No More Competing for “Favs” and “Likes”

Artists of all types starve for recognition and affirmation. A few years ago, I began looking for that love in all the wrong places. I still have accounts with Instagram, Flickr, and Behance, but use them very little. No more competing for “favs” and “likes” for my photography.

Pitfalls of Social Media

The entire social media scene is a pit for the arts, including photography. If you pay attention, you can witness the games the “influencers” play. On Instagram, a pattern of behavior emerged for me. A person would make a comment, give me a “like”, and begin to follow me. Influenced by flattery, I followed back, usually after viewing their profile and making some nice comments about several of their images. The very next day, my follower count went down by one and the person was gone.

These sites are good for nothing unless you want to delude yourself. They do not sell your work. You will not get honest feedback on your work.

Other Ways to Seek Affirmation

Become a member of a local gallery and associate with real people who are working in the same medium as you. Be brave and exhibit your work. Participate in a few juried exhibits. Put a price on your stuff that is significantly more than the cost of the frame. With time and talent, you will find art patrons who will be willing to pay the price for your best.

The Photographic Society of America offers digital international competitions and exhibitions. Some of these offer critiques by exhibition judges for a small fee. Scoring an “acceptance” at one of these is significant and is another form of feedback that you can get from competing. My blog post Photographers, You Could Be Seeing Stars, summarizes the PSA exhibitions.

Realities of the Current Art World

Those are bold ideas, but let me introduce you to a current obstacle that neither talent nor social media can surmount. People are not buying art. The places where art might hang are occupied by flat-screen televisions and snaps from handhelds. Nevertheless, there are sales opportunities and the satisfaction of selling a piece is enormous.

After discussing this with other artists that I respect, most of us agree that we create because we enjoy creating. Some get added joy from teaching art. There remains a small market for creatives in advertising, publishing, and other niches. Very few artists become truly famous, like Koons, Kincaid, and Warhol. In their cases, it is amazing that they found a way to market their crap. Most of us must be content to find joy in the process and results of creation.

Do Not Rely on Social Media

The social media accounts do not cost anything to maintain. I did give up my subscription for the Flicker “Pro” designation, but I did not delete my account. It does not pay to waste a lot of time on social media. The likelihood of being “discovered” there is remote. You will only find yourself playing the silly games with “favs” and “likes”. No more competing for “favs” and “likes” for me.

See My Live Streams from Jaffrey

Last season I began to produce and edit the Stories to Share series of YouTube live stream broadcasts from the Jaffrey Civic Center in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. I invite you to see my live streams from Jaffrey. The link to the coming live stream is found on the Jaffrey Civic Center YouTube channel. Click on “Uploads” and select “Upcoming live streams”.

Season 2

The Season 2 of the Stories to Share series started on October 7, 2022, with a great presentation by author Ernest Hebert. Each new episode will be streamed on the first Friday of each month through May, 2023, beginning at 5:00 PM. The streams usually last about one hour and each features an interesting guest speaker. Each coming episode is described on the JCC Events Page.

Live Stream Setup

Well before the production date, I create the opening and closing credits videos. To produce these streams live, I bring lighting, audio, and video equipment to the Jaffrey Civic Center. There is no in-house audio or stage lighting. It usually takes a while to unload my car and carry all of the equipment into the auditorium. The equipment is set up early on the day of broadcast so that I can test everything.

To light the stage I use up to three mono-lights. Up to four microphones and four cameras are needed to provide audio and video for the stream. All of the cables and power connections are done as each piece of equipment is set up. Usually I use from two to four camera angles, depending on the style of presentation.

Live Stream Production

It is quite a production to accomplish as the lone person setting up and running all of the equipment. At the beginning of an event I start the stream, run the opening credits, and give a hand signal to the moderator to start the show. During the presentation, I run specific scenes using broadcast software and switch cameras using a video switch. Sometimes I use a volunteer to run one of the cameras to keep it pointed at a speaker who wants to move around the stage. At the end of the presentation there is usually a question and answer session where I will relay YouTube chat questions and comments to the moderator.

Live Stream and Film Ambitions

Producing and editing live streams is a lot of fun for me. At the moment I am doing it at no charge. I am willing to do it for other organizations provided I feel that I can add value, provided I have the equipment to produce a credible result, and provided I personally consider the project as interesting.

The equipment suite also lends itself to filming. Recently I have done a few documentary interview films and plan to do more. There are other film projects that I would consider doing at no charge with the same caveats that I have for live streaming.

If you have an idea for a live stream or a film and are ready to produce it or to discuss feasibility, contact me at [email protected].

See other video work that I have produced on my Videos page.

My First Live Stream Was Stressful

I have done quite a few videos for my bicycle touring channel on YouTube, Edek’s Attic. For all of those, I had the luxury of editing the content after-the-fact. Live streaming is totally different. My first live stream was stressful. My first live stream was a virtual reception for my photo exhibit in Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

Once you click “GO LIVE”, you are on the air and you can’t take mistakes back. I have a lot of respect for television personalities who do this kind of thing for a living. Much of their success I suppose is experience. Some people are also good at riffing or improvising. That is not me.

So, I took a lot of time to prepare and rehearse. My script was initially nine pages of bullets and I planned to refer to them frequently during the live stream, if not actually read them. That turned out to be a bad idea because turning pages was awkward and reading took my eyes away from the camera. Eventually, that boiled down to one page of bullets for key points that I needed to make.

Using Open Broadcaster Software, I was able to record my dry runs and self-critique. My wife, Marne, also had a go at critiquing my performance. During my preparations, I probably did six recorded sessions, improving my presentation each time.

Even with the presentation perfected, there remained the mechanics of self-directing. There were introduction and credit videos to queue. There was an on-camera period for me and a PowerPoint slide presentation of my photos. All of this was set up in OBS ahead of time and transitions rehearsed. Managing all of the transitions during the live stream was another thing that I needed to do. At the same time, I was trying to concentrate on my presentation.

The result was a good first effort, although I only had seven live viewers. The recorded stream in now on my Edek’s Photos YouTube channel. I am hoping to add to my list of subscribers on the channel with this and other videos in the near future. I am planning videos on using Photoshop to develop video frames, creating basic videos using DaVinci Resolve, and understanding color management for photography.

Stay tuned.

Love That Dirty Water Virtual Reception Scheduled

On February 1, 2022 I will present the Love That Dirty Water Photo Exhibit Virtual Reception on YouTube to be broadcast live at 7 PM Eastern. “Love That Dirty Water” is an exhibit of my street photos that is currently showing through February 20, 2022, at the Jaffrey Civic Center, Jaffrey, New Hampshire. I will present my background, as well as a discussion of street photography, the exhibit at the Jaffrey Civic Center, and my approach to street photography, using examples from the exhibit. For photographers, I will briefly touch upon street photography techniques and equipment.

River Dance

I will take questions via live chat during the broadcast. To chat with me, you will need to be logged in to your Google account. You do not need a gmail account. During the broadcast, a button to create your channel for chat will be displayed in the chat window.

After broadcast, the video of the broadcast will be available on my YouTube channel EdeksPhotos. You can also find my channel by searching YouTube for EdeksPhotos.

Northwest United States Road Trip Photo Stories

My wife Marne and I completed a fourteen day road trip that began on August 14 and took us from Chicago through Illinois, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. During our drive, I took over 450 photos and these selected images tell our northwest United States road trip photo stories. These are the shots from our trip that I like the most.

The Badlands

The first image is from the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. In the hills you can see the different colored layers of volcanic material laid down by 50 million years of volcanic ash deposited from volcanoes that were many miles away. By chance, the colors of the woman and her clothes mimicked the landscape. She might have lost her hat if it had not been strapped to her head since the wind was blowing hard.

Northwest United States Road Trip Photo Stories
Admiring The Badlands

Mount Rushmore

At another stop, Mount Rushmore, we enjoyed our visit to the iconic sculptures on the mountaintop. There were two people with face masks standing apart from the other tourists who were there. When I look at the image, it evokes emotions of the pandemic. Both the young person and the older gentleman appear tense and disengaged from the experience. To me the image is a reminder of the damage the pandemic has done to the joys of life. The fear, real or imagined, guides the lives of many people. This is not a political statement, but a sad fact of life that we have all lived for well over a year.

fear has taken joy from many activities during the pandemic
Faces Of The Pandemic


During a subsequent day, we drove through Sturgis, South Dakota, and visited the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame. Sturgis is the location of the largest annual motorcycle rally in the world. Just five days earlier, the 2021 rally ended, yet I was hoping to capture at least one image of people on motorcycles in Sturgis. The image that I captured shows the biker in the foreground wearing shoes that are nearly new and jeans that are spotless. Perhaps he is a pin stripe suit professional when he is not on the road on his Harley. Both riders sit astride similar Harley Davidson motorcycles and that one thing established the common ground between them. As a bicycle tourist myself, I feel that I have a love of traveling and the open road in common with them.

motorcyclists meet in Sturgis, South Dakots
Common Ground In Sturgis


On the Olympic Peninsula, we stopped at a site that overlooks the town of Sekiu. We could not resist the urge to drive down into the town to look around. It appeared to be mostly a camping and fishing community. Judging by the boats, both commercial and sport fishing are done from the small bay there. From the beach I saw some interesting activity a few docks away from me. I walked to that location and I met two men who were filleting freshly caught fish. The fish were caught from their boat several miles west near the coast of Neah Bay. From the looks of it, they had enough fish for several meals.

filleting freshly caught fish in the dock at Sekiu harbor
Catch Of The Day

Rialto Beach

One of our final stops on the Olympic Peninsula was Rialto Beach. As we walked toward the beach, we passed a man and woman who were donning large backpacks. I commented to them about the size of the loads that they carried. They explained that they planned to hike up the beach to overnight in the wooded shore that appeared to be about a mile away. The image on the beach was captured as they discussed final plans before hiking up the beach.

preparing to hike to an overnight camp on Rialto Beach
Hiking North On Rialto Beach

Remembering The Trip

As you can see, it was a great trip and we covered over 3300 miles, experiencing features of our country west of the Mississippi that are separated by great distances. Along the way there were many opportunities to observe people who were creating their own moments in those places. For me, these images almost stand alone to tell the story of those moments.

Please visit my Portfolio to see an additional selection of my street photographs.

Street Photography Article Is Published

My street photography article is published in the PSA Journal issue for August 2021. The PSA Journal is a monthly publication of the Photographic Society of America. Actually, you can download a sample copy here to see what the Journal is all about

In summary, I cover the origin of street photography and my own journey in street photography. Also, to illustrate my style and approach, I included select photographs from my library. Finally, I included the full, copyrighted article below.

Video Image Display for a Photo Show

In May 2020 I have a solo street photography show and I will have over twenty prints in the exhibit. A friend made the recommendation to supplement the print exhibit using digital images. At first I balked since the idea of a monitor or projector connected to a computer or laptop in the gallery seemed cumbersome. Since it was an idea that had merit, my mind churned on it in the background until I came up with a solution that I plan to use.

My solution combines a 23″ monitor on an easel with a Raspberry Pi microcontroller to run a video. The monitor size is important since people will be viewing the images at close range. I think that 23″ is nearly the maximum size for that reason. Mounting the monitor on an artist easel makes it feel less like an electronic gimmick and more like art.

As with many projects of this type, following the steps below may not work for you for some reason. I did some hacking and debug to get it to work and you may find it necessary to do so as well. My objective is to describe the steps that I took and to provide a starting point. For help in getting through problems should you decide to try my approach, I refer you to the many Raspberry Pi resources on the Internet.

For the remainder of this discussion you will need to be reasonably well-versed in the use and configuration of computers. The steps discussed assume that you have a recent model Raspberry Pi. I am using a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ that I have in a plastic case as well as Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. After following the steps below, the keyboard and mouse will not be necessary when the setup is in the gallery because powering up the Pi and the monitor will start the video at boot. The discussion also assumes that you can navigate the Pi Raspbian Graphical User Interface and the nano editor.

For help getting the Raspberry Pi to display a video I turned to Adafruit and their video looper project. I followed the steps exactly and was able to run a trial video on the first try. Some changes must be made to adapt the video looper to begin playing at boot. To automatically begin play at boot, the video must be copied to a directory on the flash boot drive and the video_looper.ini file must be edited.

To copy the video I used the Raspbian GUI file manager to copy from a thumb drive to the /home/pi/video folder. Plug the thumb drive into the Pi and open the GUI file manager. Navigate to the /media/pi folder to find the thumb drive. If you attempt to copy to the video folder you may get a “permission denied” message or something like that. To get permission, go to the file manager Tools menu and select “Run a Command in Current Folder”. In the command window, enter “gksudo pcmanfm” followed by the “Enter” key. This will open a new window where you will have the necessary permissions. In the new window you will be able to drag and drop the video file from the thumb drive to the video folder.

The next thing to do is edit the video_looper.ini file. The best way to do that is to enter  sudo nano /boot/video_looper.ini in the command line window. The command opens the configuration file in the nano editor. Find the lines with the file_reader option. Change file_reader = usb_drive to a comment line by adding “#” to the beginning of the line. Delete the “#” from the file_reader = directory line. This sets the video looper to play the video from the /video directory instead of the thumb drive.

The remainder of the setup is mechanical and depends somewhat on personal preferences. I plan to hide the Raspberry Pi and the monitor power brick behind a placard hanging at the bottom of the monitor. The idea is to keep all of the electronics invisible except for the monitor itself. The power cords will be strapped to an easel leg and led down to a power strip on the floor.

The other bit of mechanics is developing the video itself. I use Photoshop CC to develop the main title, image titles, and the credits frames and I use Cyberlink PowerDirector to do the editing and rendering of the video. The image frames are exported from Lightroom Classic CC and imported in to PowerDirector. My video is a kind of slide show where each image title and image get about fifteen seconds of viewing time. I have ten images and the total length of the video is two minutes and forty five seconds, including a title at the beginning and a credit frame at the end. Each image title is numbered “N of 10” so that visitors know what to expect in terms of video duration. My recommendation is to keep the video short to hold the attention of the gallery visitors through the entire video.

This is something new for a gallery photography show and it will be exciting to see what kind of reception it gets from critics and gallery visitors. This approach is a method to get gallery visitors engaged in a different and unexpected way. At this point in time gallery exhibitions need all of the help they can get.

Lightroom 2018 and the Cloud

I like being able to access files across multiple platforms. The suite of Lightroom CC Classic,Lightroom CC, and Lightroom Mobile provides that for me with my image files.Because of complaints posted online, I waited for some time before upgrading. The new versions caused some confusion because of the names of the applications. The old Lightroom CC became Lightroom CC Classic and in my opinion it remains a strong desktop tool. The new Lightroom CC is cloud-based and it compliments Lightroom CC Classic on the desktop as well as other handheld platforms. Lightroom CC provides the platform independence that I like. If you subscribe to Lightroom CC, you can access your images on handhelds using Lightroom Mobile. More about that in a moment.

People blanch at the cost of the Creative Cloud software since it is now sold as a monthly or annual subscription rather than as a license that you purchase once. As an amateur photographer, I have justified paying for the subscription since my software will never be out of date and I will not need to go through the upgrade machinations every so often. Software is constantly being upgraded to accommodate new hardware, to fix bugs, and to add new features. I want those things and would rather not be bothered with the timing and cost of license upgrades.

Once past the sticker shock, the new Lightroom suite has great potential. Lightroom CC Classic works pretty much like the old Lightroom CC. It has some updated editing features and presets that I like. When installed, it converts your catalog and moves it to a new directory to complete the installation.

Lightroom CC is a different story. It is cloud-based. It has a more streamlined appearance than Classic and less functionality. Lightroom CC allows you to share your images seamlessly among all of your devices from desktop to handheld to smart phone. You have access to your presets and to most editing features across all of the platforms. Many professionals are concerned that the cloud storage is too costly given the sizes of their libraries. I agree, but my approach is to manage the amount of cloud storage that I use.

Between Lightroom CC Classic and Lightroom CC, I use a different workflow. Classic is work station based, which is fine, especially when you are dealing with large libraries. My flow goes from memory card to Windows folder on a scratch drive for sorting and selection. Selected images go into another folder on a drive that is backed up and that folder gets imported into Lightroom CC Classic for processing. From there I do a final screening before digital or print.

Personally, Lightroom CC is not as suitable for that type of flow unless you want to commit to using the Adobe cloud. For me it is more suitable for another type of flow. Since it syncs with iOS Lightroom Mobile, many options are available for mobile photographers. Images can be synchronized among iPhone, iPad, and desktop computer and with Lightroom CC Classic. Images can be edited and shared with fewer steps.

As a street photographer, Lightroom Mobile is a motivation for shooting more using the phone. In a pinch, I like having that option, but I still prefer my cameras and lenses. In my trial run, I took some images at the local Independence Day parade using my iPhone. I did my initial image review on the iPhone and deleted my rejects. The second pass was cropping and edits that I would usually do on my desktop. In some cases, I use presets and my personal presets are available on my handheld devices as well as the desktop. I was happy with the results.

Once edited, Lightroom Mobile provided many options for sharing the images. Images can be shared with popular apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Images can be copied to cloud services such as Google Docs. Images can be printed on compatible WiFi printers.

One downside is that when I take pictures using my iPhone, they are automatically imported into Lightroom Mobile. That’s not helpful when I’m at the hardware store taking photos of flooring. I haven’t found a method for selectively importing. So, I delete the flooring photos from Lightroom.

On my desktop, most of my editing and library management is done using Lightroom CC Classic. If I want to share specific images, I set up collections that automatically syncs with Lightroom CC. Lightroom CC syncs with Lightroom CC Classic, so anything that I captured and edited using the mobile apps is not lost or relegated strictly to the cloud.

I manage my cloud storage because I do not want to commit to storing everything on the Creative Cloud. I love being able to sync and edit anywhere, but I still rely heavily on Lightroom CC Classic to manage my entire catalog. To accomplish this and avoid making a mess of my catalog, I use Lightroom CC to screen and delete unwanted images before I sync with Lightroom CC Classic. I have Lightroom CC Classic sync turned off until I’m ready to commit. If you enable sync all of the time you will get images that you do not necessarily want to keep.

I delete images from Lightroom CC and from the cloud on a regular basis to control the amount of cloud storage that I use. Those extra steps are the price to pay for mobility. Lightroom CC and Lightroom Mobile are probably not for everybody, although understanding the capabilities gives you options that can be useful.