Don't let your images die on a news feed
It was a Saturday.
A Facebook group I belong to had a photo Friday contest. Most likes wins first place. Naming rights only. As I scrolled down the page looking at all the wonderful pictures, I thought, What a bloody waste of Maritime talent. If you think of a social media news feed, it's one long, gigantic linear thread through time. Once your image goes down the news feed and ceases to become new, it no longer exists. It may sit as a file on a computer, where somewhere, someday someone may stumble across it or like it on Facebook, thus breathing a bit of life into a otherwise dead image. Like the Monty Python skit, "It's a Ex-Parrot"—it's pushing up daises!
So I decided to reach out to one particular photographer whose images of Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore I thought really stood out.
I grew up in that region, so I could identify and appreciate the great interpretation he delivered in those images. Keith Jollymore was the name of the photographer. We had only met once, but I had seen his images all over Facebook. My goal was to show his work in print to the public, and to show some Atlantic talent. I called it my Signature Artist project.
The first thing I have to say is that Keith Jollymore totally embraced the concept.
His primary profession was in the PR field, which included some photography. He lives on and loves the Eastern Shore, and the images we would see were his hobby or pastime. I sent him a Facebook message as he was on his way to B.C., to which he immediately replied and we met the following week.
He brought his laptop and a collection of his images that he liked. We looked through them and chose 16. From there the project grew legs. We had a venue at the Dresden Row Market in Halifax to display them. We had the ability to produce a wide range of different media for the show and my co-workers jumped on board and worked on the various products. Keith provided a Bio and captions or titles for all the images.
In a period of 35 days, we produced a small art show that had everything from fine art watercolour, framed and un- framed canvas, metal prints, metallic prints, images on slate, acrylic stand outs, calendars, post cards, licence plates, and an 8 foot banner.
It was a lot of fun, and Keith and his wife Melanie were so appreciative and supportive. When the show went up, Keith was there to talk to the many folks who dropped by. The best part is that he sold products. Everything from post cards to fine art prints. He and Atlantic Photo donated the proceeds of the profit to The Children's Wish Foundation.
The bottom line to this story is that there was and is a demand for all his images in one form of product or another, and his canvases and prints and fine art have found good homes on Haligonians' walls.
The final chapter of this has yet to be written.
I will post about that at a later date, and in the meantime Keith and Melanie have set up a website and with my assistance are working on a marketing plan as well as search engine optimization. For me this was a exercise in the concept of "if you build it, they will come".
Many people have the idea of printing their files in some ways daunting or incomprehensible, but the alternative of only having an electronic version of our life story is insane. Discussions and debate on the web from photographers like Mike Webb, verify the concerns on a entire generations photographs fading down the news feed. In the meantime, my project will continue, and I will prove that a photographer who wants to can sell their work in print as it should be.
Photographers should be able to deliver the final experience. What will be your legacy? Will your images be around in 50 years or will the get sucked under in the digital tsunami?