Another Flickr God Doth Speak to Us

Manipula has blocked me. I don’t know why. I haven’t mentioned him in this blog. As best I can recall, I haven’t engaged in any online snark with or about him.

What kind of photographer is Manipula? Here’s how he describes himself in his Flickr profile:

I’ve spent a grand total of about six years studying photography (and digital media, so that means I can wield a video camera too but given the Flickr/video issues you can find my video bits on Youtube instead!), I’ve taught it, studied it, sold it, know about it and have made sure it’s a core part of who I am.

One wonders what such an accomplished photographer is doing even posting on Flickr. But his participation on Flickr comes with a price; we must bow down to him and follow his seven commandments set out in his profile:

1 – Thou shalt not post stupid shiny sparkly graphics on my stream, it marks you out as a visually illiterate moron with no sense of style.

2 – Thou shalt not be a Flickr perv and stalk the photos on this stream of women then email me asking for their phone numbers. Flickr pervs are pretty much right at the top of my tree of things to hate about the online photography world, you will get blocked, banned or worse.

3 – Thou shalt not comment on my stream with the express intention of linking to your own work as some kind of dire trail of Flickr-spam, especially when it’s crap (and it often is).

4 – Thou shalt not invite me to groups and the like if your entire life consists of making porn stashes for your own amusement.

5 – Thou shalt not obsess over camera gear, it’s you that makes the photo, not an expensive lump of plastic.

6 – Thou shalt not steal, reproduce, re-distribute, post online, print or pass off as your own any of my work. I’ve sued over it before and I’ll do it again, take your own photos you talentless hacks!

7 – Thou shalt not visit my stream without saying hi, leaving with a sense of something greater, even if it is giggles, or without wanting to take more photos yourself, or I’ll set the boys on you. And the boys are quite large.

Don’t get me wrong. Manipula is entitled to put whatever he wants in his Flickr profile. But trying to dictate the terms of how viewers interact with your photostream is so pointless. If you don’t want your photos to be “stalked by Flickr pervs” the only way to avoid it is to avoid posting on Flickr. If you don’t want people whose work is crap commenting on your photos the only way to avoid it is not to post on Flickr.

I never understand people who get so indignant about comments they receive. Here Manipula thinks anyone who posts a graphic on his site is a “visually illiterate moron with no sense of style.” Hmm. Maybe that’s my sin. I use a simple graphic to tell someone I think his photo is superior (linked to a lengthy explanation of why I thought so). I’ve handed out about five hundred or so over the last year or so. My moronic conduct is appreciated by virtually all of the recipients… In any event, anyone can delete any comment on her photos. It takes about three seconds.

The commandment about not obsessing over camera gear is bizarre. Even the least of us know “(we) take the picture an not a an expensive lump of plastic.” Somehow I doubt Manipula only uses a Kodak Brownie in his freelance work. I imagine he has “an expensive lump of plastic” with several “expensive lumps of glass”, too. I also imagine he chose his gear for reasons he found important. Perhaps he even obsessed about his choices. Gear may not take better pictures by itself. Gear allows us to take better kinds of pictures in different circumstances. To anyone serious about photography gear is important.

We all also know you take the picture and not your education. I’ve seen photographs taken by someone with no formal training which are far superior to anything produced by more “educated” photogs.  Visit Manipula’s photostream and you decide if you see anything truly remarkable or original. I’m obviously biased, but I didn’t.

Why, I wonder, does Manipula command us not to steal his photos? Does he think the vast horde of Flickr rubes are ignorant of copyright? Does he think those willing to steal photos and claim them as their own are going to be deterred by his commandment? Again, if you don’t want your photo used by others in perhaps illegal ways, don’t post on Flickr. It does absolutely no good to rail on and on about your rights. I recently found a Japanese website using one of my photos. Of course, not knowing the language, I didn’t even know what the site was about. In the real world there was really no affordable remedy available to me.

I know this post is far too long. I apologize. Posts should be short and pithy (or link to sexy photos…) It just that Flickr snobs like Manipula and their arrogance really annoy me. I’ve communicated with Flickr photographers whose work is simply amazing, whose masterful work illuminates the world. These artists tend to be magnanimous and appreciate any praise they receive; they are content to let their photographs alone speak of their ability. They impose no limits on you or how you may interact with those photographs.

By the way, if you wish to comment on this post, you must be respectful, make cogent points, and write only in Italian sonnet form.

Read all of Visions

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