I apologize, this post will be quite lengthy and rambling. But it needs to be said.
Maybe it was just a grumpy day on Twitter. I am not the type to argue on the Internet. It never does much good anyway. But something that happened today made me think. I retweeted a post from NPR picture show for a photo essay written about a festival in India honoring the Hindu deity, Ganesh (one of my favorite deities to study in college in my India Art History courses). The photos were colorful, bright, and of course make my desire to travel to India that much stronger. It showed people celebrating with exhuberance what this deity stands for: new beginnings. The essay talked about the photographer, his stay in Mumbai, making sense of India’s crowded, over stimulating streets through his camera lenses. He talked of taking photos with his cell phone, digital slr, and a medium format film camera. There was a note in the article that all of the photos for the essay were taken with his cell phone camera. So what, right? The best camera is the one you have with you at the time. The photos still captured a story, I still enjoyed looking at them, they still made me smile.
I checked back in to Twitter later in the day. I don’t ever expect any responses on things I post, or any discussions on things I retweet. But in reading through my timeline I saw that a few of the photographers I follow were picking apart that photo essay for the simple reason that the photos were taken with his cell phone camera. ‘Why not with his medium format camera he had mentioned? Why are journalists using cell phones?’ I wanted to scream. Why dismiss an entire essay, pick it apart, and practically spit on it because of the tool that was used to take the photos. Yes, I prefer film as well and I would honestly love to see more photos this photographer took while he was in India, the whole collection, and I will be looking for it. And yes, I am especially curious what he photographed with his medium format camera, and what kind of camera it is, because I have a special love for medium formats. But the best camera is the one you have with you. When did that stop being enough?
And why, I wondered, am I so upset by this? And what can I do? Admittedly, I have been in quite a funk lately, and am probably just more sensitive to things people say. (Please don’t worry, I am quite fine, quite far from doing anything rash, and constantly surrounded by friends and family and a husband who have all been wonderful and help me a ton and I know this huge funk is only temporary.) Admittedly, being the age of 30 has not been the easiest for many reasons that have everything to do with life and coincidence and nothing to do with the number. So is this reaction just part of my funk? Or is it adding to my funk?
I have decided it is time for a bit if experimenting. I have adored Twitter and the community there since I opened my account years ago, but like with any social media, the happiness degrades with time. Is it time to step away from Twitter? Maybe. But not completely yet, and here comes my experiment. For one week, I will not read to “catch up” on Twitter. I have various things that auto post there (Flickr photos, blog posts . . . except seemingly when I update my blog from my phone, which I find myself doing quite frequently, and Instagram photos. I will respond to messages friends send, but I will not read through and get into discussions in my timeline. And I am not replacing it with Facebook. I will remain on there as little as I already am. And in that week I will focus on my blog, and my artwork (particularly for my upcoming show!) and taking photos with any camera I have and posting them and see how I feel after that week.
Please don’t take this as me saying all of Twitter is bad or discouraging. It isn’t. I have made friends with some very wonderful people on there around the world who are always very positive and supportive. But the bad news and pessimism often speaks louder than the positive, and perhaps this is what I need to avoid right now for my own mental health.
I want to be the type of person that encourages everyone to take photos regardless of what camera they prefer to use. It is time for me to focus.