Authenticity

I have been thinking a lot about being authentic on this blog. Authenticity, along with my recent muse on consistency and minimalism, has spurred me to post text-only entries.

Ever since Brian Gardner discussed authenticity, I have been reflecting upon the direction of my blog. Why the lack of authenticity? Vulnerability. Fear. These are the common factors that drive people to have an online persona that is different from who they are.

Image crafting

Image crafting on social media is all too common. You share what they want people to see. Such selective sharing distorts others’ perception of them. They are unable to accept who they are or love themselves. Blame it on pride and in securities. They build a carefully constructed image of themselves to project to their online social circle.

Self-portraits are a good example of image crafting. By now, most internet-savvy users would be aware of how deceiving such photos are. Choose the right angle and the best framing to make themselves look completely different. Make up. Touch up. Some camera apps even have magic one-touch filters that cleans up the photos.

However, who are the image crafters really lying to? If the synthetic profile is the complete opposite of their real selves, the constructed image shatters when you meet them personally and start to get to know them. What would you think of them when you realise that it is a sham? Would you want to develop a friendship with a person if you can’t be sure if they are sincere? Therein lies the importances of authenticity. When you present your genuine self online, it helps you to connect with others.

What is the point of looking flawless and seemingly lead a lifestyle that makes others envious? Family and friends will, consciously or subconsciously, compare themselves with your life. This leads to a barrier that makes it harder to connect with them.

Being authentic

My thoughts on authenticity led me to consider ditching Facebook. I have greatly reduced what I share on Facebook, choosing to engage others on a more personal level through messaging or face-to-face discussion.

This blog is the ideal platform to continue sharing my thoughts. My tech commentaries have been moved to BakingPixel, a site I started with my friend Matt to share our views on tech news. Posting on BakingPixel has stirred me to share my thoughts and views here. Rather than restrict the blog to photography related posts only or trying to craft entries that tie my thoughts with my photos, I will be posting more text-only entries that focusses on the flow of my thoughts.

Freeing myself of being shackled by the desire to include photos with my entries should make it easier to post more consistently. Consistency is a goal that I strive for this year. Several tasks have become routines in my daily life and this has led to me making progress in several areas. Among them, writing longhand has made a great impact on me. It made me realise how the pen unleashes my thoughts and words flow with the ink. I will talk more about writing longhand in another entry. My daily writing has triggered the urge in me to blog and it seemed almost inevitable that I would end up with text-only entries.

Authenticity in photography

It is common for photographers to be very selective when it comes to the photos they share. However, there are some photographers who I admire that make me appreciate their genuineness by posting their photos freely. Instead of worrying about the quality of the photos, they post their photos regularly. And from there, I’m able to glean some of their thoughts and emotions.

Photographers are good image crafters, pun intended. It is no secret that photographers try to present our best works. It is understandable that only the very best photos should be considered in a photographer’s portfolio. Many of the great photographers are able to capture the decisive moment because they snap multiple shots. The money shot is filed into the portfolio and the misses are discarded. Take a look at the contact sheets of the famous photographers and you’ll notice a sequence of the same scene. Of course, that doesn’t meant you hold the shutter release and pray for a good shot. Experience hones your anticipation. And through anticipation you know the right moment to use burst modes.

Is it wrong for photographers to be selective of our work? The answer is no. Photographers are artists first and foremost and it is only natural for us to strive for the best shots. However, when it comes to a more personal platform like a blog, I feel that being authentic plays a big part in helping you to connect with your readers. It doesn’t hurt to let yourself be vulnerable and share photos that illustrate your thoughts.

What are your views on being authentic as a photographer?