Why I love seeing the "Nice shot" and "Wow" comments, and why some other photographers should stop complaining about it...longest post title ever
First, let me be very positive and tell you a few reasons why I like seeing happy comments of affirmation like "Great!", "Love it", "Cool", etc etc. I'll start with the simple reasons and then get into a deeper sense of experiencing the world around us.
So, on a basic level, I simply like seeing people's avatars - their faces. This is important and nice to me. We are humans, and we like to see faces. Incidentally, this is generally why face-avatars are more appealing than cartoons or symbols.
Plus, I know that they took a little extra time in addition to the +1. I think most of my new and upcoming friends here on Google+ are not photographers, so they just have a simple and joyous reaction to it. They give nice feedback in a simple, quick manner.
This all stems from an increasing complaint I see from some
other photographers that complain about "inane" comments, wishing "these people" would just +1 and move on. I find this to be a very elitist and condescending attitude. The thing is that photographers have been someone "poisoned" by Flickr. And here is why…
Flickr is great in that it allows photographers to comment on the work of other photographers in a thoughtful, critical manner (sometimes, hehe). So, we get used to a certain level of feedback from other people that have strong opinions on composition, color, light, line, shape, contrast, and these sorts of things. But, for the last five years, I've been sharing a new photo every day on http://www.StuckInCustoms.com
and my main target has always been non-photographers
. And the simple truth is that they just respond "differently". It's not better or worse… just different
. Each of them, no doubt, has a deep level of expertise in various other subjects, and if I were to post something about Austria-Hungary, for example, they would probably respond with a paragraph of helpful datapoints.
So I'm very defensive of all the nice people that take the time to comment, re-share, and become part of the community. If you don't like the way people choose to express themselves in Google+, or generally disagree with the comments, then there is no need to get all upset… just uncircle me and save yourself some frustration.
Now, another way to look at it, if you'd like to alter your perspective, is to consider the expansion of the photography audience. Flickr was also poisonous in that it was just photographers commenting on other photographers in a circle of mutual-mental-masturbation. The bad part is that every photographer comes with their own baggage (I know I do), and they bring that baggage into the comments. So, it's a bit like being an oil painter and only hanging your work in a gallery that other oil painters frequent.
You'll have interesting discussions, but you'll also hear a lot of talk of what merchants in Arles are producing the best yellow dye.
With Google+, you find a lot of non-photographers. And this is of course the BEST audience for photographers, because they just simply want to see beautiful things in their life. They can sense beauty, and they don't have to have an art-school degree to like something and sense a deep beauty. And every non-photographer has a wonderfully unique life of experiencing beauty and a very personal history of joy, trauma, and the unique events that make them different. So that means that one photo may really speak to one person… perhaps there is a bit of mystery that their imagination fills in… and it becomes very special to them… and, having different neurons fire, they simply don't know what to say but, "Wow."
When I watch Olympic diving and I see some skinny Scandinavian do four flips and a twist and make ZERO splash, I just stare at the TV and say, "Wow." Or, maybe I see a ballet and the dancer makes a little move that I just can't comprehend. I may turn to a friend and say, "Amazing." There are arts and things well beyond me that I can barely grasp, and words fail.
Anyway, I'll end this little post with a story about the photo below, since we can all probably agree that beauty exists and we all experience it differently. To me, this fisherman and his cormorant bird are beautiful. To the fisherman, maybe the fish he will soon catch is beautiful. To the fish, maybe the Li River is beautiful. All of these truths can be held together in delicate concert, and this is why I love capturing it.