Transition times, the more it changes and cetera. Long ago, though not in a galaxy far far away, I set upon a plan/path when I asked Dad to teach me photography. A bit further along that path, I decided his plan proved fairly good, so I'd emulate it to a big extent. His plan? He frequently said, during my growing up years and occasionally looking at some store-front or other about the areas we traveled, that when he retired he would grow a beard and his hair long and open his studio as an artist, primarily sculptor. And, he did. So I figured it seemed to work and I'd do pretty much the same thing.
Fifteen years ago, beginning to cope with Dad's death, my brother asked me a crucial question: Did Dad's plan work? John's points included that Dad grew up during the Great Depression, of rather conservative parents, and that coloured his thinking. 'Look at his artwork and tell me he couldn't make a living with it. He opted for the security of the job to retirement.' Considering I know of at least a half-dozen (probably more) commissions or other sales of Dad's work after he put his Plan into effect (grew his hair long, for him anyway, and a beard, and opened his studio), yes, he could of make a living at it. Considering I felt then, and feel now that my work is getting better, and I've sold some plus some commissions, and -- well, I listened to what John said and thought about that and decided Start Earlier. Don't wait for retirement. Just don't quit the day job, either. So I opted for some of that security as well, and still started stretching before retiring.
Though I'm not sure I'll grow my hair long (again) nor a beard (again). That's a been there, done that thing, I suppose.
There is something else I've learned in the past 15 years about both Dad and myself, and being an artist who brings in income with that product, and that is the product must be promoted. Advertised, if you will. And while I'm not sure that Dad wasn't better than I at self-promotion, I suspect he and I are more similar on that count than I feel my brother was to us. John I think did a much better job at the self-promotion. Though I could be wrong, and there's no longer a good way to ask or verify.
Any way. Promotion of ones own work is behind one of the bits I chose to do five or six years back when I first signed onto Flickr. That same bit figured into some of my meditations coming back from Necronomicon and discussions with other artists this year. My Flickr stream over that time built a small (comparitively) yet steady viewership. It's unusual to go a day without at least a few hits, and that's important.
On the other hand, regular readers will also recall I've commented several times during the past year about connectivity problems with the host provider for Flickr. Flickr is part of the Yahoo group. Some of my experience / data suggested the connectivity problems could be hardware related and on my end. There is (of course) more, and while not mentioned it does add to the calculations I'm looking at just now. This past year (12-month, not calendar year as it happened a bit earlier than 1 Jan 2010) the ISP we've used for e-mail access for over 15 years closed out their direct provision of services and now ATT Webmail is hosted through Yahoo. This brought with it a series of the same connectivity problems I've experienced with Flickr.
Not sure I want to drop those e-mail addresses, as both Herself and I incorporated them into various professional/personal beings. One of them is the way I'm known to a big number of Nursing associates and friends. Another is how Herself is know to a similar group of people in her relationships. There are other e-mail ID's I'd made there which neither of us used a lot, yet those two -- well, it would be a bit of work making sure everyone followed over to new Names. On the other hand, not sure I want to keep them either, both since the purposes behind them are changing and the service providing them is proving spotty.
Same thing with Flickr, and that's a question needing a bit more of a time-limited answer. Nigh on five years back is when I first purchased a 'Pro' account with Flickr. The site does provide a free service, and as is a pretty standard business arrangement these days limits the things available for free. I'd received a paying gig that included the plan (theory) that people attending an event would want to purchase photos of themselves and friends at that event, and so I picked up a paid account to expand what I could do and make it easier for those potential customers to find their potential purchases.
In case you can't tell, those potential purchases remained exactly that. Potential. Though I am fairly certain I've gotten a couple of the portrait commissions I've done because those clients could see the portraits that came out of that gig.
Still, the time-limit is the Flickr Pro account is due for renewal next month. Consequently I'm once again weighing in my mind my own behaviour, the behaviour of the site, and some other factors in deciding should I pay for renewal?
On the one hand, Yahoo/Flickr won't make anything go away because I don't pay the fee. They will curtail what's visible and that I can get at based on their income. So if I'm not going to renew, I should clean things up there beforehand, as in make a lot of things go away from their server. This will profoundly effect a lot of posts here, since Flickr hosted most of the photos used in the past year.
On the other hand there's that viewership to consider, and that I've not done anything so far to let any one know hey, things are going to move y'all might want to wander over and check out the (not yet made) new place. Making a new place, somewhere that will display my work to best advantage and provide a forum for such meditations as I've occasionally tossed up here, that is something a lot of artists do in self-promotion. Name Recognition becomes one of the issues there, if you'll think about that, even in the web site name used. It is, actually, not to far from the mark to continue doing what I'm doing here, stretching and growing this place into the artists blog that flits through the recesses of my mind.
I expect I'll renew this year, in part because hey, I haven't Retired yet. I know, though, that I'm escalating the whole concept about Flickr vs Deviant Art vs a very individual personalised web site to a higher priority for next year. Give that things need to be built, and potentially other things tweaked to 'fix' displays, I lean toward not a great idea to cut short my relationship with Flickr, even given the connectivity problems. After all, that may still be a hardware issue, here.