The Politicization of Photography Content on the Internet

The politicization of everything has become a thing. Especially in the United States. In our ever divisive and polarized society we have become mavens of controversy. This transcends the current President, and, in fact, pre-dates the current administration by decades. Only recently, though has it taken on such fervor as we see in present times.

Photography can and should be used as a social tool. In most cases an activist photographer can espouse his (or, indeed, her) view through the medium alone. Images can be confrontational and should be controversial. However if you are a photographer, a title for which the definition is becoming increasingly flexible of late, that is hosting a platform of some sort for public consumption, please stop intermingling your political views with your photography content. In my day-to-day life, I am confronted with enough opinion and news (often editorial opinion in disguise – for either side) to satisfy my need for updates on current events in the broad spectrum. Photography is, for me, an avocation and sometimes vocation. I pursue it and study it  mainly for pleasure and at times, for profit. I do not need to become privy to your particular political doctrine. On that note, let me assure you that this is not directed to any one set of political beliefs. I have unsubscribed from several YouTube channels on both sides of the spectrum, for being idiots.

Let me clarify a few things. Yes, this is the USA and we do have the strength of the First Amendment  regarding free speech and expression. You, indeed, may use your YouTube channel for whatever type of content you wish, provided it meets YouTube’s standards. However, I fully understand that I have a thing called freedom of choice. I have, and reserve, the right to not view your channel if I do not like the content. So If you’re thinking “don’t like it, don’t watch it” I already am aware of, and, indeed, have taken that step.

My issue is with content creators or “influencers” in a specific genre, in this case photography, switching gears to post blatantly political content sometimes with misleading headlines or titles. In this case, I am greatly disappointed and, if it is repeated enough, find the need to unsubscribe from a channel that offers otherwise lucid, intelligent, and entertaining content.

If you feel that, as a content creator, you have some sort of responsibility to voice your political (or religious for that matter) views, then please establish a second platform for that purpose.

You see, again, I have a day job. In the course of my day I am exposed to all sorts of people and, often, by human nature, various discussions regarding current events and politics. Between this and just dealing with “normal” job stress, I look forward to my own time and being able to consume photography, or other content as a method of relaxation. I do not want to be preached to, opined at, or politically educated. Especially when I am sucked into it by a deliberate bait and switch maneuver. Of course I don’t think that this applies just to photography channels. It applies to content in general. I know where to look if I want to find controversial and divisive content, and I can find the educational content of my choice, without any help thank you. I am pretty sure, based on some of the comments I’ve read, that I am not the only one that feels this way. I guess the creators can’t be blamed because YouTube, and social media in general, is really, at its core, just a popularity contest where – the one with the most clicks wins.

Again photography can, and should be confrontational and controversial. Photographers should not.

So I guess I would have to say that if you have a YouTube channel, Or other social media platform, that is not socially or politically oriented you need to reflect on who your audience is and what they expect. Also examine what your own core competency is and if your are engaging in the above behaviors, why you think you are so special that the rest of us might be interested in your opinion. Especially since we have chosen to invite you into our homes and lives, even if briefly. We all know enough, I would hope, not to discuss politics or religion as a guest in someone’s home.

Now, of course, let me ad some political content here.

Stay safe and see the world your own way.

Thanks for reading.

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