The first piece of work was to create an Instagram account, think about an Instagram strategy and gain thirty followers. At first I felt it might be important to set up an account as so many of my fellow students do regularly upload their images. I mentioned in a Week 2 Critical Research Journal post that I was considering doing this as part of my marketing strategy for my business. I read through the forum posts to see what others were doing. Although there were many regularly engaging and using Instagram there were others who were more cautious.
It seems to me that Instagram provides a means to gain feedback on work, engage with an on-line, like-minded community, offers an on-line presence and opportunities for work to be noticed and in rare instances for commissions to follow from it. Although having said that there does not appear to be any evidence available to suggest conversion from followers/likes to investment or work opportunities. It seems that Instagram is probably more appropriate to those seeking commercial work at an earlier stage in their career.
From my perspective, and following on from my Week 2 Getting my Business Noticed post https://photographytoinspireblogspot.wordpress.com, choosing how to show work and determining tactics to use to engage with potential markets is all about personal brand. I referred to a number of ways in which I might enhance and develop my brand and Instagram was something I noted as worthy of consideration. After much consideration, for me, my website and blog are more important ways of sharing work with my audience than risking my images on Instagram. Were I to upload images in this way I would feel only able to post my second-best images, in which case it would defeat the object of doing it. A number of my images are sold as limited prints and posting these on Instagram would devalue them. My work is normally presented as fine art prints, often as large scale prints or projections and therefore are less appropriate to an on-line format.
Our second task was to create an image virus. The brief was as follows:
“Make an image that you feel is intriguing and appealing, and spread it around as many places as possible. Keep the credit anonymous. Photocopy the image and paste the copies on walls throughout your city (within reason – I don’t want you to get into trouble for fly posting), mail copies to everyone you know, post copies through letter boxes in your neighbourhood. On the back of the photocopy leave only an e-mail address and a hasthag. If anyone e-mails you, reply with only the image as an attachment. E-mail this image to everyone you know. Make a website for it, make it your status on social media – tweet it, post it, blog it. And get others to spread it around the internet; ask you friends to help. If the virus becomes widespread enough, you might find it returned to you, or used by others.”
Again, I do not feel that producing an image and posting it around a small Cotswold village would enhance my brand. I have already built up a local following for my work through my recent local exhibition and have a number who follow my blog. For the image to be traced back to me, or for me to post a copy through letterboxes feels most uncomfortable and would do nothing to enhance my personal brand – indeed quite the opposite.
I would be interested in comments from my followers . . .
What’s the point of the ‘virus’? Would love to know what the academics’ expected outcomes of that exercise are. Thought this degree course was about photography.
This is a bit more from the brief. The week is about understanding the possibilities and opportunities of the digital age.
“The internet is a powerful space and will present you with many possibilities to spread your Image Virus. Track your Image Virus via any e-mails you receive, and with the hashtag. Do this for a few days, or even a few weeks, and then write 200 – 300 words on what happened and share your experience with your peers in the space below. Discuss what worked, and what did not work.”
I agree entirely with you as to why not to create an instagram account for your project and, moreover, the need for fly posting across a small village comunity. The general public (at large) are unlikely to appreciate what you are doing and the feedback is unlikely to be productive. For me best to target the photographic and artistic communities.
I had a different thought, which is whether the tutor is starting to think about the image as iconography? This is not inconsistent with fine art – think the Mona Lisa, Monet’s Water Lillies, the couple kissing in front of the fountain (can’t remember the photographer). There are images out there that are widely loved and through which people access artists that might otherwise be inaccessible to them. At the moment your only iconography is the picture of yourself you are using for the blog posts. It’s a lovely image of you but I assume it’s not one of your photographs. Is there an image that describes you and your work that you could ‘let loose’ in the world in a way that feels appropriate to you?
I don’t believe that artists conceive iconic images. Images may become iconic over time after being recognised as exceptional within a body of work. Artists might choose work as being representative of their style but ultimately the ‘audience’ labels work iconic.