A few days ago one of my favorite photo bloggers, Kirk Tuck, decided to stop posting to his blog, The Visual Science Lab. This was despite the fact that VSL was easily one of the top ten most visited photo blogs out there.
According to Kirk, he stopped for two reasons: first, because blogging was taking too much time from his professional photography business; and second, because an anonymous commenter had gotten under his skin. A callous remark about one of his posts had made Kirk feel unappreciated. It had made him question the whole endeavor. The answer he came up with was (my words, not his) "To hell with it."
As saddened as I was by his decision, it came as no surprise. Kirk had poured a lot of energy and enthusiasm into VSL. Many of his posts were as long as magazine articles and copiously illustrated with his photographs. I wondered how he found the time, especially since he was also running a professional photography business and writing a series of how-to books on lighting. It wasn't as if he was making any money from blogging. VSL has very few banner ads and click-through links, yet even blogs plastered with ads from top to bottom seldom bring in any more than a few bucks a month.
With no strong financial incentive to blog, it's likely that Kirk wrote for more emotional reasons. Unfortunately, one of the realities of blogging is that it doesn't necessarily generate a lot of external emotional support. Hundreds of people will read a post that a blogger worked on for hours and not one will comment. Readers will visit for months without buying from a single affiliate or dropping a nickel into the tip jar. Some of the comments readers do make can be downright insulting. My philosophy is that there's no point complaining about it. After all, we bloggers weren't drafted into this, we volunteered.
At this point you might be wondering if perhaps the title of this post was meant to be sarcastic; if I feel unappreciated; if I too have come to the end of the road. The answer is no. In fact, I truly appreciate the support I've received. I appreciate your adding me to your RSS feed. I appreciate the tips you've sent me, verbal and financial. I appreciate the temperate tone of your comments. Most of all, I appreciate the chance to share my love of photography with you. I suspect you love it as much as I do.
The day may come when Shutterfinger comes to an end, but until then I welcome your continued support. Spread the word. Leave a comment if you're so moved. And if you feel the urge to drop $5.00 in my tip box from time to time, just to make sure I'm feeling the love, I won't complain.