How Flickr is different from "great photography"

I have been reading books this summer on photography, and it's interesting to note how the pics in these books are different from the great pics on Flickr, i.e. high quality snaphots by enthusiastic amatuers. The picture above, of a sunset at Lake of the Woods in Mahomet, Illinois taken with the Vivitar Ultra Slim & Wide and cross-processed 35mm film, is an example of what you would likely NOT see in a photo art book (although you might see in a coffee table book).


Pictures considered "great" in published books...


1. Are older than pics on Flickr. No surprise, it takes time to establish greatness; even to be found and put into print!


2. Are almost all black & white as compared to Flickr's mostly color pics. No surprise here, see #1... but it does make one want to explore what you can do in the more pure medium of b&w.


3. Are more people oriented than Flickr pictures. Most great pics have humans in them, and many have a LOT of humans in them. Yes, Flickr has a lot of people shots, but the percentage is smaller, and you rarely see Flickr shots with hoardes of people. Many "famous" streets shots are candids, which are somewhat shunned in some circles of Flickr.


4. Are more likely to capture the moment. It's what makes great pictures great, and it's probably present in only a percent or two of Flickr pictures. Most good Flickr pics are beautiful, but they're not capturing the essential human moment.


5. Have one (and only one) person acknowledge the camera. Many of the great group pics in books have a single person looking at the camera, while the rest of the group is involved in the scene. Look for it.


6. More likely to show naked woman, and less likely to be humorous. While Flickr has its share of skin, it's minute in comparison to how many naked women are in these art books. Conversely, where the hell is the humor? The art world seems to have shunned the humor present in everyday snapshots.




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Uploaded on August 5, 2008