Blank and White

10 October 2015

On issues sur­round­ing con­tent-cre­ation and the impli­ca­tions which dig­i­tal art can have for con­ven­tion­al art forms.

What made you start blog­ging?

For me, blog­ging start­ed off as a cre­ative vent that allowed me to not only share my work with oth­ers, but also be inspired by the cre­ative con­tent of those in the blog­ging com­mu­ni­ty.

What is your (design) aes­thet­ic?

My style is very stripped down, min­i­mal, raw and earth-bound. When­ev­er I take pho­tographs I always incor­po­rate as many nat­ur­al ele­ments as I can, espe­cial­ly light­ing. The in-between, unno­ticed moments of events are also impor­tant to me so when­ev­er I’m shoot­ing peo­ple, I’m look­ing for unex­pect­ed move­ments or emo­tions to cap­ture.

Has it/how has social media changed your (design) aes­thet­ic?

At the out­set, social media was noth­ing more than just a way to con­nect with my friends and post rude com­ments on each other’s walls or upload a quick (and dodgy) snap of what I was eat­ing; but as time went on, there was a greater recog­ni­tion of the amount of influ­ence one could hold through this mod­ern phe­nom­e­non of social media, so long as they knew how to use it prop­er­ly. I’ve been on Insta­gram for a pret­ty long time and it wasn’t until two years or so ago that I began real­is­ing that brands could actu­al­ly work with influ­encers through curat­ing con­tent that aligned with the creator’s per­son­al style. So in a sense, social media has opened my eyes to an entire­ly new world of con­tent-cre­ation and net­work­ing, but my per­son­al style and aes­thet­ic have remained con­stant and unchang­ing, and brands are real­is­ing the impor­tance of that, too.

Do you feel pres­sured into pre­sent­ing your pho­tos in a cer­tain way? If so, exam­ple?

Because my style, as men­tioned ear­li­er, is very min­i­mal and sim­plis­tic, there are cer­tain pho­tographs I wouldn’t post sim­ply because they wouldn’t fit, for exam­ple pic­tures tak­en in low (or arti­fi­cial) light­ing or scenes that are too clut­tered. That being said, it’s more of a cre­ative choice than a pres­suris­ing expec­ta­tion placed on me by my engaged readers/viewers to lim­it my cre­ativ­i­ty.

How do you feel when you don’t get many likes on a pho­to? Do you delete it and post anoth­er?

As much as I appre­ci­ate num­bers and sta­tis­tics as a method of see­ing how well my posts are doing, in a strate­gic sense of deter­min­ing how to improve my posts, I find it extreme­ly dis­turb­ing that likes are con­sid­ered so para­mount in the ‘sta­tus’ of some­body in terms of pop­u­lar­i­ty or ‘fame’ (how many times have you heard some­one utter the term ‘ins­ta-famous’?). So no, I don’t delete pho­tographs sole­ly based on how lit­tle likes they receive. If I ever do delete a pho­to­graph, it’d be an embar­rass­ing one my friends post­ed after steal­ing my phone.

Vice-ver­sa, how do you feel when you get lots of likes? Does it make you want to share your designs/pictures more?

It feels awe­some! Bear­ing in mind what I’ve men­tioned above and my revul­sion with the cul­ture framed upon likes and ‘fame’ being so cru­cial in order to feel ‘sat­is­fied’, I do think likes are like a pat on the back say­ing ‘well done on cre­at­ing good con­tent’. So when­ev­er one of my pho­tographs receive a great(er) amount of likes, I see it as moti­va­tion to do bet­ter next time and also focus, strate­gi­cal­ly, on post­ing more pho­tographs of a sim­i­lar nature.

Do you think it would be hard to make a liv­ing off a blog on social media (as being in the cre­ative indus­try)?

As with every indus­try, there are inher­ent dif­fi­cul­ties with get­ting into the field and then doing well in the field. To me, I think social media has evolved to become greater than what con­ven­tion­al cul­tures and val­ues can grasp a hold of, so it’s only nat­ur­al that any­thing extend­ing beyond tra­di­tion­al media will be seen as pecu­liar, or even stu­pid for some, so that itself is a dif­fi­cul­ty in being a con­tent cre­ator on social media. But I think that so long as it’s some­thing that sparks your inter­est and makes you tick, then your pas­sion for it will over­ride any sort of obsta­cle that you face, whether it be finan­cial­ly or just some­body telling you that blog­ging ‘isn’t a real job’.

Do you think social media helps striv­ing artists to get out there and make a liv­ing? If so how/how not?

Absolute­ly. Social media enables one to con­nect with indi­vid­u­als from around the globe and it’s amaz­ing how many oppor­tu­ni­ties can unfold when your con­tent hits a note with some­body else. Word of mouth is an incred­i­bly pow­er­ful tool that not only brands but also artists can use to get them­selves out there, which is one of the most impor­tant things in the cre­ative field when there are a myr­i­ad range of art­works float­ing every­where and your voice seems mut­ed in the chaos of every­thing.

What do you think about the con­cept of ‘get­ting the per­fect cam­era angle’ or flat-lay spreads?

Admit­ted­ly, I am a com­plete cam­era-geek when it comes to tech­ni­cal­i­ties so when­ev­er I take a pho­to­graph, I’m always look­ing for bright, nat­ur­al light­ing, and also a good cam­era angle. That being said, I don’t think there is the ‘per­fect cam­era angle’ because sub­ject mat­ters dif­fer in every con­text, so there’s no step-by-step, recipe-like method­ol­o­gy you can fol­low to get ‘the per­fect shot’ but I do think that if you have that con­scious­ness of angles, along with all oth­er pho­to­graph­ic fun­da­men­tals, then you will be able to pro­duce some qual­i­ty con­tent. Also yes, I love flat-lays. They’re great!

Final­ly, do you think social media has become a prob­lem for the arts indus­try? If not, explain.

Tak­ing into account all of the above­men­tioned things I’ve referred to about social media, and the inher­ent dif­fi­cul­ties of some­thing so nov­el and unusu­al to have evolved from tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ments, I think that in a way tra­di­tion­al art forms, like can­vas paint­ings for exam­ple, can become some­what silenced or even ignored because this entire dig­i­tal form is ‘tak­ing over’ con­ven­tion­al art forms. Peo­ple are now obsessed with apps like Insta­gram and even though that is itself ‘art’, there is an entire range of oth­er art forms that can only be ful­ly appre­ci­at­ed with the naked eye when you’re in an art exhi­bi­tion, in a room, with a group of oth­er admir­ers. Tak­ing a pho­to­graph of a paint­ing and then post­ing it on Insta­gram does not do the art­work any jus­tice. And notwith­stand­ing the fact that they’re not explic­it­ly mutu­al­ly exclu­sive (in the sense that you can’t have tra­di­tion­al art forms when you have dig­i­tal art from social media) there are under­ly­ing prob­lems that could stir up if the scale tips towards this new, fas­ci­nat­ing notion of social media. On the flip side, this sud­den obses­sion with dig­i­tal art could also just be an evolve­ment of art in its ever-trans­for­ma­tive jour­ney. Like we’ve seen in the past with art evolv­ing through­out cer­tain time peri­ods, this could just be one of them and there’s always some­thing excit­ing wait­ing just around the cor­ner.


Arti­cle and Goods wal­let
Fjord Time­pieces watch
Read This if You Want to Take Great Pho­tographs by Hen­ry Car­oll
View the full inter­view with Stephanie Lara here

Some Suggestions

  • Inter­est­ing read! I just had a look at your Insta­gram feed and love your design aes­thet­ics — I’m in awe of its con­sis­ten­cy. I’m still find­ing my way on what to post on Insta­gram. Ha, I guess I’m find­ing my way in a lot of areas. Oh well, nev­er a dull moment 😉

  • vik­to­ria

    amaz­ing post! thanks for shar­ing

  • Love this post. Very true and hon­est. Total­ly agree­ing on the ins­ta-famous, num­ber likes and what nots. If the amount of ‘likes’ affects one’s cre­ativ­i­ty and pas­sion, that has some­thing to say about whether or not is it blog­ging for pas­sion or just for fame. 


    Real Life Nerd //

  • Your writ­ing is bril­liant and your pho­tog­ra­phy is tasteful—I absolute­ly love catch­ing up with your blog.

  • Love your flat­lay style — so clean!

    Mr Essen­tial­ist