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instagram killed the photoblog star

I wish I had a good excuse for my absence. Backpacking through South America. A high-profile but hush-hush assignment. A secret spy mission. Anything to account for being AWOL for all this time. Especially since the truth is much more boring: I just never got around to writing new entries.

I didn’t even have a lack of photos to blame. In the last three months I shot roughly 6,000 photographs. Not a whole lot by professional standards, sure, but it was hardly nothing. There was definitely enough blog fodder to be found. Nope, it wasn’t due to a lack of material; the blame for my lack of updates lies squarely on my shoulders.

Well, mine and Social Media’s.

Has it really been three months? To the day, no less?

I wish I had a good excuse for my absence. Backpacking through South America. A high-profile but hush-hush assignment. A secret spy mission. Anything to account for being AWOL for all this time. Especially since the truth is much more boring: I just never got around to writing new entries.

I didn’t even have a lack of photos to blame. In the last three months I shot roughly 6,000 photographs. Not a whole lot by professional standards, sure, but it was hardly nothing. There was definitely enough blog fodder to be found. Nope, it wasn’t due to a lack of material; the blame for my lack of updates lies squarely on my shoulders.

Well, mine and Social Media’s.

As I went through the last three months’ worth of photos, trying to find a clue as to why I never posted any of them, I kept feeling that same familiarity from photo to photo. I had posted these, I realized. Only not to this blog. I’d posted them to my Facebook page, and to my Tumblr blog, and occasionally I’d shared some with my Google+ friends, and even on Twitter. I’d posted them everywhere but here.

The fact of it was, I’d been seduced by the ease of microblogging. Why spend an hour agonizing over words when people only come here to look at the pretty pictures, anyway? Wouldn’t it just be easier to spend five minutes uploading them to your Facebook page and get a few likes, maybe net a couple new subscribers in the process (as everyone knows, the more “likes” your Facebook page has, the more work you get.)? Why invest the most work into the least-popular avenue?

And more importantly, why invest that much work if no one’s paying attention? I knew first-hand that this shortened attention span affected me not just as a creator but as a consumer, too, and I was sure I wasn’t the only one.

“Consume,” by the way, happens to be the perfect description of what I do to media. Thanks to the never-ending stream of visual stimulus supplied by Tumblr and Instagram, I hardly ever stop and appreciate photographs anymore unless they’re truly outstanding. Everything else I just swallow whole. Who has time to sit and truly take in a photo, let alone read the incessant stream of words that accompanies it? Easier to just grab them, handfuls at a time, and shove them down my gullet all at once. Nom nom nom.

Yet despite all of these valid reasons to give it up, here I am, at two in the morning, typing away. Even though I probably wouldn’t have the patience to read these words if I were on the other side of the monitor, I find myself taking the time to write them. Perhaps it’s stubbornness; I’ve had this blog for this long, why stop updating now, no matter how inefficient a use of my time it might be? Perhaps it’s because the “journalist” part of my inner photojournalist knows that the right words can enhance and elevate even the best photos. Perhaps it’s some romantic, old-fashioned attachment to actually taking the time to articulate myself beyond 140 characters.

Or perhaps the blog entries aren’t so much for my readers (Hi, Mom) as they are for myself. Free therapy. After all, as this post shows, I’ve clearly given up all pretense of having the copy relate to the photos. I have a pile of great shots from another fun and crazy photo shoot with the guys of Lexationships on my recent trip to San Francisco. But instead of talking about that, I spend the entire post waxing philosophical about the whys and wherefores of my three-month absence.

Eh, hell with it. I’ll just call it a hiatus and get back to updating a little more regularly.

Expect more non-sequitur entries like this one.

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