Game Of Numbers

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Good Morning from me guys, its 8am Monday morning as I am writing this, and I am feeling good because my YouTube channel just reached 100k subscribers!! SUCH a huge milestone, and one I am very very proud to make. That being said, I am currently the least motivated by numbers I have ever been in my blogging career. I feel like it's almost a right of passage for bloggers to go through a phase of painfully worrying and agonising over the number of your own followers, readership and engagement - and likely end up comparing that to others too. I have spent so much time doing this in the past, and of course it's hard not to because we have a metric that appears to measure success in this field. I think the tipping point came when I no longer saw the numbers as a measure of success, and it became more a creative pursuit than ever before. Which, in turn, has made it the most rewarding it's ever been. There have been certain tipping points to this whole process. The first big one was beginning to work on film photography, which really got me trying hard to think about how to incorporate different things into my blog and create something I wasn't seeing other people doing as much at the time. This then influenced my YouTube channel as I became more and more interested in portraying and capturing a certain feeling. Film photography has a feel to it that can't be recreated. You all notice this, but it's even more so for me and anyone who shoots film, because there is a certain feeling attached to the process of getting it developing and reliving certain moments as you get your hands on the images you have shot. It made me think about how you could create a feeling through video, a medium I am less confident with anyway, so this has been an ongoing challenge. 

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Another big tipping point in this becoming a creative pursuit and not a numbers one was working with new photographers. My Mum always took my photos while I was in Manchester, which I loved so much. I worried about moving to London and working with someone new because I was used to having so much control over what Mum and I were working on. But working with new photographers has actually changed so much for me (and I mean this in no bad way to Mum who is bloody good and still gets put to work from time to time). The first time I realised this was in LA working with Scott, which really made me understand that working with someone else with their own creative ideas made my job so much more interesting, and collaborative. We have shot some of my favourite ever rolls of film in New York, this post I loved in collaboration with Dune, and some of the best evening photos I have ever shared. Having this made me really understand what I was looking for when I moved to London, and of course that all worked out when I started working with Dean. My content has improved so much since working with him, and so many of you notice it too. It's made me feel more creative than ever, more willing to try new things and have someone to bounce ideas off, and more excited about what I am sharing than ever before. Posts like this one where I saw myself looking different to ever before, this video from Amsterdam which really felt like a huge step in the right direction for my channel, and these film photos that we shot in about 10 minutes before going to the pub and have since sparked a love for shooting indoors. 

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Thinking and feeling about my work in this way has moved me further away from worrying about what others are doing online and how this might affect their numbers. I have mentioned before how I can find YouTube to be quite formulaic and a hard platform to be really creative with. But I feel like I am finally finding a balance between creating content that makes YouTube what it is, but also doing something I find a little more satisfying creatively too. And what I am most pleased about that there is so many of you coming along on this with me. Every comment that points out how my content is changing and improving means the world to me, and that all of you are happy to try something a little different with me makes me feel so incredibly fortunate and grateful. The most I can ever do to say thank you is to continue creating and working on improving all of the time, which is of course what I plan on doing. 
 

So while 100k feels like a huge milestone, it's not so much because it's a big old number. But rather that you have all grown and evolved with me as I try new things, and it's 10x more satisfying growing an audience while creating something you are proud of than doing it by creating what you think people would like to see. Every one of you motivates me every single day, and I am endlessly grateful. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! 

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PHOTOS BY DEAN MARTINDALE.