Audience Taste

“Step away from that project, Ma’m! I need you to step – away – from – that – project!” Alright, alright, I will. Thoroughly disgusted with it, anyway. Or maybe more disgusted with myself? For not knowing what’s up, what’s down, what’s good and what’s shite. Maybe a look at flickr will prove useful in gauging what the public’s taste is?
Check out that image above. An excerpt from my flickr stream. I have deliberately left the small print in because it is more telling than this odd assortment of pictures. Because it provides insight into the likes and dislikes of the audience. Not that the image even records that the pictures have been in any way “liked”, it merely records the amount of times they have been viewed. And yet there are interesting conclusions to be drawn from these six images.
1. People photography sucks!
The picture that has people in it is the one which has the lowest view count by far. It was clicked on only four times. *boohoo*. Ok, it’s quite obviously not a very exciting image, anyway – forgive me please, dear A___ and J___ who are in this shot. Oh,  and K___, too.
2. Never work with animals or children
The picture of a bumble bee – taken by iPhone, not even a proper picture!!! – drew 16 views. My flickr audience therefore seems to be very much interested in animals, I presume? Or was this a case of close-up photography attracting their attention? I must confess that that always draws me in.
3. Sunrise is not tacky
I thought that it was common taste nowadays to abhor sunsets, sunrises and any manner of tacky, colourful sky photo. Well, my sunrise in this example gets quite a bit of attention. 17 views – that’s second place in this unofficial mini-poll. And I am surprised because I thought sky images are only for romantics and imbeciles?

4. Daylight sky rocks – in b/w
Daylight skies, however, are allowed as a photo op. The Curragh Sky gets a good mid-range view number. And now the surprising bit: The b/w version of the same image gets more views than the full colour original. Hm. Is b/w more dramatic? Is it more mysterious and therefore people click to see it in full size? Is it more original to take away the colour from a rather ordinary scene and aestheticise it that way?
5. Bland industrialism works
Top spot goes to my canteen shot with 22 views. Ehm. Hello? Somebody care to explain that??? Is it because the image has a pleasing kind of symmetry? Is it the colours which are kind of pleasant and therefore draw the attention of the viewers? Or is it the faint knowledge that there is something written on the ceiling in the shot – and people are ALWAYS curious when they see writing anywhere?
I should draw some conclusions for my own work from this. Here they are: In the future I will take care to shoot sunrises in b/w with a close-up of an animal in the foreground. No idea how I can work the canteen in there. Maybe if I have a breakfast roll in the nearest one, that counts?

2 thoughts on “Audience Taste

  1. Jutta

    Hang your b/w sunrise close-up in the cantine and photograph that…
    i agree, it is puzzling what people like. only way to go is to stay true to what you like, which of course might be not so easy (or profitable) if you do commercial work.
    my picture editor at AP used to tell me: we print photos, not excuses, when I told him about the terrible light conditions, the hundreds of other photographers surrounding presidents etc. and the very very very slow internet connection in Namibia :-).
    am very happy now that i can publish whichever pics i want to publish on my blog :-).
    have a lovely weekend, and in case i havent said it before: i really like your photos!


  2. Sonja

    Jutta – thanks for your comment. You have no idea how much the whole audience feedback (or lack there-of) throws me. The hardest thing about photography for me still is to stand up for my own approach, my own aesthetics and my own editing choices… Probably not made easier by the fact that I am doing this in a college environment with rather strong input from my lecturers… Anyhow, thanks for sharing your own experience. I would so love to have a real chat with you about your take on the photography business. Looks as if I need to book a flight to Namibia again (which I had planned for 2012, anyway – it's 4 years since we were there…) 😉



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