“If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values: they’re hobbies.”- John Stewart. The fact of the matter is my values are being tested and have been tested for a while now with the Mkexplore movement getting so big: I love photography and it has become more than a hobby, I also love the photography community in the Bay Area and all over. The MKexplore hashtag is one movement that I can say I no longer support for several reason, but before I start off I would like to say a few things: we live in a world where we are entitled to our own opinion, and that’s what this is, an opinion. Second, and this is a big one, I do not hate the creator of the hashtag, Marvin King, his art is his art and I see a beauty in it. The hashtag has reached 500k on Instagram and that’s what has really lit this opinion. The fact of the matter is the Mkexplore movement has a lot of power, but only shows off the top dogs of the IG world,and at the end of the day, has done nothing to build a sense of community around the photography community, and so, it’s time for a change.
“MURKIN SINCE 13” The very front of the Might Killers page. To give some background the hashtag started in 2013, as the page has stated. This shows us that since then there has been a build up of the hashtag: one because King did a great job at showing it off, and two, because of the people that have decided to use the hashtag. The huge boom of the Mkexplore movement has been because of the community, it goes from the big guy with 6000 followers to the girl/guy who just grabbed their first DSLR and decided to use the tag because he saw it all over the place! Now, you tell me, why aren’t those small guys being shown off ? Why is it that when I see the features on the page it’s always: Contribution by mighty_kills ( who at the moment has 55.6K followers) or some other big guy with more than 10k followers, very few times have I seen a guy/girl being shown off that has 2000 followers, and if they are shown, they know the admins on a personal level. I find this to be baffling, why don’t you show off the small guy with that one sweet shot? That one shot that made him feel like everything that he has put into his editing process was worth it. This page, Mighty Killers, could bring fourth someones potential to the max. 21.8K, and counting, is a huge amount of exposure, so why is it that they keep on showing off the big guys, they already have all of the followers, why do they need more?
Within my area there have been, in total, 3 Mkexplore meets. I’ve had friends that went to the first two meets and I always asked how they went. The one statement that stuck out to me was “ People stuck to their cliques.” I was just pondering, what? how could that be? I thought this was a community. Later, I went to the third meet held at a local beach. I first thought that all the stuff I heard were lies, since I was such a huge big promoter of the hashtag. When I got to the place, beside getting my feet wet, we got a small welcome by King. and then he said “Go shoot”. I found that to just be lame, where was something that involved everyone ? Where was some sort of community building project ? In addition, people did break off into their cliques and I didn’t even notice this, until someone said “ Yea, all those people over there have 3k followers. That guy over there has 6k follower.” And so, what I heard about in people’s statements were real. I thought this whole Mkexplore movement was to build on one another’s art and progress, to learn and teach one another, not to break in small cliques that doesn’t even give you the time of the day (although this isn’t everyone, my experience has been a majority don’t want to talk to you if you don’t have 5k followers or something lame like this). We cannot keep on destroying one another art because of the amount of the number of followers a person has. We must build on one another.
Mkexplore has given back once to the community. When they held their “Coffee with the Killers” meetup:It was held April 11th, 2015 from 10am-12am. It was free and all of the following were provided when people attended the meet.
- Coffee and Snacks upon arrival
- Meet some of the Top ‘Grammers in SF
- Photo Basics taught by Experts - Tips & Tricks
- Q&A - Get to know us, bring your burning questions!
- Followed by a Photo-walk
Stuff like this is what build a community;however, why is it that this has only been done once? Why is it that over the course of 2 years the Mighty Killers have only decided to hand down wisdom once? In my opinion, it seems that this was a way to keep people in the movement, and to give them a snippet of the Top Dog’s knowledge. I see it as a simple way to keep people in tact, and I will not fall for something like this.
There’s nothing more rewarding than helping out your local artist. Being in artist these days is hard, and so, when people offer to sell their work I find it to be an awesome thing. You can tell when they put on their best work out their and stay up many moons for their work. Mighty Killers knows that they are a huge movement and they offer a shop, which has very limited items at high prices, which is a basic concept of economics: Supply and Demand, if demand is high and inelastic, then companies can change prices to whatever they want. 32 dollars for t-shirt is not that bad, but what does it represent? Does it make the photographer who used the MKexplore hashtag feel a sense of community, or is it just for the money? I question this, and of course, limiting the supply of an already high wanted object like the “Mighty Warriors” T-shirt makes it that much more wanted. Remember, limiting an item is a basic concept of economics.
Let’s take a flashback as to how I got to forming this opinion. I was hanging out with two friend, the top of IG came up, late followed by “You [Isaac] use a lot of hashtags, why do you use so many” and “what does Mkexplore even mean?”. Later my brain decided to mix this up and say “why do you even use the Mkexplore hashtag?” I thought about this and asked all the questions that I have ask you, the reader, the photographers out there : What have they done for this community of photographers? In reality nothing more than create a hashtag that sounds catchy. Look, we all go out there to shoot, which is time consuming, come home and edit, which takes even more hours, then upload to IG in hopes to be featured on the Mighty Killers page. At this point, I’ve realized that you have a better chance at getting struck by lighting than getting featured. That’s why I’m starting my own movement, the Shutter Nights, and the motto is “Chase the light. Protect the light” because photography is all about the study of light. I vow to make this the most community developed page out there, that shows off everyones work: from the guy/girl with their first camera to the dude that’s all they way up there, but I can’t do this without people’s support. I hope that you as the reader will follow me with the hashtag #shutternights, because I hope to bring everyone along. I want this to be different, none of this “Contributed by the Dude that owns the page” every other post. Every artist deserves their time in the spotlight and that’s what I hope that we can all rise together.
Finally, I want to ask everyone out who’s ever used the MKexplore hashtag this : Do you feel like you’re actually apart of the movement? or do you just feel like another number? Another number that adds to the Might Killers Movement, so that they can get sponsored and get even bigger, while you, the little guy gets nothing. I hope that you found these words of wisdom to be intriguing and know that this is my opinion. I only leave you with this quote “The best defense against bullshit is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something.”- Jon Stewart
P.S. If you are interested in becoming an contributor to the hashtag or admin to the IG page please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org: and once again, this is an opinion, we all have one and we all have the right to express it or to better put it “There is a natural right to freedom and creativity; how we choose to express that right is our own.”
Sources by the Mighty Killers IG page and Website.
Quotes by Jon Stewart