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Mark Bauer • In Search of Fame and Fortune

With streams of photographers intent on collecting clicks and likes, how can you retain integrity – but make a living – in this overpopulated online world? Mark Bauer shares his thoughts

A few days ago, a Facebook row erupted between two landscape photographers I know – one a keen (and, I have to say, very talented) amateur, the other a young, up-and-coming professional. The amateur had accused the professional of 'selling out’ – of prioritising money and social media coverage over improving as a photographer; among other things, the young pro was accused of being unoriginal and derivative. Not surprisingly, he hit back and things got a little nasty for a while. Eventually, however, the argument fizzled out, the two protagonists kissed and made up (sort of) and Facebook settled back down to its usual stream of cat videos and clickbait.

The argument raised a number of issues for me. First, the role of social media in modern photography. Clearly, if you know how to work them, the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can help to reach a massive audience. But how useful is it, really? It is tempting to see social media as simply a numbers game and, as a result, people will beg, borrow, steal and even buy followers. This can get them a lot of attention, which clearly many crave, but as far as generating useful, sustainable work is concerned, I’m less convinced. I have seen photographers with fairly modest followings on social media who are clearly doing very well out of it, for the simple reason that their followers are genuine and have a real interest in what they are doing. So, from that point of view, I felt that ...

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About Author

Mark Bauer

Mark Bauer is one of the UK’s leading landscape photographers with work published worldwide. He is the author of 3 books, including ‘The Landscape Photography Workshop’ (with Ross Hoddinott).

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