I spent this morning with my coffee and Instagram, Facebook turned off for the sake of my spirit. More and more I wrestle with leaving Facebook. I’m not sure (m)any of us are wired for such a constant stream of hyperbole and hysteria. I know I’m not. It’s become so, so noisy and then I open Instagram, a social media site I long resisted, and it feels so quiet to me. I look at the work of other travelers and adventurers, people doing the things they love, and that I love and hunger to be doing. Instagram stirs that hunger in me. Maybe it’s just that I have a small, carefully chosen feed from other photographers. Maybe it’s that I don’t really read the comments. But it’s quiet. Like waking up early by a lake still covered in mist and listening to the loons, before others stir. Or maybe it just feels that way after all the noise and the “You won’t believe what happened next” and the regurgitated news.
I don’t know where I’m going with this, but I want to be hungry again, in that healthy way that is the recognition of longing. I want to be out in the wild again. I’m almost there – we leave for two and a half months in the Jeep at the end of this month. I want to be making photographs again and not just talking about making them, which I enjoy, but which does not feed my spark. And I want some quiet. Some white space in my life.
Then I discovered these: Artifact Uprising and Printstagram. I haven’t used either yet, but both can easily take your Instagram photographs and make a book, or prints, of it, and I wonder if that’s not the real potential of Instagram for me – a chance to curate and share my experiences, and then to turn those into small books – they used to call them chap books – and get my images into the real, physical world, to leave on coffee tables and enjoy without turning on another device. And all free from the noise that distracts me. A chance to focus on my hunger and not on hype. And in turn, if my work can create a hunger in others, I’ll have done my work.
What I really want, is to get back to that point where the photographs, much as I love them, are not the point. The experience is the point. The experience of being alive. Of seeing. Of making. Of sharing. And, in some way, of knowing that in doing so, the experience moves forward. Today I skipped Facebook and I looked at photographs of places I’ve been and I felt the surge of nostalgia, experiencing again the beautiful moments we all somehow forget to remember. These weren’t my photographs, but the work of others, and still they stir something in me. I want my work to do that for others. To stir a hunger.
For a long time Facebook has stirred something else in me, several something-elses, in fact, and I don’t sense any of them are good for me. Toxic is probably the word. Maybe it’s not about Facebook at all, maybe it’s just about me. I’m OK with that, too. Either way, this soul isn’t going to tend itself, and Facebook is suffocating me. I want to live outside, not online. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be here and on Instagram when I share, for the next few months.
Don’t look for brilliance here, or even a teachable moment. I just needed to say it. With all the noise of social media this has been the one place I’ve always been able to come back to and just be me. Thanks for letting me get it out. I feel better now.
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I have never warmed up to Facebook so reading David’s post let me know I truly did not miss much. I never liked the interface anyway. Other sites like googleplus were more appealing to me for photosharing. Glad to see some one tell the truth about being bludgeoned by cludgy social media. I haven’t been to instagram because of preconceived notions but perhaps I should give that a second look.
I just wanted to take a moment out of my morning to express my gratitude for the gift that you give the photographic community– the sharing of your vision and your process. You are a talented photographer and an equally talented writer. I have been looking to the work and blog of McNally as my main source of photographic inspiration, in need of some variety I had been hoping to stumble upon someone as talented and inspiring. I can not recall where or how I found your work, but since the first snippet of a book I read on amazon, I’ve been devouring your words. I’ve recently finished two of your books, am finishing up two others and visit your blog with regularity. Thanks again, for living and photographing and writing and sharing.
Thank you, Fury. It’s a pleasure to have you join us here. We’re a small little community on this blog, but what we lack in size we make up for in heart. 🙂 Welcome here!
Wow, I really like Facebook, and have a lot of fun on there. Yes, it can be filled with far too much inflammatory content, but I manage to harmonize with it quite well. I have friends with whom I interact who I would never ever see or talk to otherwise, and I manage to even cultivate discussions with people who have been important to my upbringing, such as authors, photographers, racers, etc, whom I never would have been able to otherwise. And lest we assume it’s because I’m a young’n who just jives better with social media, I am actually only a couple years younger than our honored host on this blog. Some days I spend a little more time on there, having fun, sharing photos and music, and other days I manage to just catch a few of my notifications and call it done. It just slots in where I will it to, and it causes no problems for me. I sense, though, that I am perhaps alone among the readers of this blog. Anyway, to each their own, and if people need to avoid it in order to find the ‘quiet’ they need, ’tis their world after all. I guess I’ll just be that dissenting point of view here. 🙂
No harm in a little dissent, Steven. I think so much of this is a matter of how we use FB. I’ve met wonderful people on FB too, and there’s good in it. Just right the good is not outweighed by the noisy and the mediocre for me. Don’t let our angst steal your joy, my friend! 🙂
David, I discovered the peace of Instagram about 18 months ago and it really inspired me to develop my photography more and gave me a ‘public’ place to hang my work. I have been a long time follower of David Du Chemin and have been taught and inspired and challenged. I’m doing a 12 month black and white self imposed challenge inspired by you, thanks.
By the way, I’m sure that FB has become toxic!
Thanks again for all the challenges and inspiration.
Thanks, Russell, I’m now following you on IG. You words of encouragement are very much appreciated.
I last looked at my Facebook page 6 months ago. Just stopped updating both my personal and business pages. My business hasn’t suffered one bit and I feel free from the constant pull of having to post some interesting facet of my life. For me, it’s been a healthy decision.
I love this post. I feel so much the same way, it’s like your in my head. I’m glad it made you feel better to write it; I certainly feel good having read it.
I agree there is a lot of noise these days. I have always kept tight control of my Facebook. I block what I don’t want to see to keep my newsfeed clean. I honestly only use it to keep in touch with close friends and family. They love seeing my photos and that is the easiest place to share. I do use Facebook to help promote a festival I am part of it. Not worried about accolades just reach!
I have just started to use Instagram. I enjoy it and I use it has an instant platform. Not had the urge to share anything but the photos I take with my phone. I have also enjoyed being able to post to other social media platforms without having to visit!
It is a very noisey world. It is a challenge to keep it quiet and keep your privacy. I love everything you post David and it always makes me think.
Nice to see you have excellent taste in coffee plungers – we have the FREUD press too.
I got some square cards done of the same images I’m exhibiting later this month and I love them. The card stock is beautiful and thick and I’m really happy with the print quality.
Nice to see you on instagram, looking forward to seeing you again in person.
I have not yet looked into Instagram, although I’m hearing a lot about it. Your post is giving me a nudge to spend some time researching its value. Time is my most precious commodity and adding something else on my ‘to do’ list requires thought. Right now each social media choice is a thought-out one. Facebook’s purpose for me is to stay in touch with far-flung family…and it works quite well for that purpose. I use Twitter a lot and have found great value in it. LinkedIn has dropped off my radar as pretty valueless for me personally. Instagram…will give it a look-see.
I’ve never really found FB very inspiring. I’m using it because it’s currently part of my job but there is just too much noise. I quite like the idea of instagram, but I don’t really like their terms and conditions which is why I ended up using EyeEm. Really great and inspiring community there, with lots of amazing photographers. Plus image size isn’t restricted to a 1:1 ratio. I can only recommend to check it out.
I’ll give Instagram a look… but know I can always check back to the blog to find home…
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I’ve been active in online computing since 1980 but I’ve never been on FB or other social media sites. I just don’t see the point. I keep in touch directly with the people I care to. I do find it a little ironic that Instagram is owned by FB.
You’ve stirred up something in me that I so very much needed to hear this morning – on white space, on the sanctity of a photograph and the experiences that bring them to life.
Thank you from someone who looks forward to following your words on this blog. I have found a teachable moment – and ethos – on this page.
You are not alone…
No Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram. I control my life, my technology and my social interactions–they don’t control me. I don’t answer the phone just because it rings. I only answer it if I want to speak to the calling party. I have peace and quiet when I want and have social contacts when it suits me.
Try it. Being in control is wonderful.
Agreed, Dennis, though I think you can be on social media and still be in control. The reason I like social media is because, at its best, it can be very social. I’ve made wonderful friends online, relationships that have grown offline, to be sure, but it’s been amazing to connect with others around the world. The key is knowing when to turn it off. 🙂
I now personally dislike FB. It used to serve me well but now they have changed the way the news feeds and it doesn’t hit the same market. Too many adverts and forced feed. I enjoy Instagram (I follow you and you follow me btw). I like the quality of work on there and it’s simplicity.
Here is my problem David…I get your news regarding books and things like this post via FB and if you left FB I wouldn’t get them…therein lies your problem.
FB still serves a purpose in our digital world and the need to sell ourselves.
Don’t leave it just yet 🙂
Niki – You’re right. And I will still use FB to broadcast for others. I just don’t want to subject myself to it anymore. But ultimately people will always have to adjust to change and with social media I think change is always going to happen. You could subscribe to this blog and not miss a thing 🙂
There’s an ARTICLES BY EMAIL subscription near the top of the right column under the RECENT POSTS and RECENT COMMENTS. Our robot will happily send you my posts by email as they come out. 🙂
Thanks David…I will do that. Are you on twitter too? I only use it to follow Getty as I am a contributor but if you post your stuff there I will follow that. 🙂 Not that I am stalking on anything – lol
i’ve been on a FB hiatus for some time now and the funny thing is most of my 540 ‘friends’ haven’t had a clue about it. perhaps this is because i didn’t tweet it, didn’t blog about it, and did not add the news to “what’s on your mind?” i haven’t deleted the account just yet, but that pretty much sealed the deal for me. i reached a point i couldn’t fathom spending time sifting through all of the noise in my feed instead of spending those moments with family and folks i can actually see in the flesh (or at least skype with). stick with the blog, it’s inner peace.
btw, though i’m not a member of the smartphone tribe, i did join instagram just to follow this guy.. brilliant.
I left Facebook in 2009. It was obvious then where the platform was going. I never missed it & didn’t lose any friends.
I agree. I only hold onto facebook for a small number of friends & relatives. It does make staying in touch easier, but there are plenty of days that I’m tempted to delete it & stay in touch the old fashioned way. Most of the time fb takes the wind out of my sails. I like intstagram because I only follow accounts that I enjoy. I don’t succumb to pressure to follow friends, chances are they posted that same photo on fb anyways. Instagram is for ME, not about being “social”. Same with Pinterest, I pin things I like & I only follow pinners that have similar interests as me & inspire me. Good luck, look forward to seeing you on instagram!
I agree. It’s unfortunate how Facebook has changed from a place of friends to a place to be marketed to. I was a big user of the service – who has lost interest in it – who now visits by habit.
I’m warming up to Instagram but I wish I could post through the website.
I thought I was the only one feeling the social media discontent. To be quite frank, I’m just an average bloke enjoying photography. Photography are many thing to me. It’s a kind of meditation where I complete loose the notion of time and space. It has given me the joy of seeing things that I never saw before. It makes me enjoy and appreciate nature at a level never felt before.
So where does FB and social media fit into this? It really doesn’t. On FB, Flickr etc. you are supposed to follow, view, like and comment on other photographs and get followers, views, likes and comments in return. The more you give – the more you get. The quality of the photograph itself has taken second place.
We all – at a certain level – crave acknowledgment, but FB, Flickr etc. aren’t the right place for genuine feedback.
Where does this get me? I spend too much time on FB, Flickr etc. and not enough time out in nature.
It’s time to get out!
Good for you. To my way of thinking you’ve got it absolutely right. Open space, open air open the heart. Carry on. Keep us posted when you can.
I had a similar experience when I got on Instagram. I felt like I had finally found the right social media for me. I think it speaks the right “language” for photographers – images.
Hi David I’m on your page regarding the hyperbole, hysteria and sheer noise of Facebook. Call me old fashioned, but I like to have a real life! Admittedly, I do have a blog for my photographs, but by and large I am communicating with like-minded souls
Now days most people are spending/wasting more and more time over social media and lesser time on important things in life. For us photographers is the same, but how the time have changed i believe. There are so many unnecessary industry that we spend not only money but and time.
I dislike FB, and in fact, any social networking site and am trying hard to get back to some reading a real book (your ‘Within the Frame’ and ‘Robert Doisneau’s Paris: Les Halles Market’ for starters).
I never look at my FB site until I get an email telling me how much I’ve missed this past week. I even started a Twitter account to enter an amateur photography competition (and then broke my R elbow the next day so couldn’t enter). I opened a Flickr and 500px account and they died a quick ‘death’ too. What is it with people these days? They’re so glued to their iPhones etc……even on public transport……that they miss life in the Real World. Well, that’s my take on technology, anyway.
I only joined FB to keep in touch with my o/s friends & locals with busy working & social lives who I rarely see these days.
I find FB boring and intrusive. I’d rather be outdoors practicing my photography hobby.
i’ve been on a FB hiatus for some time now and the funny thing is most of my 540 ‘friends’ haven’t had a clue about it. perhaps this is because i didn’t tweet it, didn’t blog about it, and did not add the news to “what’s on your mind?” i haven’t deleted the account just yet, but that pretty much sealed the deal for me. i reached a point i couldn’t fathom spending time sifting through all of the noise in my feed instead of spending those moments with folks i truly cared about (and could actually see in the flesh, or at least skype with). stick with the blog, it’s inner peace.
btw, though i’m not a member of the smartphone tribe, i did join instagram just to follow this guy..
Hi there. 🙂 You are new to me. I found you via a FB share. I’m glad I did.
I wrestle with leaving, too. My hubby, boys and I live a low electricity/low media life. Haven’t had a tv in 17 years and have all the breakers but two turned on.
Having a health bump that destabilizes you, can stabilize your priorities — been there.
I get torn between the best parts of community that exist on FB (amazing people there!) and the parts that bring out the worst of my humanity.
Then, there’s the whole ‘my business is affected by social media.” (or is it?) thing, too.
I wish I didn’t feel intimidated by other social media like Instagram or Twitter. Maybe as I learn them, I’ll be able to extricate myself from the belly of the FB beast.
Anyway, I was touched by your humanity and thoughtfulness. That’s why I felt compelled to enter in the conversation with you.
Thanks for bringing that space — and this conversation — to community.
Correction: All but two of are breakers are turned off.
That’s what I get for multi-tasking. I burned the greens AND screwed up the post.
I have an aversion to Instagram. So I am really curious for your thoughts.
1) do you really use it for just instant photos taken with your phone or do you post “big camera” photos? I see many photogs jumping on and its not insta its latergram
2) so many other small things like, no search, no download, no efix etc etc.
Maybe its me and how I see it vs. what I want it to be. 🙁
1. Nope, I use it for any photographs I make, regardless of tool or time. I don’t see a reason for me to feel obligated to do otherwise.
2. It is what it is. It either works for you or it doesn’t. I like being able to see photographs from people I want to follow, and for them to see mine. I have no need for any other functionality, In fact I like that it does so little.
Personally, I like it. It gives me room to breathe and requires little of me. 🙂
Rather curious timing but the subject of Instagram came up with me today. I was sending a photograph I took on a recent trip to Israel to the couple in the photograph and mentioned that I’m just beginning to establish a portfolio and would appreciate them sharing via Facebook and Twitter. They responded by asking if I had and Instagram account. I’ve long avoided Instagram (for no reason other than a pre-conceived idea of the service), but reading this post has made the reconsider.
I also would echo Liisa’s sentiment about people seeing Facebook as the go to site for exposure. I’m guilty of that myself.
Dave – I agree, but I think there’s something specific, perhaps it’s the breadth of the thing – that makes Facebook so toxic to me. It’s all the drama and advertising and the re-posting of Fox news and gun rights articles and…just so much garbage. It’s like watching CNN and Home Shopping Network and 100 reality tv shows all at once. Like any technology it’s how we use it, and I’m closer and closer to using the off button. 🙂
… oooops… but I know what you mean… I have also considered alternatives…
I don’t think it is the actual site itself… it is what “WE” let it become… I think they all have the same potential… 500px was a great site when it opened… now it is just another flickr with a rating scale that can be inflated by how many “follows” you have…
I’ve been feeling this way a lot as well. We spend so much time on things that mean absolutely nothing instead of being truly present in the moment and living our lives. And then we talk about how busy we are but we’re still spending so much time on Facebook, Twitter, etc. I want to be inspired and Facebook does not do that, I completely agree with you. The only reason I still find myself there is to keep up with loved ones that are not close by.
Thanks for the inspiring thoughts David!
It has become the anxiety in my life I don’t need and keeps me from the close inspection of my craft. Well said, David! 😉
I totally understand and at most times feel the same. I often don’t get to my editing because I just don’t want to be sitting in front of a computer. Enjoy your break or your forever time away from it. As long as I can still find your writings and inspiration here….it’s all good. 🙂
Tumblr is that space for me. I use it for images that inspire me — ’50’s fashion photography mainly. Just images, no rants, no ads, nada. Peace.
I’m coming here from Facebook funnily enough. I’ve taken the first step. I’ve deleted the app from my phone, though I’m still on messenger, as I organize a lot of shoots there. Weaning myself off.. Toxic is the word. I spent too much time worrying about other work, and not enough on my own.
Have been feeling the same and recently opened an Instagram account. Glad to know others feel the same. Thanks for putting it out there David. See you on IG.
Ahh I just want to run up and give you a big high five after reading this! So spot on with all points in so few words. More experience and being alive and less online pointless banter. I’m hungry now 🙂
I do have the same feelings towards Facebook as you do. I have deleted some social media accounts over the years, but somehow I always felt reluctant of letting go FB. I left Instagram a few months ago but lately I feel the need to go back because many good photographers only share their work on that platform. Maybe I reactivate that account soon.
Do read Daniel Milnor’s thoughts on social media:
He wrote some interesting follow-up articles afterwards. Highly recommended reading if you ask me.
So well said. Thank you and I’ll look for you on Instagram..
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, it is always a pleasure to read your blog and be inspired by you!
I hear you David. I so want to “defined” so many posters on FB but I know they would be hurt. I post often too, too often actually. I want to hear from about 25% of my friends. Maybe I will take a break also. Solitude is something I crave. Solitude is not a word I hear very often but to be creative it’s a must. I need the phones off too.
“Maybe it’s not about Facebook at all, maybe it’s just about me.”
No, it is about Facebook. It is not the social place it used to be. There are more and more “shares” of insignificant and trite things, and less of people sharing what is truly important to them. It’s like trying to find PBS on a television that doesn’t list any of the 200 channels it has.
I’ve made 2 significant journeys so far this year and all I heard from people was “WIll you put your photos on Facebook?” My answer is usually, “No, but you can go to my website. Better yet, let’s get together for a drink and I’ll show you some images and tell you the story behind them.” Few people, it seems, have the time for that.
I left Facebook 2 years ago this month and have not missed it one bit. Granted I was not using mine to promote any type of business, as a result it just got in the way of business. The gnawing sense of lack of privacy as well as manipulation of content (recently proven true) finally pushed me away. I don’t need to know where everyone I know or barely know are at or what they are doing at any given minute of the day. I only need to know where I am at and what I am doing.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The last couple of months I feel the same about social media in general. Our life is based on what other think for us and this has become an obsession for a lot of folks out there. This is counterproductive and keeps us from creating things w le love. Keep up the good work.
I’ll be keeping an eye open for your words as always 🙂 I just found the love of my life in a round about sort of way so I can’t be too hard on it, but at the same time, now i’ve found her, I want us to get out and live a bit so, i’m with you all the way! Sometimes we just need to get out there and do it!!…now i’m starting to sound like a Nike commercial 😮
Hmmmm…. I’ve never been to Instagram before, I’ll have to give it a look, especially your page.
Your trip will surely “light your fire,” the power of nature is unstoppable. 4
Thanks Ian. I’ll be around on the blog. 🙂 I’m with you on choices – I’m much more a both/and kind of guy, making choices according to what I want / what works for me rather than a more binary do-this-don’t-do-that approach. Thanks for the wisdom.
Well, if you’re heading off, then there may not be much point in me writing this as you won’t get to see it but, here goes anyway.
Get out there, find what gets your passion and your enthusiasm racing again!! I don’t know you well enough to say it personally, so i’ll say it in general terms and as a friend of internet-sorts. The problem isn’t Facebook, you’re right about that, it’s in yourself. Facebook is like your camera, or your dinner. Pick the analogy that suits. You don’t have to have one or the other, you don’t have to choose your favourite brand or make, but sometimes you want Canon and a steak, other times you might want Fuji, or Nikon, and a Salmon or a McDo.
Life can be about choices, but it’s not always take it or leave it, sometimes it’s to pick the one you need or want for the moment, and then go back to the other when you fancy that. then change again if you feel like it, and keep on changing and following your heart until you spot some daisies that need pushing up. Enjoy the break!!
“Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation.”
– Jean Arp
Find the silence and breath deeply David.
I haven’t been active on FB (or any other social site) for months now, for exactly the same reasons. Mostly, I’ve been out back, in the gardens, being quiet.
Enjoy your trip. Enjoy each moment. It doesn’t have to be any grander than just that. In fact, if we sit and fully experience each of those moments — without being ‘plugged in’ — we’ll find that it is much grander than we could possibly imagine or write about.
The signal to noise ratio of Facebook has grown less and less meaningful, while attempts at creating useful communities with pages and groups has been all but destroyed by efforts to monetize—the nature of the beast, unfortunately. I couldn’t agree more with your sentiments. I find Instagram, which while owned by Facebook hasn’t been too co-opted yet, is still ostensibly a fun way to work within a constraint to challenge your creative eye, to sometimes tell the tale of your travels, to show the world in a 1:1 ratio what you see and to just work it out.
I’m close to do the same… Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
What is your Instagram account ?
Here I am – http://instagram.com/davidduchemin
Thanks for sharing this David. It describes the places I have been lately too. I’ve lived ‘out there’ too much, done too many things that were ‘required’ of me, and lived a hectic, scattered, disconnected life on social media. I’m returning to what gives me life. Take care my friend.
I wonder how many other creatives are thinking/saying/go through the same thoughts about FB as you just said.
I honestly believe technology has given us a lot but at the same time it has become “toxic” to our creative souls because we no longer have that true connection to the world as we see it.
I have enjoyed and been inspried by your words and pictures. Thank you for being honest. Enjoy finding your white space, the quiet and your spark.