I have wittered previously about editing your work and only showing your best stuff, but that doesn’t mean playing for likes.
If you try to take the same pictures as someone else, at best you will have an imitation. It’s valid to try and recreate a technique to learn something new, but copying a picture could be plagiarism at worst, or a marked lack of originality at best. It might feel safer to be like everyone else, but where’s the fun in that?
OK, that may be true for small values of fun. As we know, things which are different are criticised. The ability of social media to give an anonymous voice to the critical and sarcastic is a problem. Or it would be if you let it. If you don’t want the gratuitous attacks of a baying herd, don’t stand in front of one. That’s one option. The other is that if you ignore the crowd, you’ll be happier.
But how can you possibly ignore what people say about you or your work? Well, who are you taking pictures for?
If you are taking pictures for money, then the people who matter are your clients. So your work should be visible to current and future clients and there is no need for a method of leaving comments or feedback: if anyone wants to discuss a picture, bring money. Being paid is the only form of feedback you need.
But if you are taking pictures for pleasure, who’s pleasure is it? Do you need the approval of others? Do you need to show your pictures to the world, or to the people who matter to you?
Are we comparing likes or soap powders?
So I think you have two choices: keep your work to yourself and people who matter to you or show your work to the world but disable or ignore the feedback. Yes, I know, I’m both showing pictures and allowing feedback in this blog. But it’s small circulation – if I do start getting negative feedback I’ll see if I can disable the likes and comments. I can live without approval – I work in IT.
There is also a view, expressed best in the Filmosaur Manifesto, that you have no control over what people see in your pictures. So stop worrying that they misunderstand, because they are bound to.
Perhaps the best response to criticism is Elizabeth Gilbert’s – “if people don’t like what you’re creating, just smile at them sweetly and tell them to go make their own fucking art.”
And the best cure for worrying about opinion is the story about Arlene and Richard in the book that has the same title as the story – “what do you care what other people think?”.