Local Resolutions Part 18 of 29

This is the eighteenth in a series of 29 ways to help your local community online in 2010. If you missed it, you may wish to read the introductory post.

In this post, I suggest that photographing or videoing local art galleries, performances, and businesses is a great way to help strengthen your community while you’re online. This series has included recent posts about staying in touch with your legislators, connecting with people different from you, and taking regular breaks from digital media.

It’s time for these resolutions to go multimedia.

We live in an area rich in the visual and performing arts, as well as bustling with business. It’s hard to capture instances of that in words. Photos and videos help.

Three instances of photos and video at work

This past April the Lancaster Museum of Art presented an extraordinary exhibit of portraits by illustrator Barry Moser. I knew of his work, and asked if I could sneak in before opening night to snap a few photos of the exhibit and get enough information to write a blog entry about it. The curators were thrilled to show me around. These sorts of things deserve attention, and they don’t get enough. I’m really glad I took photos of that exhibit (limited as they are) and shared it here on my blog.

Derek Lau recently shot a video at Progressive Galleries of Isaac Gillespie performing a song he wrote in memory of our friend Ben Carr, who drowned in September 2007. That video has already meant a lot to the many people who still grieve at our loss of Ben. It’s also a great capture of a musician’s talent as he performed in Lancaster.

If you look up Rachel’s Cafe on Google, you’ll find photos pulled from Urban Spoon, including one of the menu. What you won’t find (yet) are any photos of the restaurant itself, from either the inside or the outside. I’ll return to the subject of writing restaurant reviews in an upcoming entry, but for now the point is that sharing photos of businesses is a way of providing useful information to others.

The resolution

So, my recommended resolution for today: Take photos and shoot video. Then share them. Use what you’ve captured to let other people know about what they might otherwise miss in your community.

Of course, be sure to ask permission when dealing with works protected under copyright (like stage performances and the art in galleries). People are usually happy for the publicity.

If you’re taking photos of a restaurant, Urban Spoon and Yelp are great places to upload them. If you’re taking photos of an event or of another sort of business, you can’t go wrong uploading them to the Facebook event or page—and the same goes for video.

Don’t forget Google, or your own business

Business owners—be sure that you have claimed your listing in the Google Local Business Center. When you do so, you will have the opportunity to upload up to 10 photos. Do it. Include shots of the exterior of your business (so people can find it more easily) and the inside, too (so people know what to expect).

Where else would you recommend for sharing photos and videos of performances, galleries, restaurants, and businesses?