Alec reposted the 2point8 thrash from last year where Stephen Shore had a hissy about all the bad photographs on flickr. To recap, Shore’s position is that good photography can’t exist in the same place as bad photography of kittens and rainbows. I suppose we’re expected to believe that everything that came out of The Factory was revolutionary. It’s a shame to see Shore flailing on the upper end of the “art vs. the masses” see-saw, but so be it, there’s a lot of digital fear from the old guard, even from those who use Macs.
One would hope a pioneer like Shore might be more visionary about the future (isn’t calling eBay merch photographs “art” so 1998?), but where would the art world be if it weren’t exclusionary? Gatekeeping’s an expensive business, and absolutism is one way to safeguard your share, I guess.
Of the less than 1% of photographers on flickr who consistently post good work (in both singles and sets), there are people who make photographs that break-down, crumple-up and wipe the floor with most of the photography I’ve seen in Chelsea (and elsewhere), the only difference is that I can only see it on a screen, through a site owned by Yahoo. I would not have known about these folks had it not been for flickr, and I’ve met quite a few of them in my travels here and abroad.
As a whole, they enrich, surprise and challenge me in a way that rivals my stack of photobooks, and I loves me stacks of books. Here are a few singles from friends, favorites and mysteries alike: