Flickr is a Car Crash

When I pop into the occasional discussion on flickr, I’m reminded that there’s no substitute for Real Life Conversations and that the online world (and this flickr thread in particular) continually misses the boat of intent, context, and reason. On all sides.

It’s like an accident-in-slow-motion, and there’s metal screeching and burning tires and everyone’s screaming, including the people who are watching, claiming they’re the victim.

Truly nothing to see here. Move along.

Update: Rather than deleting this post, which was intemperate and not to form, I thought I’d open up a transparent discussion on flickr about the surrounding issues.

16 thoughts on “Flickr is a Car Crash”

  1. Um, so why did you decide to point out those piles of crap, to the countless rest of us? They’re not anywhere close to our neighborhoods, so no chance of accidentally stepping in them, had you not shoved them right under our noses. When it comes to crap slinging among morons, even stupid people like me know to simply walk away, without a word to anyone.

  2. I gave up on online photo communities long ago. Not much thoughtful discussion to be found. Mostly absolutists about one form of photography or another, or the Kodachrome sunset crowd.

    But I would like to know what make street photography “hardcore”. Other than the calcification of its practitioner’s minds.

  3. Simple solution, boys and girls, never, EVER refer to yourself as a “street photographer.”

    Why is it “hardcore?” Because the group has admins who approve what gets into the pool, unlike many other pools where you can post whatever. Just because you like your photo of pedestrians’ backs isn’t good enough. Someone else has to like it, too.

  4. This reminds me of a recent excursion I made into dpreview on accident. I almost gouged my eyes out.

    That being said, one interesting side note to me is that the photographs taken by these people (regardless of their often awful arguments) are generally of a higher caliber than the general flickr population. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t see any masterpieces or master photographers, but generally speaking they suck less than normal people. This leads me to think that whether they like it or not, even the people who hate Jörg tend to be positively influenced by the general taste and criticism he gives rather than those who haven’t heard of him, which is interesting to me, at least.

  5. Certainly there are a lot of contentious “discussions” on any internet forum, and participant anonymity allows them to get out of control almost immediately. I’m not sure why this is worthy of a post on a site that’s theoretically “above the fray,” though. You know better than I do: there’s no end to the muck you can find on the internet…if that’s what you’re looking for.

    [disclosure: I’m clearly not an objective observer.]

  6. I suspect that they are attempting to discuss/practice/embody the “hardcore” end of street photography, whatever that might be, rather than saying that all street photography is “hardcore”.

  7. From Webster:

    Hardcore: characterized by or being the purest or most basic form of something : fundamental

  8. Well said, Peter. And Kramer, I do know better. Thanks for the reminder.

    My thought about the whole thing (last night, when I considered wading in, and thought better of it) is that people have been able to have threaded discussions in online forums for what, 10 years now? And when I dip into them, I’m always surprised to see how little has evolved.

    I’ve been called a hypocrite and a douchebag today, so hey, you make a blanket statement, you pay the price, right?

  9. Why pretend anyone called *you* a douchebag? It clearly isn’t the case, and even considering “hypocrite” to have been specifically levelled at you, rather than this page containing it, takes some fairly broad interpretation.

  10. Yeah, I guess that one liner statements on the net are going to generate shitstorms pretty fast. That said, I do think that we do have good photographers in hcsp (right, Michael?) and sometimes the discussions can be interesting. They are not as well presented as a well written post in a blog, but hey, limitations of the medium.

    And I still think that the ‘hardcore’ is just a name. Like 2point8, or am I supposed to believe that the author is always shooting wide open?

  11. Joni is right about the name – it is just a name, and a name which most people now involved with the group have problems with. But it was inherited and has stuck.

    Below is a list of some more important, significant photographers who have a significant number of photos in the pool. Some of them would be happy to call themselves a “street photographer”.

    Michael David Murphy

    David Solomons

    Joni Karanka
    Cardiff by Night

    Paul Russell
    Beside the sea

  12. Todd: I would never be dismissive of online photography communities. Through Flickr and Hardcore Street Photography I met MDM and bunch of other interesting people who I now consider friends.

    This would never have happened without Flickr.

    I keep tabs on most the well known photography and this permissive dismissal of Flickr and the photographers who hang out there is pretty lame. It really shows a lack of understanding about the way the web is evolving.

    And you can see this in the way most photographers use ‘blogs.’ Why do you think you often hear the complaint that it’s one big echo chamber? It’s because photography bloggers have replicated the same model over and over and over again.

    When someone gets an idea for a blog, the first thing that pops into their head is Concientious, Soth or one of the other first generation blogs. so they create their blog and harvest their content and ideas from the well known photography blogs. It becomes completely incestuous and predictable.

    Don’t get me wrong, there’s certainly some good content being created (I like Shoot The Blog! right now) but for the most part people are lazy and basically have become distributors and not content creators.

    How can an individuals understanding and appreciation of photography be so easily determined by the web tools they use? I’ve used Flickr for over two years and I’ve arrived at the conclusion that it sucks balls for presentation, but it’s a great place to meet like minded people and network. Not to mention it’s a good place to find emerging photographers or amateurs who have no desire to play the fine art photography game. And if you invest some time you’ll learn new things….be entertained….get honest feedback…collaborate on group projects….and meet some interesting people.

    I’m 31. But I’m guessing the median age of the first generation of photography bloggers is a few years older. You know what? It shows. And it certainly shows in professional photographers who have anxiety over the way the web is changing the game. It’s time to adapt and evolve….otherwise you’re going to get buried by the little punks coming up because they’ve completely embraced the web and are not afraid to experiment with the possibilities.

    Flickr is only one community. New communities have popped up and will continue to pop up and evolve. For me, this is exciting. I’m excited to see how artists and content creators will use the web in the near future.

    a few photographers whose work I found through flickr…

    Hin Chua
    Rose and Olive
    Raoul Gatepin
    Ludmilla Morais
    Ben Roberts
    Joni Karanka
    Chuck Patch
    Mark Alor Powell
    Steve West
    Ed Leveckis
    Todd Fisher
    Noah Kalina
    James Hendrick
    Eddie Geisler

    P.S. Stupid Photographer: You should try your schtick in HCSP. Of course, that means you’d have to associate with the plebs, but hell, a little exposure to a few more morons might start you on the path toward authenticity….

  13. well, i don’t really agree with that Guardian article. Again, it’s a generational thing I feel.

    Yes, internet debates often devolve into non-sense and mudslinging….but they can also inspire action.

    I know this current debate as spurred some of the HCSP members into seriously thinking about how they can collaborate in more productive ways than just running an open forum on Flickr.

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