Why Flickr has to compete with Instagram to survive.

Flickr is one of the longest standing photo sharing sites on the internet (Feb 2004), but it finds itself playing catch-up with a relative newcomer -Instagram (Oct 2010).

Why is that?

Because the way most people take and share photos has dramatically changed since Flickr was founded over a decade ago.

10 Years is a very long time in this era of technology. How many people do you know are still using a ten year old device of any sort- TV, PC, Cellphone, internet connection. The smartphones we carry around today have more power and connectivity than the large tower desktop computers of ten years ago. People now use their smartphones for everything including documenting their daily lives through photography. 

That is where Instagram came in. An app based on your smartphone it allows you the ability to be an archivist of daily life, artistic creative type and socializer with the swipe of a few strokes. Take a picture with your phone, apply a filter to make it your own and share it with just a few friends or the whole world faster than it took me to type this paragraph.

Anytime, anywhere.

Sure beats booting up a clunky old PC, opening a web browser, sticking in an SD memory card, uploading photos and all the corresponding social media sites to share with, oh is that your computer needing to do a software update.

See what I mean, that’s like me typing this on a typewriter, scanning the pages to get the same results as typing this on a keyboard.

Sure there is still a need for desktop based image collections, the good news is Flickr can be both.

That is why I tried its app on my iPad recently to see how close it comes to its competition - VSCO CAM and Instagram.

Lets take a look at some screenshots:

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First is the capture or camera screen, great feature here - the ability to use the filters in a live view during capture. Instead of having to take the photo and then apply the filter you can apply at capture.

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Second is the editing screen, the magic wand is like an auto fix, there is a crop and the color rings are the filters, the dots expand the editing features on more screen with things like contrast and brightness.

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The final screenshot I wanted to share was the info screen, I think this one is pretty cool, kudos on this Blade Runner/ Minority Report looking screen, Tech is cool yet many apps don’t reflect that coolness.

All in all what matters is the response from the community that made Instagram the Billion Dollar success that it is, surpassing Twitter and Facebook in daily teen users. Not the hardcore photo geek who used to own a chemical darkroom but the person who grew up using tech and isn’t ashamed to do something the easy way because of it.

What ever you do moving forward Flickr don’t forget that.

Historic Safety Harbor Church - Digital Wet Plate Photograph

A view from inside the historic Safety Harbor Church located at Heritage Village Museum in Pinellas County Florida.

Searching for meaning in imperfection.

 Up until recently I had been seeking perfection with my photography. Well I don’t know if perfection is the right word, maybe realism or at least spot on focus, sharp details, etc. with an HDR twist.

 But I realized my images may not be telling a story, specifically my story. Conveying a message. They did not have meaning.

 Could something be cool but boring. Could you glance at an image and say “That’s nice!” only to move on, not wondering what was around that corner or what those people in the picture might be up to. More importantly does photography have to have meaning?

I am not a trained artist/photographer nor do I have any formal education in the arts but I know there are different styles or movements in the art world. Realism, classical, impressionist. Ansel Adams one of the most well known modern photographers was a founding member of the f/64 group, they strived to maintain sharp focus. That group and their Modernist aesthetic has pushed many photographers towards what is commonly called “Pixel Peeping”, or close inspection of every image for any defect or fault.

The f/64 group was responding to an earlier photography movement known as “Pictorialism”.

Pictorialism is defined by Wikipedia as - 

"…a style in which the photographer has somehow manipulated what would otherwise be a straightforward photograph as a means of "creating" an image rather than simply recording it. Typically, a pictorial photograph appears to lack a sharp focus… may have visible brush strokes or other manipulation of the surface. For the pictorialist, a photograph, like a painting, drawing or engraving, was a way of projecting an emotional intent into the viewer’s realm of imagination."

For me Pictorialism seems closer to creating art while pixel peeping goes down the road of technical excellence.

There is no right or wrong just paths to choose from and I am trying to follow my own creative urges instead of satisfying a crowd of critics.

It seems therefore that I am currently working in more of a pictorialist style than one of technical perfection. I am interested in storytelling and leaving more to the imagination than recording a scene for posterity.

Putting into practical use the phrase “Less is more.”

“Less is more.”
Ludwig Mies van der RoheWikipedia

Cypress Cathedral - Highlands Hammock State Park, Florida.

Why I Abandoned WordPress.com for Tumblr.

After many years of blogging on various platforms I have decided to park my photography and writing endeavors on Tumblr.com.

The interface is clean, quick and smooth. Keep it simple stupid.

The lack of commenting is a big plus for me, I don’t care what other people think.

The fact I get a custom domain for free, big bonus.

You can embed almost anything into a post, even an audio clip you can call in, gotta check that feature out. ( https://www.tumblr.com/tips )

Who knows what the future holds but so far so good.

St. Pete Pier Abandoned - Digital Wet Plate Photography

An URBEX styled image of the now empty Pier in downtown St. Pete Florida.

Digital Wet Plate Photography

I recently started experimenting with some post processing techniques on photographs in my large portfolio of images.

I’m calling it “Digital Wet Plate Photography”. 

I Google’d the phrase and there does not seem to be a strict definition or interpretation in the results so I am appropriating it’s usage to fit my needs.

We all know what digital means but what about “Wet Plate”?

Wet Plate or the Collodion Process was an early form of photography. Actually it is still practiced to this day by hard core enthusiast and professionals. It involved glass plates and chemicals along with a traditional camera, think wooden box with lenses and a cape.

Mine varies in that the image is captured digitally and then manipulated using post processing software. The resulting ones and zeroes combine to form a .jpeg file which resembles the old school glass plates. Hence “Digital Wet Plate Photography”. My previous post “Chrome American Muscle" is one of the early results from my experimentation. 

All of this came about after the creation of my “Scary Selfie" which was patient zero to the process.

SCARY SELFIE

I was playing around in Photoshop with a selfie I took of myself yesterday and I came up with what I consider to be a pretty scary looking image.