Anniversary and Happy New Year :-)

For me another year as a member of Redbubble is coming to an end (I joined at the end of December 2008 so I’ve been here for just two years now. ) This seems like a good time to reflect on my time here and also pass on my best wishes and greetings to all members of this community which has become a big part of my life.

When I joined I had never been a member of any website, no facebook, no twitter… just a random web browsing person. Although I’ve been a keen photographer off and on since my high school days I’ve mostly just dabbled and never previously owned more sophisticated equipment than a camera, a couple of lenses and a tripod. The cost of film and processing was always an impediment to unrestrained release of the shutter.

Due to my Mother’s dementia I’m a largely stuck at home carer who would likely go crazy without some sort of interaction with other adults. Redbubble has given me a way to be part of a real time active community of people who think and care and have opinions. If I weren’t an atheist I’d think it was a godsend…

In the two years I’ve been here I’ve made some great friends, some of whom I’ve also now been fortunate enough to meet in real life, and some who I communicate with on a regular basis. All these relationships are for me the very essence of “the Bubble”.

I’ve learned much about photography from other members who unselfishly share so much in the way of tips and tutorials and information about how they created their images. In order to also give back I’ve made a point of always including my camera settings with the descriptions of my images and other relevant information for others who may also be learning.

Also, in Redbubble, I’ve found a place to share my writing and a whole wonderful community of writers who are genuinely supportive of each other and whose encouragement and genuine interest in both the works and the lives of their fellow writers and artists is an inspiration and a blessing.

And for the first time I’ve taken part in forums. The forum thing was rather daunting at first and I’ve seen a few fall by the way but I like to think that my participation has been constructive and has taught me a lot more than I ever really knew about diplomacy, these days I will often write something and then give myself a breather rather than posting immediately, I then review my words to see if they could be misconstrued or are inflammatory before posting, often this leads me to delete instead. Mind you, sometimes I still just shoot from the hip… I can’t help feeling that these forum skills have also given me a better insight into handling many other communications in everyday life.

Since I’ve been here there have been many changes, and not all have been well received by the membership, I’ve been known to get on my high horse and have a rant when I feel that things aren’t right. I also get my back up when I see others attacking the people who run this site and questioning their integrity. Because I feel that as members we each own a little bit of this place, it pains me to see those who would keep trying to knock bricks from its walls in the apparent hope of causing its collapse.

It’s unlikely that we’ll all be happy all the time but it’s very likely that many more would be unhappy if those who constantly condemn the site, and the motives of those running it, are allowed to prevail. Many are calling for more restrictions on content and proscription of things which they consider to be offensive, I’m wary of the path down which that could lead us. I absolutely support the removal of anything that clearly promotes hatred or vilification of any group or promotes violence, but I think that should be clear in the material, not based on a notion that a particular subject can never be referred to in a humourous or irreverent manner without being a deliberate attack on the group associated with that subject.

Art is one of the few areas where there is, (at least under Australian law) a greater insulation from the numbing and often destructive effects of political correctness than there is in all other walks of life. This great community would do well to hang on to what freedom we have, and while that would mean sometimes seeing things on the site that we disapprove of, it also allows each of us to use art to draw attention to things in a manner of which others may not approve. It also offers us the freedom to speak up when we don’t like what we see, as long as that’s done in a civilised manner. I’d hate us to cut off our noses to spite our faces…

Thanks RB and all who sail in her for providing, and being part of, this great community. Thanks also to all those who have read and looked at my work, I apologise to those whose comments on my work have not been replied to, sometimes life interferes with my best intentions and the task becomes greater. I honestly do appreciate each and every comment, I know the road to hell is paved with good intentions but I’m banking on finding a few exit lanes closer to the destination…

Thanks for being in my life and having me in yours. Happy New Year to all!

With fondest regards,

Matt :-)

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