I like to use photographs with my posts. At first, I used stock photography. There are some excellent ones out there (alongside the more contrived versions of the ideal team sort of thing) but I have become increasingly uncomfortable using them.
I’ve been trying to understand why and eventually it dawned on me. I have no relationship with the photograph. I don’t know its source. So increasingly I use my own, even though technically they are not as good, but they are mine, so there’s a connection. I also have an incentive to become a better and more creative photographer.
I also use photographs where I have a connection. The one here is by “Wandering Ambivert“. We’ve never met, but I follow his blog and like his work, so I asked permission to use them. It creates a connection, and I feel more comfortable using a connection as part of my blog than something manufactured, and I appreciate his generosity.
The thought found it’s own momentum as thoughts often do, and headed off towards the current news about the fragility (and politicisation, and weaponisation) of pharmaceutical supply chains. Globalisation has has given us options and choices to create products and services, often faster and at lower prices than would otherwise be the case, but it comes at a price – lower levels of connection. We move to assembing something from kits rather than making it ourselves. We may brand it, but it is not signed by the artist. I think it matters. IP is not the same as authenticity.
Artisans sign their work in some form. It is identifiably theirs. Artisans know the people who make the elements of it that they do not. What they make or provide has a level of integrity to it that items made to a price from a from of “kit” do not. Yes, they are amost certainly less efficient, and probably more expensive. They are also more personal.
At a time of uncertainty, connection matters. We have found ourselves subjected to products, services and even news mad from “kits” where we have no connection with its source. It erodes trust and increases resistance. We become defensive and closed. It is almost certainly a factor in the issues we face around wellness and mental health.
We have more choice than ever to buy things from people we do not know. It creates a responsibility for us – what we buy becomes part of who we are and what we do for others.
Provenance is powerful. Connection matters.