Instagram may seem like a simple concept, take a picture, upload it and share it with the public; many think being a blogger is an easy stretch at getting a job, that getting followers is easy, the perks of free clothing or accessories are what its all about. This, from my experiences and interactions with bloggers, in particularly this interview with Jeffrey Chung, really highlighted to me how this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Being a blogger and being good at it, is no easy feat; the immense popularity and traffic that has been directed towards Instagram in recent years has made from the creation of an incredibly competitive environment. Thus why we see it being such a difficult task for artists to showcase their work online.
No longer can a photo be taken and simply uploaded with the assumption that it will do well in terms of engagement i.e. “Likes” and “comments”. There is a whole creative development process that goes behind it all. It starts from the minute the blogger, in this case Jeffrey, decides to pick up the camera or his phone to take a picture- from the camera angles, to lighting to post shot editing it is a long process. All which happen because he is dedicated and determined to explore the vast world of fashion, art and photography and what it has to offer.
All of Jeffrey’s photos are rendered to high quality and his trademark colour scheme is constant throughout; his impeccable taste combined with his great photography skills come together to produce photos that are a visual feast for his 46+ thousand followers. His love for his creative practice is exemplified in commitment to creating his own website http://www.jeffreyjournal.com and it was truly a great experience to have been able to collaborate with such a dedicated, eloquent individual in this interview.
What is your (design) aesthetic?
My style is very stripped down, minimal, raw and earth-bound. Whenever I take photographs I always incorporate as many natural elements as I can, especially lighting. The in-between, unnoticed moments of events are also important to me so whenever I’m shooting people, I’m looking for unexpected movements or emotions to capture.
Has it/how has social media changed your (design) aesthetic?
At the outset, social media was nothing more than just a way to connect with my friends and post rude comments on each others walls or upload a quick (and dodgy) snap of what I was eating; but as time went on, there was a greater recognition of the amount of influence one could hold through this modern phenomenon of social media, so long as they knew how to use it properly. I’ve been on Instagram for a pretty long time and it wasn’t until two years or so ago that I began realising that brands could actually work with influencers through curating content that aligned with the creator’s personal style. So in a sense, social media has opened my eyes to an entirely new world of content-creation and networking, but my personal style and aesthetic have remained constant and unchanging, and brands are realising the importance of that, too.
Do you think it would be hard to make a living off a blog on social media (as being in the creative industry)?
As with every industry, there are inherent difficulties with either getting into the field and then doing well in the field. To me, I think social media has evolved to become greater than what conventional cultures and values can grasp a hold of, so it’s only natural that anything extending beyond traditional media will be seen as peculiar, or even stupid for some, so that itself is a difficulty in being a content creator on social media. But I think that so long as it’s something that sparks your interest and makes you tick, then your passion for it will override any sort of obstacle that you face, whether it be financially or just somebody telling you that blogging ‘isn’t a real job’.
Do you think social media helps striving artists to get out there and make a living? If so how/how not?
Absolutely. Social media enables one to connect with individuals from around the globe and it’s amazing how many opportunities can unfold when your content hits a note with somebody else. Word of mouth is an incredibly powerful tool that not only brands but also artists can use to get themselves out there, which is one of the most important things in the creative field when there are a myriad range of artworks floating everywhere and your voice seems muted in the chaos of everything.
Finally, do you think social media has become a problem for the arts industry? If not, explain.
Taking into account all of the above mentioned things I’ve referred to about social media, and the inherent difficulties of something so novel and unusual to have evolved from technological advancements, I think that in a way traditional art forms, like canvas paintings for example, can become somewhat silenced or even ignored because this entire digital form is ‘taking over’ conventional art forms. People are now obsessed with apps like Instagram and even though that is itself ‘art’, there is an entire range of other art forms that can only be fully appreciated with the naked eye when you’re in an art exhibition, in a room, with a group of other admirers. Taking a photograph of a painting and then posting it on Instagram does not do the artwork any justice. And notwithstanding the fact that they’re not explicitly mutually exclusive (in the sense that you can’t have traditional art forms when you have digital art from social media) there are underlying problems that could stir up if the scale tips towards this new, fascinating notion of social media. On the flip side, this sudden obsession with digital art could also just be an evolution of art in its ever-transformative journey. Like we’ve seen in the past with art evolving throughout certain time periods, this could just be one of them and there’s always something exciting waiting just around the corner.
See more of his amazing photos here – http://www.instagram.com/jeffreychung
Written by Stephanie Lara