LIGHTPAINTING WORKS EVEN WITHOUT THE SO-CALLED SOCIAL MEDIA
… and even very well. It was extremely beneficial for my mental health that I deleted my Facebook, Instagram and YouTube accounts. I was tired of being defamed and dehumanised by some busybodies and psychopaths because I was supposedly of the wrong mindset. I was no longer prepared to invest energy and time in pointless discussions. The colleagues always know everything exactly and better. They do not allow doubts about their actions. Hardly anyone was interested in constructive exchange in the last few years. It was more a matter of picking up the knowledge of others and then emphasising one’s own greatness non-stop. The light painting community on Facebook, as it existed until a few years ago, has now almost completely disappeared. There is no longer any benevolent, respectful, appreciative, critical exchange between like-minded people. There are almost only stupid, completely irrelevant comments like “mega” or “masterpiece”. Often, critical comments under the pictures are deleted, or the comment function is switched off altogether. And those who are really cheeky are blocked. Outside their bubble of live composites, aquarium lamps, steel wool and colourful tubes, there is no Lightpainting. “Tim Gamble put the painting together on the computer, didn’t he?” Solely because his way of working is beyond their limited imagination. The willingness to question one’s own abilities and results and to learn from one’s own mistakes is close to zero. There are hardly any beginners or novices left who seek real, sound, critical advice and are grateful when someone helps them.
Even the pictures that are beaten around your ears, or rather around your sensitive eyes, are mostly mimicry or a copy of a copy of a copy. And everyone thinks they are the great artist because they have copied a boring, completely hackneyed light painting technique from some important “star”, preferably the whole picture at the same location with the same tools and the same colours. MEGA! You can do all that, but it has nothing to do with art and creativity. It’s painting by numbers. MEGA! And the fun finally stops when my Mimikri friends try to tell me that I don’t know anything about torches because I don’t use Led Lenser torches or similar well-founded wisdom that they have adopted unquestioningly. But I digress… To amuse you, here is a picture that has nothing whatsoever to do with the subject:
I was no longer willing to help figures like Mark Zuckerberg become even richer. In return, my reach was artificially limited more and more, probably because I didn’t pay for ads or was cheeky. Until a few years ago, in the absence of alternatives, it might have been a cool idea to publish posts with an account that you don’t own. My Facebook account with all its content belonged to Facebook and not to me. If Facebook thinks that my post doesn’t fit into some prefabricated narrative, then the post is deleted, and in case of doubt, the entire account. The best example is Donald Trump, whose Twitter account was deleted by the guardians of truth. You may think what you like of this person and his bizarre speeches, but even such people are allowed to express their opinions freely in my world. GG Art 5 : ZENSUR FINDET NICHT STATT: The friends of Facebook and Twitter should take a look at the Basic Law if they want to earn money in Germany. But the German law enforcement agencies are not making any discernible effort to put a stop to these goings-on. I, for one, am grown up and intelligent enough to decide for myself who or what is good, bad, right, wrong, beautiful or ugly. For that I don’t need any watchdogs from the anti-social media. And obviously I am not the only one who is bothered by this. The number of (active) users on Facebook has been steadily decreasing for several years.
On Instagram, the big artists then miraculously have 10,000 new “followers” overnight and are happy about all the important likes. How can people be so unconcerned? Has no one explained to them that this has nothing whatsoever to do with real life, with real creative work, and is therefore ultimately completely meaningless? It doesn’t give an artist any satisfaction to buy followers or to patent a special colour. I don’t feel the need to compete with others. My life is not a competition. I don’t need to win. Because that would mean that someone else loses. And why should that be in my interest? I get satisfaction from the success of a complex lightpainting, completely emancipated from any likes or MEGA! comments.
THERE WAS MORE TINSEL IN THE PAST!
Admittedly, without the fantastic possibilities of the internet, I would probably never have come into contact with the subject of light painting. Without the exchange with light painters from all over the world on platforms like Facebook, I would probably never have met my colleagues. Pala Teth, Mart Barras, MASS, Stabeu, Diliz, Phill Fisher, Dan Roberts, Denis Smith, Rob Turney and many more would not have come to Light Up in Berlin. We would never have waved our torches in front of the camera together and had a good laugh in the pub. Such platforms are quite suitable for personal exchange. But in a pinch, I write an email or set up a Discord server, but first I have to know that they exist.
And then there have long been good alternatives for presenting one’s art to the public and exchanging ideas with colleagues, such as Flickr. Without the “Light Junkies” group there, it would have been much harder for me to get started with light painting. Even 12 or 13 years ago, there were many very talented light painters there. Artists like tdub, David Hull, Led Eddie or Gareth Brooks, who sadly passed away much too early, were a great inspiration for me back then. I signed up for Flickr in 2013, so it’s my tenth anniversary. Champagne for everyone! I joined Facebook and Instagram a few years later. In retrospect, my concerns at the time were correct. Censorship, paternalism, arbitrariness, lack of data protection, annoying advertising etc. should actually keep everyone away from these “social” networks. But I was young, stupid, naive and needed the money. Oh no, the money thing is cancelled, you don’t earn any money with your art there. And lately there’s hardly any virtual applause there either. A little pee break:
When I started fiddling around with the torches in 2012, there were no explanatory bears who showed how light painting works in important Youtube films. I worked out almost everything I could on my own. I found inspiration, of course, but I had to switch on my brain to understand how light painting works. Today I am very grateful for that, even though it was a great effort at the time.
I have remained loyal to Flickr to this day. Almost all my pictures can be found there: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lichtkunstfoto/ You are spared from advertising there, but that also means that you are not allowed to advertise there yourself. So far I have been spared negative, destructive, envious people there. The range is not artificially limited. When I post a picture, it ends up in the stream of my followers at exactly the position in the timeline where I uploaded it. On Flickr, I can even present bare female breasts to the public. You can’t do that on Facebook and Instagram because of all the severely traumatised children that would result from looking at naked bodies. Not like the depictions of violence that you see there more often. Are children allowed to register there? And does anyone check the age? No? Then the “protection of minors” argument is complete bullshit. Especially since that would be the parents’ job anyway. Oh no, they don’t have time. They spend most of their time on Facebook and Instagram. But I’m digressing again…
On Flickr, hardly any people adhere to the absurd idea of expecting something in return for a like or comment, or rather, only giving out likes for likes or comments for comments. Also, people tend to follow those who deliver good pictures and not those who can suck up the best. You can see this quite well on my profile. I have 1622 followers at the moment and follow 367 people. The level on Flickr is a far cry from the kindergarten number on Instagram or even Facebook. I favour pictures that I like and not because the artist covers my pictures with adulation. Often I don’t even look at who the picture is by. So sometimes pictures uploaded by very unpleasant people get my appreciation. On the other hand, it takes a lot of time and effort to build up a large community there. This can only be achieved by regularly posting good pictures and sharing them in as many relevant groups as possible. And with a bit of luck, one or the other picture will end up on Flickr Explore and thus reach a very large audience, usually coupled with several new followers.
Welcome to the club of the greatest absurdities. In the photo community; the insiders say “fc”; you have to have a paid membership as “proof of age”. Only then are you allowed to look at the shapely, large breasts of the young ladies. With the “Free Account”, the number of pictures that may be uploaded is limited to 100. And you are not allowed to take part in the important competitions etc.. If anywhere the sick idea of mutual, insubstantial adulation is at home, it is in the “fc”. I upload a picture at the beginning of each year. After a year, I check back. The picture from a year ago has TWO likes and no comments. It can’t be the picture. On Flickr the picture has over 7000 views, has been added to favourites over 200 times and commented on 16 times. Here is the picture in question:
It’s the other way round with the photo community. 8, 9, 10 years ago, it was quite a pleasant virtual place. Today I can’t stand it there for 10 minutes. By the third comment at the latest about the extraordinary creative achievement of photographing someone else’s light painting performance, I feel sick. Actually, I wanted to delete the “fc” account a few years ago, but then I found the idea of one picture a year quite funny, even though no one there will probably understand it.
Actually, the photo forum is quite pleasant, although there’s not much going on there. Lately, I’m hardly ever there. I should upload some pictures again. https://www.fotoforum.de/user/sven-gerard
Subs is a social network that remunerates users on an NFT basis. I have an account there, but I only post new pictures to it very sporadically. This network is not very busy at the moment. I will soon take a closer look at Subs and report on it in more detail if necessary. https://www.subs.tv/
I currently put most of my time and energy into the decentralised, blockchain-based platform HIVE. Unlike all the networks mentioned above, you get paid for the content. There is no owner who lines his pockets. There is no censorship there. My account and my content is mine. There is no way to delete posts or user accounts, except by the account owner himself. At HIVE, I have so far been spared derogatory, disrespectful comments and, on the contrary, receive a lot of recognition for my work. That would not be such a good idea either. Comments are also honoured through upvotes, i.e. paid for. The whole issue of HIVE is very complex. For this reason, I will not elaborate on it here now and will write a separate article. Until then, I look forward to your visit to HIVE: https://ecency.com/@lichtkunstfoto/posts.
WHAT WILL THE FUTURE BRING?
In my opinion, the WEB 2.0 networks will disappear sooner or later, like StudiVZ, or at least become increasingly irrelevant. For artists who want to be taken seriously as such, Facebook and Instagram have always been completely unsuitable anyway. They’re just marketing tools. As an artist, I don’t want to deal with marketing and work like a businessman. The number of followers and likes is usually completely emancipated from the quality of the artwork presented. Great artists like Tim Gamble, MASS, the Dark Red Team or Patrick Scherer get much less applause there than colleagues who post the same irrelevant picture with some tubes every day.
I see my future, and the future of light painting as an art form, at HIVE at the moment. There is great recognition for our art form and the light painting artists active there. Upvotes of 60, 80 or even 100$ per contribution are not uncommon. And apart from the money paid out, there are a lot of people there who are very interested in our art and who seek a lively exchange with the artists. In my opinion, that’s how a social network works. Social doesn’t mean that I’m the big zampano and then tell my groupies which torches they have to buy and with which funny coloured tube or other rubbish they should paint their light traces into the picture. Social means that there are no masters, gods, popes or any other self-appointed authorities who try to determine what light painting is, what equipment has to be used, and who is allowed to play along and who is not.
In this sense, good light all the time