A few days ago I was at my parent’s house for a family photo shoot. We had a lot of fun and got a lot of great photos out of the deal. The photographer said he got over 800 photos. Sheesh! Out of those I’d say about twenty were pretty good.
Later on Kim got in a random discussion with my brother about posting photos to Facebook. She made the offhand comment that we, Josh and Kim, don’t (or rarely) post family photos to Facebook and that we’re trying to figure out some other way to share photos with friends and family. And of course my brother was incredulous and confused as to why we would do this. What’s the big deal anyway?
It got me thinking. What IS the big deal? Why don’t I post things like photos on Facebook? Why am I cautious? For me it really comes down to two things- value and control. Here are my reasons.
For me, I like control. I like to retain ownership of my photos, especially photos of loved ones and my children. Yes, I post photos online. I post photos on this website and a few other places. But the big difference is that I can CONTROL these places. I can remove these photos anytime I want. And I have better control over how they’re displayed and shared. In that sense they are still mine.
With Facebook you lose this control. Facebook makes it SO easy for people to share your photos all over the place. With just the simple click of a Like button powerful things happen, stuff we probably don’t even realize. And before you know it your photo is no longer yours. It becomes everybody’s. And that to me is an unnerving thing. I don’t trust Facebook to preserve my grip on things I post. It quickly becomes everybody’s. That is the beauty and power of Facebook. Social sharing at it’s finest. But I shy away from this. I think it’s worth maintaining some control over the things that are precious to me. Which leads me to my next point.
Value. To me it seems that the more numerous and plentiful something is the less valuable it becomes. And things that are less plentiful are more valuable. Think about gold. Think about silver and diamonds. They are worth so much because they are in limited supply. To me, photos of my personal life, my kids and my family are gold. They are worth something to me. This is why I don’t post them to Facebook. To me they lose their value when thrown up on Facebook, ready to be consumed and discarded along with the million other things that show up on your Facebook wall. It’s called a ‘Feed’ for good reason. You look at it, digest it, and move on to the next. Things on Facebook have fleeting value. It doesn’t matter what it is, be it a comment or photo, it becomes lost in a sea of info. To me this is not a good medium for precious photos of my family. There has to be better way.
I take my photography seriously. I take pride in the pictures I shoot. And while it’s tempting to post in all on Facebook and get all kinds of recognition and comments, I hold back. I hold things that are precious to me close to my body. Some things are sacred. So because I value my photos and want to control how and when they are viewed I don’t put them on Facebook. Most of the world doesn’t see it this way. And maybe I run the risk of becoming ‘irrelevant’ by not joining the masses. But I hold my ground and for good reasons. Maybe if things change I will reconsider. But for now I stick to my principles.