Before I launch into my post, I want to put a disclaimer. These pics aren't that great, they were snapped really fast for the sake of experimentation. I will explain below.
It's no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with Etsy. I love buying from and supporting other artists. I also love having something a little more unique. Etsy is a great place to find that. There isn't much that you can't find on there.
However, Etsy themselves make me crazy. They do things that are so counter intuitive at times, and they feel it's their right to dictate what artists do sometimes. I realize it's their site and they can do that if they want, and we have the right to not sell there. But in so doing all too often they tend to homogenize and suppress artist's right to express themselves how they want, charge what they want, and even in some instances to dictate what artists should make...not to mention how they run their businesses.
The latest mandate handed down from the powers that be is that if you want to have even the tiniest hope of making the front page you have to photograph your work on a plain white background. Now for the most part this doesn't really affect me because artist bears rarely make the front page anyway. We aren't hipster enough for Etsy. That aside, it still makes me crazy.
I know that white backgrounds are the fad right now. In fact I play into that a little bit by currently having a white background for both my blog and website. I do not have it for my photos though. I have been watching the front page of Etsy for a while since they started doing this and I don't really feel that it enhances anything overall. There are too many shades of white that don't mesh. Without consistency, which is impossible since you have so many cameras, backgrounds and photographers...they can't achieve the look they truly want. Sometimes I can't even tell what an item is unless I click on it because there is no context. Even if I can tell what it is, I can't always get a feel for the size of the item, or what exactly the artist was going for. I also went through all my purchases and discovered that I haven't bought a single thing from Etsy that was displayed on plain white. I find that I am clicking those front page items a lot less than I used to.
Certain items do look good on a white background, but others just don't. A distressed, old looking teddy bear looks strange floating on a white background in my opinion. I think the setting sometimes helps tell the story of your piece. It's an important component in displaying your art. You wouldn't go to a show and put everything on a white table cloth or white shelves. That would be odd, and people would probably stroll past your table to get to a cuter display that draws them in.
However, I will let you give your honest feedback. I am curious which image you prefer? I have done plain white, sorta white and a background with a prop. Maybe I am in the minority in thinking this. Again keep in mind that the pics were taken really fast for the sake of this experiment. Thanks in advance for your feedback!