I’m back on social media after a break

Cliff Etzel - Documentary Photographer

“Social media use has been linked to depression, anxiety and loneliness. Recent studies referenced by The Child Mind Institute and The National Center for Health Research suggest people who frequently use social media feel more depressed and less happy with life than those who spend more time on non-screen-related activities.”

Today marks the one year anniversary of an experiment – to see whether I could maintain, even build a larger audience for my documentary & street photography work using no social media platforms.

The Catalyst For This Decision to restart my Instagram profile

Photographer David DuChemin was the catalyst behind this initial decision on my part to try and create a more authentic connection with my audience of followers that elected to sign up for my email newsletter when I announced my departure from Instagram in July of 2022.  Some of you are past clients I manually added to my subscriber list since we have already corresponded as well.

In that time I struggled with my lack of any desire to be creative. I had not shot any work due to a genuine apathy towards going out to shoot. The desire had left me. I have been in a creative desert for longer than I have let on and have wandered aimlessly trying to rekindle that seeing eye to no avail. Only very recently has it even begun to come back.

My personal experience and why I’m making this decision to try again

I’ve had sufficient time to detox from social media and realized I probably needed to at least have a presence even if I rarely post to it. Hence I reactivated my Instagram profile but my primary focus is still utilizing my website and email newsletters as the primary means of authentically connecting with my audience, my tribe.

Why social media is merely a stop gap for me and why I prefer email newsletters for outreach?

I think it still comes down to reconnecting, instead of disconnecting. Being real and authentic with people, treating them as something more than a profile in cyberspace.  It’s about creating a community and interacting with them one on one when they have questions or comments.  It’s how we use to interact with each other pre social media days.  I think it’s time to get back to that.

Recently hitting that milestone of 61 years of age, I’m at that point in my life where I’m too old to change and I pine for the days when things felt less complicated.  So I’m giving this a shot again to see what results.

My newsletters will initially be infrequent and when you receive one, I hope it will be of interest to you. I’ll try to keep each newsletter short and to the point, covering what I’ve been up to lately, random images I captured and a short story behind them.

The images in this post are from various times I was either traveling or walking around where I live in Eugene, Oregon. These images aren’t in your face showstoppers, but they do speak to me in a sense about color, emotion and that decisive moment.

My blog is where I’m posting images I capture and writing about them accordingly.  I understand that life is hectic and feel honored when someone makes the time to visit my website, looks at what I’ve been up to and makes the time to comment.

In closing, I hope that my time in this creative desert hasn’t diminished those who find value in the work I produce and I hope to hear back from those of you who see my work as important.

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