Trey Ratcliff is Right About Pinterest

"I look at my photography like this. When I make an image it belongs to me. It belongs to me while I take the photo. It belongs to me while it sits in my camera. It belongs to me while I process it on my Mac. It belongs to me while I let it sit in an archive folder waiting to be uploaded to the internet.


Then I upload it to the internet and it’s like I’m taking a bird and opening my window and letting it go. Off she goes. Her song to be enjoyed by the entire world — certainly no longer mine." -- Something I wrote about my photography a while back.


My good Pal Trey Ratcliff has a post out this morning about the hottest new site on the interwebs, Pinterest.


In his post Trey makes the case on why Pinterest is good for artists. This part resonated the most with me:


"A pure artist has two motivations: creation for the sake of creation and sharing for the sake of connecting with the world.


Sharing your artistic creation with one person is better than zero. Sharing your artistic creation with 20 people is better than 10. And so it goes."


I've been on Pinterest for almost a year now. The way I probably describe Pinterest to people most often is, "it's what Flickr's Galleries should have been." Pinterest is one of the best curation tools on the web today. Using it is super easy. You just put a bookmarklet into your browser and click on it on any image on the web that you can share. That image is then presented on one of your boards as sort of an oversized thumbnail that links back to the original page that you are sharing from. TechCrunch says it's 97% women. Well hello there ladies and Trey Ratcliff.


Being able to aggregate all your favorite images from around the web and share them in galleries is pretty cool. In Trey's post he also makes what is I think a pretty accurate statement, "As this future becomes more and more plain to me, I see a rapture of sorts, where old-school photographers clinging to the old-fashioned ways of doing things will be “left behind.”


Alot of old-school photographers are upset about sites like Pinterest and another popular sharing site Tumblr. I see photographers complaining about their images showing up on these non-commercial sharing sites and getting all wound up in knots. Some photographers spend all their time scouring the web using tools like Tineye and Google's Reverse Image Search to find every possible unauthorized use of their images and then run around the web grumbling about this.


As for me, I've always loved the curators, collectors and fans out there. I love it when people find one of my images and like it enough to want to share it on Pinterest or Tumblr or Google+ or wherever. I think that's just awesome -- as an artist it is my goal to have my work touch as many people as humanly possible. I want more and more and more and more people to see my work. I want people to think about it and react to it and appreciate it and share it.


Long ago I recognized that part of putting work on the web comes with authorized use and unauthorized use both -- especially lots and lots of unauthorized NON-COMMERCIAL use. Sometimes people don't even credit me per my Creative Commons license. Would I rather people credit me as the creator of the image? Sure. But you know what, if they don't I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. Because I got over that sort of negative way of viewing the world a long time ago. It's better for your soul to just let it go. If someone uses your image in a blatant commercial way against your license, there are resources for you to pursue. But especially when people are using your images in non-commercial ways, life is just too short to worry about the little things like that.


I, for one, welcome our new world that includes great new sites like Pinterest. I love that a vibrant new platform is emerging on the scene that celebrates beauty all around us. I'm honored that some in that community find beauty in my work and want to share that to others and so I'm a huge Pinterest fan.


Are you on Pinterest yet? You have to have an invite to get in. ;)


You can find me there here.

  • Luis Velázquez 3y

    Please invite me, Thomas!
  • sunmallia 3y

    I have been trying did not know someone else had to invite you.....
  • Ralph Combs 3y

    Thanks Thomas, appreciate the insight.
  • Gino 3y

    Actually fella's you don't beg for an invite. You just got to Pinterest and submit yourself for one. I read trey's post yesterday and submitted myself. No word yet. If they're smart, and why wouldn't they be, they'll ban me now and save me from self banning later.

    your post here helped me think about to use Pinterest To-Mas. Now I'm itching to get on it and get rolling.
  • * * * Mike A * * * 3y

    You're good with sharing your photos on Pinterest. I'm good with sharing my photos. But . . . how many shoes am I stepping on when I share others photos. I don't want to constantly worry about who's work I can share. Photog A pats me on the back for sharing his work and photog B curses me or worse. It gets so complex.
  • Rich 3y

    I just starting using Pintrest a few days ago. It got me thinking of something. It is cynical act to only pin your own photos to buzz market yourself on Pintrest?
  • Thomas Hawk 3y

    Gino just sent you an invite. ;)
  • Tigershoot 3y

    Sorry but calling Pinterest non-commercial is comical. They insist that users pin only content they own the rights to which they patently know is impossible as the website would then hardly exist.

    Their website is based wholly on the concept of stealing others work which incredibly they then claim gives them..." irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services."
  • Dave Parker 3y

    I could not agree more. I have been trying to express more or less what you just described over the last 6-7 years since I started posting my photos on flickr via creative commons. I LOVE when my pics get picked up and used for random stuff. I have been on book covers, many web/blog articles so many times I have lost count and I am honored, it never gets old and I am proud that my image saw more life then just me and a couple friends. Thank you, the analogy of letting it free to fly on the internet will always stick with me now! BTW, I love Pintrest too it feels like a whole new audience for my pics and stuff I am interested in, totally fun. I am inspired again, I needed that!
  • QuentinUK 3y

    Rich The rules state that you must have the rights to the photo. So you are only allowed to pin your own photos. But at the same time you are not supposed to use it for self promotion. These rules are contradictory.
  • QuentinUK 3y

    Dave Parker Some people do enjoy this and they can select the appropriate Creative Commons licence for this but Pinterest does not respect people's choice of Creative Commons Licence.

    ps What if a Flickr user has the right to browse someones private pictures, but absent mindedly Pins a private picture?
  • Marizabel 77 4mo

    Estoy completamente de acuerdo Mr Hawk!! Saludos :)
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