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Art, Not Content

Walnut Street Bridge in the Fog - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Market Street Bridge in the Fog - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Fine Art Street Photography - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

This is a story of intention. A story of why.

How I see it, there are two types of posts being shared right now, art and content.

Art is of the soul, it is the external expression of the inward journey. It is not an object, but a process, exemplified when the artist is creating and the viewer is interpreting. While it may be admired and sold, it is not created for admiration or profit; it is created by, and for, inspiration. What’s that?! What about commissioned art, you say, or fine art? Hey now, I don’t have time for questions who’s answers don’t squeeze neatly into my narrow dichotomous worldview.

Content, on the other hand, is commercial in nature and egoic in scale. It is built to occupy the space between ads, which are built to exploit the space between us. To be effective, it must be pushed constantly, because it is all personality and no soul. Dreamed up by creatives per the demands of accountants; its value is measured in likes, comments, and ultimately, sales. Content isn’t concerned with inspiration, and despite its shallow roots, desires tangible results.

Why do I bring this up, you ask? Why am I so keen to label the world and split it in two? I’m sure the more perceptive of you already know, I’m about to content bash, bwoy! Kind of. I can say with all honesty that on more than one occasion I have posted a photo to Instagram because I felt like I had to. And not because I was inspired to share, but because I felt like I had to post. Every. Single. Day. I feared the algorithmic overloads would be displeased with my inconsistency and hide my photos from even more of my followers.

The funny thing is, I don’t even get paid to post or sell my photography. I guess if you really scoured my site you could find the one on-demand jawn I have for sale, but still. Why am I so driven by exposure and likes? Why the hell am I dedicated to making content for Instagram when I’m not the one getting paid!? Oh, I know why. It’s my FOMO, jealousy and pride, and Instagram’s uncanny ability to exploit them.

I promise, as of today, January “whenever-I-finally-post-this”, 2019, to only share what I am inspired to share. No longer will I allow the cold, soulless pull of algorithmic false promises to influence what and when I share. That doesn’t mean I’ll be sharing any less, or any more. It simply means, I will only share when inspired to do so. Plus, I’ll be sharing much more on my blog, a place with enough space to surf these shades of grey.

Until the next one. Stay classy, humanity.

Picture of thingsdoneframed


Anthony Beaston is a film editor, photographer, designer and writer living just outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.