Why is Everything Work?

The number of hits on my blog that is my true baby, the main focus of my daily activities, called Beautiful Photographs (http://ecstaticeclectica.com/) is increasing. Almost every day I post a photograph. For me to miss a day, illness or tragedy has been the cause of a lapse for the last year and a half (or so). For the last six weeks, the number of hits have increased steadily. From Week Four of 2012 until Week Nine, the hits have risen from 283 to 555, forming a lovely upward curve. I think I may be on the brink of a retreat. Today is Thursday of Week Ten and I only have 316 hits.

The upward trend began about Week 38 of 2011. That week I had 202 hits. Except for Week 44 of 2011, I haven’t had a week with less than 200 hits. On Week 44, I had 199 hits! One reason I attribute to the increase is that I’ve been participating in the blog-o-sphere for the last six months for so. Call it a charm offensive, or what you will, but it has paid off for me in two major ways. Most importantly, it has connected me to dozens of other people, increasing my circle of friends. Although one might refer to them as “virtual friends,” they still create a warm space in my heart when I read their words, look at their art, exchange jokes and ideas. It is personally rewarding just like a face-to-face friendship.

The second upshot is the increase in viewership. People are seeing me on other people’s blogrolls, or list of links, call it what you will. Also, I comment on many occasions, thereby, peeking people’s interest in me. When you state your opinion, no matter how mild, a couple of people at least are going to want to learn more about you.

© Russell Smith

Another benefit from all this work is that it motivates me to do more. To go out and talk to people. Give them my card. Ask them for permission to take their picture. There are patterns in people who say “yes” versus people who say “no.” Middle-aged people tend to say “no.” Young people and older people are more likely to say “yes.” I will admit to giving homeless people a buck or two for a picture. Am I exploiting them? I don’t think so. The cumulative effects of capturing photographs of these people is to empower them, even if it is only a little. It shows the world that these are just poor people who have slipped through the cracks. Unlucky people for the most part who have no family or friends to turn to during a crisis, and they end up on the street. Some are mentally ill. Some are physically disabled, and some are both. Rather than judging them, we should insist that our government take care of them. It’s cheaper than commissioning a new aircraft carrier, that’s for sure.

Tonight is the Art Crawl for Los Angeles. All the galleries downtown will be open after hours and there will be new shows opening and various forms of performance art, entertainment, music, demonstrations, just lots of good old-fashioned fun. I need to go and distribute my business card. The one that says “Beautiful Photographs.” I need a new card that will underscore that I am a fine artist, not a commercial photographer. I don’t do weddings. I do street shots. Candid, no makeup, street shots. I use Photoshop to crop my pics and to bring out colors, minimize obstructive shadows, that sort of thing. I try not to rely on it too heavily. Plus, it’s too complicated to learn all the ins and outs!

I am so grateful for the increased interest in Beautiful Photographs since the last quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. I don’t care about making money from my photography, but a few kudos wouldn’t hurt. It’s nice when people appreciate what you do.

"Shadow Study," © Russell Smith

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About Russell Smith

I was born at the American Hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. I find inspiration in the lives of so many people from Joan of Arc to Oscar Wilde. While my primary avocation is photography, I also enjoy philosophy, theology and most of all, history. My beloved wife, Robin Anne Smith, who passed away in 2013 is also an inspiration to me. My beloved partner, Dana is also a great support and inspiration to me. I'd be remiss if I did not mention my cats: Natasha, Maxwell, Tigger and Nigel.
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