Saturday, September 13, 2008

Flickr's Explore

For those people who have Flickritis, you know what I'm talking about when I mention
"Explore" and the "Top 500" of
Flickr. These are the images that the magic donkey on Flickr deems to be the most interesting. Ah, the elusive Flickr magic donkey.

Interestingness is a huge deal on Flickr. It's an algorithm and no one really knows how the algorithm works. Well, I'm sure that many people have figured it out but it's always changing. Some people really care about having their images featured on explore while others, like myself, think it's fun but are not deeply invested in the game. It is, after a all, a game where we don't really know the rules or how to win. It's fun! There is some pretty amazing work on Flickr. I have lost hours of my life navigating through Explore and the many groups on Flickr. I also love to look through the favorites of some of my contacts and I've found some seriously beautiful and evocative work that way.

Even though I claim to treat it like a game, I would not be honest if I said that I didn't love to find my stuff featured on the Explore pages or on the front page. It always surprises me to see which of my images make it to the explore pages. Again, I'm not sure how it works.

I love the Flickr blog and I definitely recommend it if you love photography like I do. In fact I love so many photography blogs and this is one of my favorites. I definitely recommend that you spend some time there. My only disclaimer is that you set aside a block of time because once you start clicking, it's almost impossible to stop. Below you'll find some of the images that have made it to the Explore front page. The screen shot was provided by a friend on Flickr...I've never taken screen shots when one of my images appeared on there. I guess, like I said, I never was really that invested in it but I certainly do appreciate it! Either way, I love Flickr...after all, it was Flickr that inspired me to do all this. Enjoy!

Finally, yesterday I blogged about
Photoshelter and their calling it quits on the collection portion of their sites. I have been meaning to blog about the
Getty/Flickr relationship for some time and this is the perfect opportunity. Perhaps some of you already know that this summer Yahoo!, the parent company of Flickr, announced a partnership which will allow Getty Images to begin marketing select images that Flickr users upload online. Another favorite blogger, Thomas Hawk, blogged about it and you can read that here. Many people have different thoughts about what this means for Flickr and for photography in general. I'm pretty excited to check it out and see if it's something that will work for me. I have to say that I agree with Thomas Hawk in that I think that this partnership is a very promising development, but, I'm reserving judgment on its merits until we see how the deal will actually play out.

It appears that in the past Getty has seemed to make a very strong distinction between their "Pro" quality Getty Images photographs, which represents their bread and butter business, vs. "amateur" images which have largely been pushed towards their microstock offering iStockphoto. iStockphoto sells images for much less than Getty's traditional stock photography business, typically marketing images at $1, $3 and $5 per image and it seems that with this new offering, Getty is going to treat at least some of Flickr's images as they would their own "Pro" photographer imagery. Thomas Hawk pointed out, and I agree, that it's likely that current Getty "Pros" are probably not thrilled about having a new horde of "amateurs" joining their ranks and competing with their own image sales. But, there's no denying the quality of imagery that many of these so called amateurs are posting to Flickr, nor the breadth of photography that has been accumulated, organized and ranked.

It will be interesting to see how Getty balances out this conflict and whether or not their new "Flickr Collection" will receive the same marketing emphasis as their own Pro photography collection.

Here are some of my shots that have been Explored:

I think that some of these are "nice" but they are by no means my best work or the most interesting, in my view. Some of them are good but I think that others (like the flower which is a rare thing for me to photograph) are kind of pedestrian and just okay. Perhaps these would be great for licensing or stock but artistically, it's the kind of thing that someone would see and react with "oh, that's nice"...I like to take photographs that elicit a different reaction, although I certainly can appreciate these kinds of images and can see their qualities. Some of these, although certainly not all of them, are just decorative but they don't say that much to me other than that they are nice and pretty good travel photos. I'm not sure if you can guess which ones are my favorites.

In New York Freedom Looks Like...Too Many Choices


Lines in the Sand


Ancient Wonder




Lost in Translation

I Love New York

Hot Purple Lips

Sorry Street

By the way, something strange is happening with my links today...Not sure why.

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