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Why I need community

One of the things I like best about photography is that I can do it by myself. It is a solo act. Often I collaborate with people who are the subjects of my work, models, strangers and the like, but the bulk of the effort is just me in my studio.  Other mediums and genres rely on crews of helpers, outside suppliers and service providers. My photography is me start to finish, taking pictures and making prints.

That said, I long for a community of other photographers so I can share my work, talk about our lives as artists, and navigate the art world in general.

After my Instagram account was hacked I spent time thinking about all of this and realized I had been using social media as a solution for this need of community. A poor solution indeed. We all know the drill online, fly through pages of pictures, look at them for a few seconds and double tap our way through. I think we can do better.

I appreciate the connectivity of being online, conversations and exchanges with folks that live far and wide. I appreciate less the parts that social media companies do to the conversations.

My plan you ask? I want to spend the time I was on social media to create and join conversations here on this blog, corresponding with my fellow artists, and looking at work with out of town folks on zoom print sharing sessions. 

Join the conversations when you have time.



Ray, it’s great to see your blog powered up! The conversation has broadened both geographically and subject-wise, using this tool. Nothing will fully have the impact of face to face contact but this is good enough.

I’d like to ask you, other than dealing with troublesome social media, what is the most difficult issue you are working with in your artist’s life? And if I may, how do you address it?

See you around! Thanks for all you do!

Atelier Cascabel Press / Ray Bidegain printmaker replied:
Hi Walt: Thank you for joining the conversation. Your question is one that has been on my mind plenty this past week after the demise of my Instagram account. I am lucky in my practice as an artist because I do not suffer any lapses in inspiration or passion for making new work. I do however struggle with the idea of finding ways to get my work out into the world that is both effective and satisfying. The thing that brings me the most joy is knowing that the objects I make are in the lives of the kind folks who collect them. This feeling is what drives my passion for making prints and making new work. While knowing that x number of people have seen my work on the internet is nice, the reality is, the nice feeling is about as brief as the viewing likely is. So the struggle for me is coming up with ways to market the work (a reality for artists today) that is both effective and affordable. Not to mention under my control, one of the flaws reveled to me recently with the IG foolishness. We live in modern times, galleries feel less helpful and accessible than they once were to photographers. Social media is a powerful but troublesome venue that at times feel almost mandatory to any living artist. The answer for all of us is out there we just have to keep looking. Be well, Ray

Tom Nirider

Ray, thanks for sharing this perspective. Yes, I’ve been feeling isolated for much of the past couple of years…like everyone probably. I too have been questioning the value of social media both for my personal use and for sharing art. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is just lost, wasted time. I am going to move off of Instagram. It’s not a positive experience for me. As for FB, I would love to leave there but for the family and friends I connect with through that forum. I think I will keep the FB account and just limit my “exposure time”… Thanks for initiating the Zoom meetings, I will try to join you.

Atelier Cascabel Press / Ray Bidegain printmaker replied:
"Hi Tom: Great to hear from you. I truly think it is a challenge to understand this. For all I know we may have met for the first time because of social media. My personal challenge is to find the way that I can feel like I exist in the landscape of art photography and play a role if I am not on Instagram for an hour a day. I find myself stunned at the end of the day when my phone lets me know about the time I’ve “ invested”. I trust we will continue to cross paths here and there. Maybe out at The Lightbox Gallery in March.

Rielynn Lunde

This is fantastic! I love your perspective around social media and community! I would not be doing tintypes as I am now if it wasn’t for you! I took a class from you years ago and it totally changed my world. I just want to thank you for reaching out and for what you have done to offer your artistry, knowledge, and love for What you do
Atelier Cascabel Press / Ray Bidegain printmaker replied:
Rielynn: Thank you for writing today, I totally remember that workshop. I am so happy to hear the joy you are getting from your journey in wet plate photography. Congratulations on your business.

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