Great article from @leonardo1 describing how landscape photography has evolved recently. It was really this de-evolution that inspired me to revive NPN, I wanted it to be the opposite of social media with thoughtful conversations around photography rather than a popularity contest, etc.
Thank you for reviving NPN @David_Kingham. Agree with what he’s saying about popularity contest. I won’t even post certain photos on social media as it would just hurt my visibility (even more than it already is) with the algorithm. Glad that NPN is more democratic and doesn’t filter out just because there are less likes or comments.
Thanks for bringing this article into my awareness, David. Very well written.
It seems to me that there are two aspects that compete these days. One is about getting yourself out there and the other about growing as an artist. They are not necessarily mutually exclusive but the common popular platforms do not really encourage that. How can one appreciate the work that others have done when it is only viewed on the screen of a phone for three seconds? If you are chasing exposures/fame, then you will end up doing whatever is “in” right now be it the locations, the style, whatever because they work.
And then thanks to you, there is NPN. By participating in a critique, I am forced to do the opposite of everything that social media tell us to do. I know that I have benefited tremendously from this process. And as far as exposure is concerned, I think I have come to know my peers better, the kind of work they do, their style, their subjects. I can usually tell immediately if who made an image before I see their names on it (granted they post regularly). Maybe it is not the fame that the social media promises, but I would rather know my friends this way.
Thank you David for sharing the article on NPN, it is a great pleasure for me to appear here.
I’m just starting to discover this forum at the moment, but it seems like one of those platforms I’ve mentioned in the article that were a thing “back in the days” and slowly disappeared - where people actually tried to help each other, explaining their own ideas about photography and giving some constructive criticism. Thanks for bringing NPN to my attention, it seems a great community!
@leonardo1 thank you for the article. It was very well-written, insightful and thought provoking.
Years before the tidal wave of social media, NPN 1.0 was actually one of the best nature photography forums for meaningful discussion / image sharing / critique. NPN 1.0 had a hard time competing for attention against the onslaught of social media, and had some lean years.
But @David_Kingham deserves applause for having the courage and conviction to invest his time and resources in creating the revival of NPN 2.0. What he has done provides the nature photography community with a tremendous resource, that is unlike almost anything else out there today. If you are looking for true substance, and if you value quality of experience over the quantity of likes and faves, then NPN 2.0 is for you.
I have the luxury of pursuing landscape and nature photography for my own satisfaction, rather than trying to grab attention, or make money from it. My goal is to continually grow as a nature photographer. Like @Adhika_Lie, I have also benefited tremendously from the “NPN process”. I would much rather have thoughtful input and critique from like-minded peers at NPN, than getting countless likes from strangers seeking eye-candy at “Face-Gram”
In terms of landscape photography, NPN is relatively unique in that high value is placed on intimate landscapes, and images with more subtle and sophisticated charms. It’s not just about in-your-face “rainbows and unicorns” shots. I find the environment at NPN to be very refreshing in this regard.
For me one of the key points from the article is the following " When I was just starting out, social medias were already known but not really popular yet for photography; they were considered mostly as a place to share personal pictures and keep up with your friends. Nothing more than that. It would have been almost weird to share your best pictures on your Facebook profile. Instead, forums and photography platforms were mostly the place where you would have found a true photographic community online."
I don’t think that instagram for example is or potentially has ever been a photographic community. Even the most popular photographers on the platform have a small fraction of the following that athletes, models, celebrities, global brands and public figures command. Furthermore aggregate accounts which feature work from many different photographers tend to be more popular than individual artists pages. The whole thing is designed like the fast food industry - high volume and quick delivery. There is no wonder that a serious artist can’t compete for attention with an attractive 20 something posting selfies in active wear. Social media isn’t designed for art.
Agree Nathan. I originally joined NPN around 2005 or so. Very few of us had any sort of notoriety back then aside from Darwin Wiggett and a few others. Guy Tal was the landscape moderator and it’s interesting to see how many of the most active members have gone on to build a name for themselves beyond NPN these days. Most of the photographers I follow now elsewhere I met thru NPN. I’m just glad I was here before social media became a thing and became a popularity contest.
Thank you @leonardo1 for taking the time to write this thought provoking article and sharing it with NPN. It was very insightful for me in my quest to find my way, and place, in the photography world. And thank you to @David_Kingham for posting yet another amazing, insightful and incredibly helpful article. I appreciate all the time and effort you must be putting in to continually provide these amazing articles. Thank you.
It seems to me that public taste in images has really changed during this time frame. And it’s not only exaggerating colors and tones and colors to get attention. I am surprised almost to the level of ‘shockdom’ about what the public prefers these days. Colors exaggerated to the point of ridiculousness. Electric blue skies. HDR looking clouds. Water shot with polaroid filters and the resulting colors greatly exaggerated. Is this the future of art? There is no subtlety any longer. Andrew Wyeth’s color spectrum gets no interest. People don’t seem to recognize art or appreciate it any longer. Or else - we are in a new phase of postprocessing art that I somehow missed. NPN isn’t really reflective of what viewers are now getting excited about on social media. Am I wrong? That’s my recent impression. I’ve always been conservative in the realm of photography.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that rather than the changes in photography being a result of boasting or generating likes we may be witnessing the emergence of a new art of photography. The art of Photoshop photography.
This is very nice, with lots to think about.