Is there such a thing as Ethical Capitalism?

Is there such a thing as Ethical Capitalism?

I don't know, but I plan to find out

I was sinking into the marsh as I setup the tripod for this photo. Field of Golden Grass 

Several weeks ago, I wrote about quitting my job as an unpaid content creator for social media. The experience has been liberating. I can again concentrate on improving my craft and creating great photos, not pumping out content to feed the instagram algorithm.

The thing is, in our modern capitalist economy, social media is touted as the best way to get your name and work out there. The thinking goes that if you post great content consistently (like, every day or more) to instagram and facebook, a following will develop over time, and the sales are not far behind. Oh, and you should have ig stories, do live videos, and post longer videos at least once a week - or more. I found myself working so hard to always have something to post that I was neglecting my creative growth and began posting less than my best images.

Also, there is an ethical problem with the social media business model. To loosely quote Jaron Lanier, "If something you are using is free, then you are the product." In other words, social media is free for me to use because all the data my posts generate is being sold for the highest bid to advertisers. I am the product, and the more content I create and produce, the more valuable I am as a commodity.

So I quit.

The social media monetization model is a lot more nefarious than that. I'll get into it in another essay. For now, let's just say the more I learn, the darker it gets.

Now that I am off the instagram hamster wheel, I need to figure out how to get my work out there and sell it. And in doing so, I want to do it in an ethical way, with a degree of transparency and dignity. This newsletter is a good start. All but one of my customers who have bought a photo print from me subscribe to this newsletter. So I see this as a great way to talk directly to my customers and let them know what I am up to and what new images I have to offer.

This is where the idea of Ethical Capitalism comes from. Simply telling people what I do, how I do it, why I do it, and let them decide if my product is worthy of a place in their home.

Going forward, I will continue to share my journey in photography. And in addition, also share my journey in marketing without posting to social media like it were my full-time job. If there are others out there (I'm sure there are) who want to cut the social media cord, hopefully, this will be of some help.

With that said, here are two photos from the California Sierras. The photo above is of the marsh at Lake June, and the one below is on the trail to the same marsh. The Mammoth Lakes region is a fabulous place to explore any time of year. If you have a chance to go there, do it. It'll blow you away. Both photos are available for purchase. You can even have it matted and framed all at once. Click the picture, and a web browser will open to the photo's page. (See, I'm marketing!)

Thanks for reading. I appreciate you.

This is autumn on the west coast. Yellow and orange everywhere you look.
Trees on Trail in Autumn