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Fotonauts. Unimpressed.

Enabling the creation of the definitive pool of images for everyone to bla bla yada yada yawn

in General Rants , Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Maybe I’m just too old for this s**t, but in a week when I’m questioning if I actually get any benefit from Flickr, i.e. does it help ME to reach whatever nebulous objectives I have for my persona-as-photographer, I came across fotonauts:


Fotonauts, apparently, has the “mission” to “enable the creation of the definitive pool of images for everyone to contribute to, discover, use and enjoy, covering all areas of human interest”. Whew. Is that ambitious, or pretentious, or both ? Whatever, it certainly isn’t holding back! (by the way, the “about” page on the site is veritable treasure trove for Bullshit Bingo fans).

The thing is, what is the point, exactly ?  Is there actually a deep demand for this “definitive pool” ? And anyway, who makes it definitive ? A cursory appraisal finds the usual holiday snaps and latest online trends (like some truly atrocious HDR, but that’s a whole rant all to itself).

One of the things which fotonauts is aiming to fix is “collaboration usually takes the form of shallow “pat on the back” style commenting”, which I fully commend. By how are they going to fix this, hmm ? Well, and I quote, by “(enabling) albums made up of the images from more than one photographer, and (allowing) multiple collaborators”. Well, fab. And how is that different to Flickr, just to take one example ?

The fact is this so badly misses the point that I cannot believe that anybody involved with fotonauts has any photographic background in anything other than family snapshots.

Photography, in very large part, is about self-expression. Not group expression. Would a collection of photos of America in the 1950s randomly assembled from the collections of Robert Frank, Cartier Bresson, Ansell Adams and LonelyGirl13 from Hicksville, Alabama be of any artistic interest ? I doubt it.

And NATURALLY, it’s all hooked up to Twitblogfacebo.  As for the business model, well it is invisible at present, but I wouldn’t mind betting that it will have something to do with bargain basement - and exploitative - photo licensing.

In my opinion there is a real demand for some kind of web resource which is genuinely aligned with ambitions of “serious” photographers. At the moment small self-organinsing clusters within Flickr go someway in that direction. But Flickr is too democratic, and has far too much noise. However, fotonauts, at least so far, is just another “me too” photo sharing site wrapped up in fancy words.

Oh, and it’s a Beta too ... as you can tell from this screenshot:


I didn’t touch anything. Honest.



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Older Comments

from Captain Interesting on Wed, May 27, 2009 - 8:35

Thanks for kicking the tyres of this site. Had a look. Don’t think the Captain will be trading in his flickr pages just yet. Nice try though ....

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