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photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

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in Photography , Friday, January 26, 2007

As you explore photo sharing sites such as Flickr (and probably Smugmug, PBase, etc etc) it is interesting to observe the pattern of comments on posted photos. It is a cliché that all comments on these sites don't venture far from "kool capture thanx for posting", and whilst the overwhelming majority are terse one liners, generally posted in the hope of attracting attention to one's self, some do have a degree of content (note that attracting attention to one's self is what such sites are about...and, frankly, when you strip away the layers of pseudo-intellectualism, it is what most photography is about too). Photos get a higher profile based on the number of comments they attract. Since the churn rate is so huge, for a photo to stand out, it really has to grab attention. Often you come across comments such as these from photographers "This photo didn't get as much attention as others, so I am glad you liked too!", attached to very interesting shots. The photographer is puzzled that other shots, which seemed less good, got far more feedback. Essentially it comes down to the short-term effect of these sites: visitors are presented with such an overwhelming choice, that they rarely accord more than a few seconds to each photo. Therefore, attention grabbing photos are going to get a higher profile than subtle ones, and therefore, knowing, attention grabbing photographers are going to concentrate on this sort of shot. Of course, to be a high rated photographer on Flickr it does not do any harm at all to be attractive, young, female, and not averse to posting a high volume of self-portraits :-p (I do wonder if certain photographers who fit that description are not tempted to post a completely banal photo, just to watch it rack up 100 comments rom a bunch of sad, lusting sycophants) Such is the influence of Flickr et al on the general public's view of what makes a good photo, I would not be surprised if this starts to have a wider effect. How would Michael Kenna fare on Flickr ? Not too well, I fear. Hey, but it's fun. To illustrate: this photo, which I'm quite pleased with, has so far received 10 views and 0 comments: Losing the thread Whereas this postcard shot is 49 people's favorite, has 643 views, and 26 comments Planet Earth is blue go figure....