Kirk Tuck - No more blogging? - Why do I do it?

Kirk Tuck has announced on his site that he is to stop daily / regular posting on his blog.

That's a shame, since I've always enjoyed his thoughts. Some of he reasons he gives as follows:-

"Yesterday I posted a piece about the Olympus EPM1 camera (which I liked) and, mixed in with genuine responses was a post by someone who liked the photos of an attractive woman but felt that the rest of the blog was of little value.  His/her comment really bothered me.  In the age of free content I guess we need thick skins but it made me step back and really think about how I was spending my time.

I should have been on the phone continuing to make calls to prospective clients.  I should have been working on the two book projects I have in front of me.  I should have been swimming or running.  But instead I was writing a piece about a $499 camera that will be obsolete in a few months and lost to nearly everyone's memory in a year.

Sure, there's an ego reward that goes along with putting out a blog.  On a good day we'll have 12,000 pageviews of the material here.   My name recognition among photographers is currently strong. If I liked doing workshops that would be a good thing.  If I had products to sell to other photographers that would be a good thing.  But the time spent here is time stolen from things that are more important for me.

We had a good run.  Now I'm turning my attention back to where it should have been all along:  How to re-invent what I do to make it fun and sustaining for my family.

I'm done spending time creating content for free.  It's a great way to make friends I never get to meet.  Putting something out to the public is a two edged sword.  Some people love it and some people will argue with anything."

Reading these comments led me to think about why I spend so much time on this blog? 

There is certainly an element of gratification in people reading what you write, but Kirks point about generating free content, when you are a working professional is a good one. A while ago I decided that if I was going to spend the amount of time that I was doing it, then I would see if I could generate some income from it. Since I was giving up time from what is after all, how I make my living, to write these posts and do these reviews. However the addition of advertising to the site has been an almost total failure. It is doubtful if the amount of money that comes in from it will even pay for the various accounts that I  use to host the material, i.e flickr and my apple account.

So what do I get out of it?

When it started I was basically writing for myself. For the most part I work alone or with Ann and occasionally with my nephew. However since I've wound up the wedding photography business those occasions are very rare. It gives me the opportunity therefore to have some dialogue with other photographers and help clarify where I want to go, what I want to use etc.

I've more or less given up on forums, as they seem to be endlessly recycling the same old arguments or praising some pretty ordinary work. So I decided to concentrate on this as my means of contact with the internet photographic community.

I even started to buy gear with the sole reason of reviewing it, intending to sell it on. However as with my Nikons, I've ended up keeping it and I now have a ridiculous amount of money tied up in equipment, some of which is used very rarely. That is certainly a situation that is going to have to change. I checked how many images I had taken with my Leica M9 the other day and it was 6685 in just under 2 years. Add in the cost of the lenses that I have for it and it has cost me £1 every time I've pressed the shutter. That doesn't make economic sense. So I'm going to have to either use it a lot more, or sell it. Do I really need 3 m4/3 cameras, 2 Nikon DSLR's and a Sony NEX-C3 that I bought to see if I liked the system because of the upcoming NEX-7? The answer to those questions is obviously no.

Despite the economic situation, I'm still continuing to sell pictures on a regular basis. Not quite as much as in previous years, but I still have a pretty healthy turnover. However, a recent burst of editing and uploading of new material resulted in an increase in sales and made me realise that instead of just ticking over, I could actually increase what I earn by spending more time doing what pays the mortgage instead of sharing my thoughts on what Kirk accurately describes as "a .... camera that will be obsolete in a few months and lost to nearly everyone's memory in a year"

I have no intention whatsover of winding this up or even cutting back on the posts, but I am seriously considering changing how it fits in with what I do.

I spend a lot of time sitting here editing and uploading, and there is a lot of time spent twiddling my thumbs waiting for panoramas to stitch together, or images to upload or transfer to hard disks, and indeed I started doing this as a way to spend my time in a stimulating manner while those things were happening. However in the last few months, it has become an end in itself and there has been a serious decline in my professional productivity.

I'm not Thom Hogan or Michael Reichmann who write books, make videos and run field trips, all of which generate income for them. They can use their internet presence to lead people to their income generating sources. I make my living from selling pictures on internet stock library sites and I suspect that this blog doesn't really help much with that. 

So my intention is that this blog will become more "appropriate" to what I do and complement it, rather than being a substitute or alternative to it. I've spent too much time recently boosting my ego and ignoring my bank balance and that has to change.