Mea Culpa

I post a lot of photos on Flickr. As of today, my photostream contains 8,803 photographs. Some of those photos are very good, a larger number of them are good. A larger number still are just OK. And the biggest number are … well. … “there”.

Why do I post so many photos? Because I can!  Flickr is my archive. Think about how cost effective Flickr is as storage. At an average of three megs per image I have over 26 gigs of photos on Flickr. I can load another 26 gigs, or fifty or five hundred for the same cost: twenty-five bucks per year ($2.09 per month). There’s a rather large downside, of course, It would take me about four days to download all of my photos to my computer and I’d have to do it by hand! My photos are visible and organized. Of course the benefit of seeing millions of other photos on Flickr can’t be ignored.

I just pray Flickr doesn’t go kaput.

Other photographers on Flickr post very few images. Imapix, a photographer I admire, posted 31 photos this past May. Publik Oberberg, a Flickr master, posted 45. I posted 201. I believe Imapix and Oberberg only upload what they believe are their best photos. This use of Flickr – post only your best work – is fine, of course, if that’s how the artist chooses to use Flickr. Here’s an except from an article in the blog Thinking About Art making the point:

I think it’s important that as a viewer we work hard to separate the casual images from the “Art.”  But sometimes, no matter how hard we may try, we fail.  We begin to have doubts about that person’s ability.  We wonder why they aren’t being more selective with what they choose to upload to Flickr. Do they really think this is a good image or are they posting it for fun?  Does the supportive fan base who comments on the photos as if they’ve never seen a bad picture serve to give the photographer false confidence?

If I posted only what I believed to be my very best photos I’d guesstimate my ‘stream might run into the mid triple digits. Maybe less. If I took the route of spending time to decide which were my best shots (and how do I decide?) and then posted only those, Flickr would be a much worse value to me. I’d be paying money to work to create a Flickr ‘stream for unknown viewers who might judge my work as better than they do now because I  had culled out all the questionable images. How do I benefit from that!?  Do I win a prize?

Flicker isn’t a museum and its not intended to be. It is just a place on the ‘net to post photos. Great photos, good photos and those other photos only your mother would coo over. Use it however you wish. But I think any use is as valid as any other.

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