what the next thing will be, or if there will even be one...but I'll still be shooting when the next thing happens.
My gear for this shot, if you're interested, is a Nikon D750 and a Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4 lens
1/400 sec, f/8, ISO 125
#photography #streetphotography #nikon #chicago