Popular: No one follows me in person

It was the end of the year and Instagram wanted to know if I was curious what my top 9 photos were for 2015. Of course I did, it sounded fun. After plugging in some information and waiting a few minutes I was treated to a collage I should have seen coming. All 9 of my most popular posts were beautiful female model friends of mine in various states of undress. I suppose I wasn’t surprised, I’m not above following how my posts are doing (though I would like to be), but I was jarred a little. While these were numerically my “best” work they were definitely not a good overview of all that had happened to me that year. I am not ashamed of any of the photos. I made and shared them because I was proud of them. But this post had done they very thing I have tried to avoid with my social media. It had curated a year down to only the enviable, only the beautiful. It had omitted honest posts about struggles I was having because they never get at much interaction. I had been dealing with the loss of a family member and a continual battle with anxiety and depression. I had been trying to find a balance between the loss of a belief system and a desire to not lose all spirituality in my life.

In swift reaction I decided to immediately write out what this situation was making me feel, and what I felt is this:

What this is, this looking at our most popular posts are, is Fun, and we should be careful that that’s all it is. It’s interesting to see which post was the most well received but it’s dangerous too. If it seeps into your head and makes you believe that what you should create it what has been the most ‘liked’ then you have changed your artistic progression from a line to a circle. Creating for you is what makes your work actually authentic or real or meaningful or any of those adjectives that imply value by definition but seem to have become twisted into meaning ‘popular’. Treasure those things you make that you like more than your audience. Hold onto that new direction that isn’t as understood as your past work but is pushing you to a new place. We’re here to live, to be us, to be kind and to create. We’re here to Love and be Loved in return, not like and get likes in return. I take great comfort in knowing that if Facebook and Instagram took my accounts away, the next day I would be creating. For me. For the people I meet. This part? This popularity part. It’s nice, but it isn’t real.

nirav patel 23:08 May 29, 2017 Reply
Love this man. And this new site is incredible.
    Keith Allen Patrick 17:05 February 24, 2019 Reply
    It is a pleasing thought to see behind the curtain and witness the reality of a life spent in the moment. To know the how to’s and the what if’s are not even a scratch on the proverbial surface of the table that’s been set before you (us). Let me congratulate you on not so much the imagery but the quest for the deeper expressions which shape you whilst shaping the universe around you... a lot to do with the reality of the people, places, and things entrusted and not some goofy far fetched memorabilia that touches on the human emotional content which can be quite fleeting.
Jeremías Santochi 04:35 May 30, 2017 Reply
Dear Ryan I follow your jobs since Framed, since that episode 3, I always loved your personality your search what you make me feel with your photos and in a more deep level I was going through depression when a met you (well met your personality) from that moment you have been a star in the sky that I follow (quirky but follow). As you said those are your best photos in numbers in one social network nothing else, you are so much more has a person and has an artist, keep on doing you, keep on pouring you heart into every photo! I love your work because it makes me feel alive some day I'm gonna hug you and thank you for everything, hang in there we need you
Laura Olson 04:42 May 30, 2017 Reply
Thank you for this! What a wonderful reminder for all artists.
William 16:29 May 30, 2017 Reply
Dear Ryan, After having read this I am greatly reminded of feedback I have recieved personally. Odd, to find what the world perceives of one's work. You'd think we all see the same colours.
Mark Nesbit 11:02 February 27, 2018 Reply
Ryan, I have been a silent follower of you for a little while since I watched you on Framed. I actually love the way you approach image taking. Who cares what anyone else thinks of your photography. What it means to you is all important and this is a lesson all photographers and indeed artists need to learn. That is not to say you ignore any commercial aspect of your work, it just needs to be separate. Keep the work coming.
Ani 15:33 June 15, 2019 Reply
i seemed to have found your art again after suffering a couple years of dealing with my anxiety at its most high...your genuine kindness and raw honesty is just the right remedy, thank you for not wearing a veil on the real you.

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