It's like the pinny porn thing all over again*

I spent most of yesterday (when not dealing with two overtired and needy children, one of whom took nearly two hours to settle down and go to sleep, bless his stroppy little heart *she says through gritted teeth*) fighting with various Flickr "solutions" to upload my snaps from last month's holiday. Getting them up within a couple of weeks would be astonishingly unusual for me, but as the holiday was kind of a big deal (my sister and her family came out from South Africa for the first time ever, my dad – who is having health issues – came from Surrey, and we all trekked to Italy together), I really do want to be able to share the photos with the rest of the family asap.

Of course "sharing the photos" sounds simple, but in practice, what it means is: 
1. Import to photo editing software. In this case, Photos for OS X.
2. Review each photo. Decide if it's worth keeping; this may require a quick precursory edit. Fave, for easy reference.
3. Edit all faved photos: crop, lighten, apply filters as desired. Since these were all snapped with my phone, on the move and in frequently dodgy light conditions, I'm doing quite a lot of processing. 
4. Title each photo and in some cases, append a note. 
5. Try to share directly from Photos. Discover that it doesn't want to share multiple images very easily. Try the Flickr Uploadr. Discover that it no longer handles individual images (or manually selected collections), only entire folders. Try Flickr web uploading. Have connection problems. Try Photos again, a few at a time. Have connection problems. Discover that my carefully added titles are all lost in translation anyway. Try Flickr Uploadr again, having set up a folder for automatic uploading. Have unspecified "problems". Repeat the entire cycle, with minor variations and major swearing, for the rest of the day.

And 6. Ponder all the while how this not-at-all seamless picture "sharing" fits in with the increasingly image-driven, perfectly stage managed presentation of crafting online, as discussed by Karie.

Is this connection a bit of a reach? Maybe. But it's one of the things that bugs me so much about the Pinterest era. Instagram be damned, there is nothing instant or easy about all this visual blogging. It's enormously time-intensive. First, taking the actual picture: timing the shot for perfect light (and accommodating other factors, eg child-wrangling, neat manicures etc as applicable) is just one challenge that is more or less invisible but can be a pretty huge obstacle. More of these invisible issues? Photography skills (and time to practise), equipment, suitable "stage set" (ie a spot in your apartment that is well lit but suitable attractive or enough of a neutral backdrop)... Arguably not all of these things are necessary. Certainly having some of them will compensate for lacks in other areas. But they are issues, and a person without good equipment, light or time is not likely to produce "pinnable" shots, even if they have awesome technique. (And see #23 in this great post about life according to Pinterest.)

After all of which you need to share the pretty pictures, or there's no point. A squillion apps and services promise to make this as easy as falling elegantly off a perfectly rustic log, but in my experience, there's still an awful lot of faffing involved. Okay, so if you're not dealing with 130 highly processed images at a time, maybe not as much faffing as I'm struggling with today (still, oh yes, still). But faffing there will be.

So I call privilege on the mere act of visual blogging. I've seen the argument made that craft blogging is by definition an expression of only one side of the blogger's existence, and that doesn't mean it's "inauthentic" or Goopification. Absolutely true. And any blogger, professional or amateur – any crafter – should feel perfectly free to express themselves and showcase their craft in exactly the way they fancy. I love looking at beautiful blogs! However.

I've also seen plenty of people say they feel they can't show their projects – because they themselves don't look "good enough", or don't fit the profile. I myself feel deeply self-conscious about showing my knitting because my photos don't measure up (even more so when I'm modelling). And as a would-be designer, I feel even more pressure to show only beautiful, perfect shots. 

I'm also concerned about how this all fits into the wider, Pinterest-fuelled craft and lifestyle online world. There are whole genres of craft that make me deeply uncomfortable. Specifically, scrapbooking/memory keeping. I need to be very clear here: I'm talking about my own reaction to this craft. When I first encountered Project Life I felt a powerful aversion: I thought, what a colossal waste of time and money! How frivolous! How expensive! How unnecessary

...and then I thought "um hang on that's exactly what certain mostly sexist idiots say about KNITTING." 

So I took care to look at how beautiful these albums can be, and I thought how much I'd love to have such beautiful records of my own life. I can see the value in it, and the creativity, and the fun. Not a chance I'm going to take it up myself, because who could bear to give up valuable knitting time? (I feel that way about spinning and weaving and needlepoint, also.) 

But I still have a deep queasiness in my gut for the digital scrapbooking world, as I have encountered it, because it seems to be entirely – entirely – populated by young, white, privileged women who have more than enough time and disposable income to futz around with expensive glittery paper crafts. Again: my hobby is no cheaper or less time-consuming. I haven't got a leg to stand on. But when you look at the online profile of the craft, there's a very, very specific image presented, and to an outsider, it's deeply off-putting.

And I can think of absolutely nothing that makes the yarn craft world appear any less exclusive and exclusionary. 

And that worries me.

* Infamous thread of doom in the very early days of Ravelry, which started as a thoughtful inquiry into the deceptive perfection of the Gentle Art of Domesticity and rapidly unravelled.