photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

Flickr Groups

show me yours and I’ll show you 3 of mine!!!

in General Rants , Wednesday, July 08, 2009

This post is mainly intended for my compadres (and compardresses) on Flickr. And it’s a rant (for a change).

A couple of days ago, a kind and certainly well-meaning person left a comment on one of my photos, and added an invitation, adorned with the usual eye-watering graphic (above), to add my photo to a group. Now, I wasn’t a member of this group, and to post a photo, you need to be. So I had a quick look at what was required in this particular instance. Well, quite a lot. First of all, there’s the standard “post 1, award 3”.  Fair enough I suppose, sort of, except of course (a) what is really meant is “post 1, heap glib, meaningless gushing praise on 3 others”, and (b) well, most of the photos posted the day I looked were toe curlingly bad.

Honestly, there’s a lot of good stuff on Flickr - there’s a lot of stuff way beyond what I could aspire to. But there’s also a lot of total dross- For example, was this a “classique” before it was butchered mercilessly with that horrific frame and the ridiculous watermark ? Or was it a poor snapshot of what looks like an open sewer ? Is this really the Isle of Wight ?  I’m sorry to pick out an individual like this - especially as she has actually got some far better shots, but I needed an example, and this one stuck to the insides of my eyelids.  (and I’m already feeling guilty. I’m a bad person)

Anyway, back to the main rant. Apart from the forced commenting, one is also required to vote on the current competition. Well sorry, but WARNING NAUGHTY WORDS APPROACHING please do fuck off. Honestly. First, I don’t do photo competitions. Photography is not a competitive sport in my opinion. Second, why the hell do the group admins think that their members are in any shape or form qualified to judge a photo competition ? Ok, ok, ok, lighten up, it’s just for fun. Fine - so why is it OBLIGATORY (is this group based in Z├╝rich by any chance ?), and why are they so fucking (I did warn you) pompous about it ?

Guess what ? I didn’t join.

So what are these groups for ? Does anybody actually monitor them to look out for good photography - or even interesting stuff ? I doubt it. It’s all about getting comments. Empty, vapid, pointless comments. Once an obligatory “award” is given, the member giving will probably never visit the photographer’s stream - unless the avatar or name indicates a likely Hot FlickrPhotoBabe(tm) of course.  No, they’re just circling around looking for somewhere to get rid of their obligatory award drops asap, then getting the hell outta Dodge. I always wanted to write that in a blog post.

Well, I don’t want “awards”, thanks.  I like getting comments, when they’re actually meaningful, even if they’re negative, just so long as they’re accurate and funny. I, in turn, may not comment as often as I should, but when I do, I try to avoid being vapid. And if I say I like a photo, I mean it.

I like getting views even more, which is a bit tragic, as after close to 3 years on Flickr I’ve only chalked up 19,000, which I have a sneaking suspicion is not very impressive.  This website, when the photo galleries were up, got around than many views every couple of months…

So I’m leaving all the “award” groups, and I kindly ask you not to give me awards. A few words are much more appreciated. I’m not going to go nuclear (like some) if I do get awards, I’m just not going to act on them.

This means I can focus on the groups that actually interest me, including, at random Deep North, Lightness of Being, Tuscany in Tuxedo, Darkest Dreaming, and of course XPan and E-System Community.

These actually give me pleasure and inspiration (and jealous rage), rather than bemusement and irritation.

My first point of call in Flickr is always my contacts page. I look at least 2 or 3 times a day. That’s what is all about really, finding out what people you have some tenuous link to are photographing, all over the world.  For the others it’s the ego trip of getting hundreds of “awards” and being in “Explore”. Well, fair enough, they’re not hurting anybody. But it has f-all to do with photography, and I’m opting out.