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So I haven't built a big following on DeviantArt, not that I'm giving up, and I can't get a Daily Deviation, not that I'm giving up, so I decided to join 500px. After being there 3 days, I already had 100 times the recognition for my art than I have being on DeviantArt for 4 months. My Spirit Mountain image reached a 99.3% popularity after about 2 hours, and had almost 5000 views. Here is has about 50. It's also apparent that the people who give out DDs have a certain style they are looking for, not that they aren't picking out beautiful work, but if you don't try to pander to their likes, the chances of getting that DD are pretty slim.

So, I'm not out to make waves, although probably I am. I'm probably double the age of the average artist on DeviantArt, and I've been at my craft for 20 years, so I think I know what I'm talking about. I'm self taught on Photoshop and use CS6, and nothing else, plus I take almost all of my own images. I've noticed most photo manipulators here don't do anything but use other peoples work. Try taking your own damn images and see how easy it is. I'm not saying the artists here aren't talented, for there is tons of exceptional work, but give those who do their own photography some credit.

Since I have a small following I expect little response, but if you do happen to read this, please pass it along. This is a topic worth some debate.
I'm at three months now, and I've tried to be active and post something new almost daily. At first the number of views was growing at an amazing pace, but recently it's dropped off considerably. I really appreciate the people that seem to be following my work, but with 65 million members, it appears that only a very small fraction have even seen my work. So, I'm curious if after you're been at DeviantArt for awhile if what you do goes through some filtering process? I'm wondering if this is like Google where you get profiled and all of a sudden you are only seeing what some mathematical algorithm determines you should see, or worse yet, your work is only showing up to be viewed by a limited number of people. I'm careful how I tag, and I've set up Google analytics, yet none of my images seem to be showing up in Google searches. I have my own website and three blogs, and have been active on the Internet for more than 10 years, yet nothing I do seems to attract much attention. What I'm hoping here is that I'll get some answers from some Internet savvy geeks that know the ins and outs of being successful on the web. I need help and I'd appreciate any feedback.

Thanks to all,
Michael Atman

Not to be overly critical of Deviant Art or its users, but I can’t help but notice that the site is more political than one would hope, and that popularity isn’t necessarily about the best art. This shouldn’t be a dumping ground for every scribble like Twitter is for every fart. I’m here for inspiration, and I’d rather people only put their best foot forward to make an impression.

Faving is nice, but when I go to certain artists and find a dozen submissions of their own work and then 10,000 favs, I question their reason for being a part of the community. Isn’t this a site where real art should flourish, not to be too critical of beginners that don’t realize that anything that’s put on the Internet is apt to haunt them for life if it’s really bad or deemed inappropriate.

I’m already overwhelmed by how complex the system is just by its size, and you soon realize that you could make Deviant Art a career if you responded to every comment, Llama, or all the other ways people work to grab attention. More emphasis on ART and less on drivel would make the site easier to navigate and more productive.

Art is truly subjective, and it’s best to keep an open mind, but I can’t help but notice that praise is often given to the best campaigners, not those most deserving. So, when you fav, make sure you’re not just adding someone because you expect something in return. Do it because you appreciate their ART. 

My welcome to Deviant Art has been more than I ever expected. Thank you all for the Llama badges and adding me to your favorites. I wished I had time to respond to everyone, and if I haven't thanked you personally by returning the favor, please know that it isn't intentional. Certainly the amount of talent here is phenomenal.

Art, or Photo Art more specifically, is my hobby. I do professional work as a graphic artist. I create book covers for, and I've done a limited amount of compositing and illustrations for a few clients. Mostly I trade work when it comes to art. First and foremost, I consider myself a writer, although not a successful writer yet. I hope that will come, but I don't fret about it. I have a goal, which may be unrealistic, but I strive in everything I do to try to make the world better. From my perspective, we are on the wrong track.

My approach to making a difference has been to lock myself in a closet, so to speak, and analyze the world, and then throw my 2 cents in. My conclusion is that man is far too dependent. We live in a world with mass infrastructure. We've put too many eggs in one basket, and when the house of cards tumbles, ruin is going to be upon us. I point the finger at most of man's institutions, and of course greed and lust for power are big culprits.

We can solve many of our problem through technology, but unfortunately technological development is controlled by investors, and investors are more concerned with wealth than they are with the future of man or the environment. My solution is OsumPODS, so please visit my website and also read my novel, The Future Teller, soon to be followed by the sequel The Future Shaper. If I had a magic wand I'd wipe the slate clean and start over, and I wouldn't saddle the world with all the superstitious nonsense we see in government and religion. We need to be smarter, and we need to wake up before we find ourselves in the midst of Armageddon. 
When digital first became popular I feel in love a second time with photography, yet since I didn't have the luxury to be in the right place at the right moment, I wasn't particularly happy with my images. Out of desperation one night I opened up Photoshop and painted in a new sky. At the time I didn't even understand layers. I was so impressed with the transformation in my photo that I've never looked back. Photography every since has been all about capturing elements that I composite. My newest submission (Bandon Sunset) is a prime example. This is an image I took years ago, with a sunset I took last year at home in Loveland, CO. I could make images the rest of my life just from my library. Still, I like to get out an shoot, and I detest having to use a stock image for any of my work, although in graphic design, I sometimes have no other option.

So why Photo Art? First because it's fun. Second, because it allows me to compete at a much higher level.

Since this is an introduction I will let you in on my passions, my philosophy about photography, and my justification for altering images. First and foremost, I feel photography should be fun. Of course, I’m not into photography to make a living, although I’d like to support my hobby. The fact that I’m a hobbyist may be all too evident, however my passion for the art of photo manipulation and photography in general stems from my love of art and the freedom artists have for interpretation. I consider myself an artist first, and a photographer second.

Photography has many purists who believe their art must remain pure to be worthy of being called photography. Although digital has allowed great strides in high dynamic range and unlimited depth of field, there are many that frown on digital manipulation that alters the image in any way. If you’re a purist, my Photo Art Blog may seem blasphemous to the nth degree. Digital capture is just the beginning for the non-purist that finds Photoshop irresistible.

Come visit the world of Michael Atman and share in the fun of digital manipulation. Visit this world in new ways, and create imaginary worlds that titillate the imagination. Tutorials on many techniques such a creating lightning, planets, rings, star fields, shadows, sunrays, and more are available for free at this site.

Download a copy of The Art of Digital Space Art 1 and 2 available at Amazon for 99 cents each.