"What other wheels can we invent, either individually or collectively, to keep the blog world turning? Or should a blog be like the eternal 19th century mistress, deeply loved perhaps, but forever kept on the side, comfortably set up in her own salon and maintained with whatever resources we can muster up for however long we can afford her?"
A difficult question posed in the most charming of ways by Hester from Mrs Deane in her recap on our European bloggers' meeting in Paris last week (you might want to read further insights by other participants here and here).
Do I have an answer? I don't think so. Do I have other questions? Probably. I still feel like this sweet and yet time-consuming activity of running a blog has yet to show me where it can go, how it can evolve, what potential it holds. It allows me to always discover new photography, allows me to meet new people, broaden some kind of network that did not exist for me before. But it still feels like a beginning, as if I have not yet developed a mature form of communication through my beloved Hippolyte.
It has borne fruits for me in the past, and that makes me think it is mostly a matter of carrying on. Hence the reason I still cannot imagine ways of getting some kind of remuneration from it, which is why updating the blog can sometimes feel like something between a duty and a slight burden. Hester is right when she says that "oftentimes money changes hands through our blogs, sometimes directly by generating sales or assignments for people, but mostly in much more diffuse ways", and I started noticing that too, not necessarily through my own activity. I remember somebody telling me some time ago that I should spread the word about my blog in the right places, before someone else shows up with a similar product, snatching the supposed future spotlight instead of me. What would happen then? Would I have lost my chance, is that what is all about? One place to grab?
I remember I started this website for the simple reason I was a frequent reader of several photographic blogs and I couldn't understand why there wasn't an Italian equivalent of those blogs (and I've been thoroughly looking for them on the Italian web), so I thought 'I'll do it'. Some have joined me after some time, but still I have the feeling there could be more, or maybe there are more and I'm simply not aware of them.
The reason I write all this is because I think there is also a geographical issue, meaning where are your readers, which other forms of connection you can have with them outside occasional e-mails with some, and stats about the visits, telling you which country visits you most, which ones are growing, which ones will never come. But this geography then has to confront itself with the real one, and this is where many things change depending on where you live.
I don't want to sound like the usual Italian complaining about their own situation, but for sure we don't have exhibitions opening every week like elsewhere, we don't have tons of online or paper magazines, we don't have an abundance of public foundations devoted to photography, we don't have easy access to a network for our indulgence, for fun or for whichever goal we have.
So I might be kind of torn between these two worlds, from one side maybe I should be doing more to grab that place somebody suggested is hiding somewhere in my homeland, while from the other I should really throw myself in the outside world (and its growing visits to this blog) and explore a broader environment, but face myself with more competition.
Like other times after I got back from a photographic feast, I feel a bit numb and need to regroup a little bit: if these feelings were images, they would be probably close to Ebbe Stub Wittrup's Night Sky, shiny paths lost in blackness.
All images from Night Sky © Ebbe Stub Wittrup