I’m a big fan of social media, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, mostly.
I like to share what I’m working on for two reasons:
1) Some of my friends seem to enjoy seeing my process.
2) It puts pressure on me to make good work if I share what I’m working on.
In the back of my head though I also wonder if I’m making it easy for others to copy my work. Everyone is different and it is virtually impossible to take the same exact picture twice but is social media making it easy to steal and copy other artists? Probably. I think a big part of using social media is knowing when to share and what to share. Sometimes I have a fear that if I share an idea with a friend or on Twitter that someone will take my idea and make that photograph for themselves. If I’m already finished with my photograph, I have a little more protection with copyrights and things like that. In that instance it is clear that the chicken did, indeed, come before the egg. I don’t think the same applies to ideas.
Ideas are a funny thing, really, most of the time it seems as if mine come right out of thin air. I’m an ideas guy, ideas can be anything, they can be simplistic or complex, ridiculous or logical. There’s nothing that says you have to act on an idea, you could save it on a piece of paper or forget about it. When you have a good idea though, there’s nothing you can do to protect it more than to simply not tell anyone about it. This is easier said than done. Mark Zuckerberg’s rise to fame and success is a perfect example of my point. He took someone else’s idea before they were able to realize it fully and made it his own. While this is clever it can also be very hurtful to others.
The reason I’ve been thinking about this so much is that this semester I’m doing my photo assignments off of a shot list. Every student has the same assignments and it is very easy to do similar work. Now, it doesn’t really matter to me what other people do for their assignments but I’d hate to see a student try to hack their way through a semester by copying another person. I’m not usually this uptight about people making the same picture over and over again, but I am more aware of it when school is involved. I hold my work very close to the chest and once summer rolls around I can relax a little more. This summer I can make more work that’s off the books, not for school, not for an assignment, just for me and my portfolio. It’s a beautiful thing.