Archive for category Social Media

Britain’s Photographic Revolution?

On a day when The Observer’s Sean O’Hagan writes about what is, in his opinion, a revolution in photography in Britain’s galleries, we’re also treated to an article by Source Magazine called The Invisible Gallery, lamenting the chronic inability of photography galleries to develop an online presence of any standing.

Source rightly note that very little of Britain’s large photographic archive (newsletters, periodicals, exhibition outlines, etc.) has been digitized, nor do most of the galleries even have something as basic as a Wikipedia entry to their digital name.

That’s before we even consider matters like understanding social media well enough to be able to use it in a constructive way. Most galleries are little more than broadcasters here. But it isn’t just the galleries who still don’t seem to ‘get’ social media – agencies are equally poor, with tweets at the height of the Libyan Uprising from photojournalism agencies celebrating their ability to take fun photographs of Americana, being just one #epicfail I’ve seen lately. It’s a bit like sitting in a pub where your mate is proudly talking about his new baby, and responding with “I watched the football last night”.

Digital media is being hailed as the new frontier of photography, but I’ve seen little from the photography institutions (not just the galleries) to demonstrate an understanding of any of it beyond the ability to use Mail Chimp combined with the Tweetdeck auto-tweet function to spam provide photography fans with exactly the same content by email and by social media.

So, we have a few new job positions specialising in photography (with an emphasis on collecting prints for their archives) at the big London institutions (no mention of any organisation outside of Zone 1 in O’Hagan’s piece…sorry Open Eye, sorry Side, sorry Stills, sorry Impressions, sorry Third Floor, etc), and no talk at all of any of the numerous photography festivals, let alone talk of grassroots developments and what they’re up to.

Still less any talk about how to navigate the digital world. This has been a popular topic at recent conferences, seminars, lectures, and festivals. But again, it mostly boils down to key organisation representatives sipping water and saying, “we don’t know how this will develop, and we don’t know how to make sense of it yet…but it’s really exciting!” Advice to photographers? Get involved in this new fangled way of doing things as much as you can! Just don’t expect us to have any clue what you’re doing, how to evaluate it, or even how to find it. We’re still wondering why Steve Jobs hasn’t put an “off” switch on our computers!

If there has indeed been a revolution in British photography at all, I rather suspect it is known more colloquially as “the spinning beachball of death” on a Mac computer.

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G+ Gives Circles, But PLUS Gives A Revolution

Lately, David Hoffman has been telling me about PLUS. Nope, not Google+, but PLUS, which aims to be a genuinely and definitely useful online resource for photographers (while Google+, despite it’s highly promising start, is still a resource with limited and unproven benefits).

PLUS is the brainchild of LA photographer, and PLUS CEO, Jeff Sedlik, and is being promoted through the EPUK website.

Ever had one of those discussions about how easily copyrighted works are being used online? About how easy image theft is, and how much it is costing the industry? Or about how Orphan Works are being created by the online platforms we use (Facebook, this mean you, dear) not to mention being used by image-users as a scapegoat for failing to contact photographers?

Answer yes to any of those, and PLUS is something you really need to check out.

Ever been an image-user who comes across a great image in a magazine, and you want to use it, but there’s no byline and you’ve no way of finding its author? If so, PLUS is something you really need to check out.

In short, if PLUS is taken up by photographers worldwide, the image recognition software used by it will make it easy to locate the author of any registered image – you’d just take a photo of it with your phone, and access PLUS to find the author of it. This means images that couldn’t have been used before now can. This means photographers are more likely to get paid. And this means there is less defence for using an image without seeking permission, as for any registered image it would take a matter of seconds to find the contact details for its author. No excuses, just fair play to all in the image-business, meaning fair play from all in the image-industry.

Revolutionary? Google+ may have circles, but EPUK and PLUS may well have just reinvented the wheel…

In the words of EPUK:

“PLUS moves to save photographers, distributors and publishers

…and to make Orphan Works instantly identifiable.

The PLUS Registry sounds as exciting as a phonebook, but promises the largest evolutionary step for the imaging industry since the internet arrived.

Our EPUK article written by moderator Tony Sleep published today lays out a detailed explanation of the system and its potential .

The PLUS Coalition are offering supporting organisations a free listing in the the beta version of the non-profit PLUS Registry. This exciting new resource for the creative community will make it easy to identify and contact the creator and rights holder for any image, worldwide.

The PLUS Registry is provided by the non-profit PLUS Coalition, a global collaboration between all industries engaged in creating, distributing, using and preserving images. By connecting images to creators and rights information, the PLUS Registry lays the foundation for significant improvements in our industry, and will minimize the impact of future orphan works legislation.

Contact Tony Sleep: TonySleep[at]halftone[dot]co[dot]uk for more information.

David Hoffman

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Nate Larson – Call For Submissions

Nate Larson runs a tumblr blog, documenting the desktops of creatives from around the world. And he wants your desktop! Well, a screengrab of it, anyway. 5 minutes of your time, and intuhwebz fame is guaranteed*.

From Nate:
Artists, writers, & other creative folk – please send a screen capture of your desktop for Nate Larson’s ongoing blog project. I’m curious to see how creative people organize their thought process in the digital age – whether it’s minimal or complex, customized or corporatized, or how it reflects other evidence of your artistic work you do:

*Maybe. Depending on how you define “intuhwebz fame” and how frequently Google crawls tumblr.

Hoping to add Part II of the Collateral Damage – Landscapes of Conflict exhibition and one-day seminar (Paul Lowe, LCC, and Harry Hardie, HOST) later tonight.

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First-Stop For Greener Creativity

I have to share this wonderful little site, which I came across (all thanks to the cool kids over at GOOD Design) today. It’s in its first stages, but expect it to grow rapidly – it offers the twin-wonders of reducing overheads to photographers while also making the world a better, greener place. Who could complain about that?

First-stop is a portfolio site, set up by creatives who were overwhelmed by the amount of paper promos they regularly received. Here’s what they had to say about it:

“The inspiration for the project came from the realization that our small agency alone amasses about 28 kilograms (60 pounds) of promotional post cards, posters, and booklets from illustrators and photographers every month,” says founder Lance Vining. “That got us thinking: If we take that 28 kilograms and multiply it by say 15 agencies, that’s about 410 kilograms of paper that’s just thrown away. What a waste.”

So, as a response, they created First-stop. If you’re a creative, you can sign up, and they will feature your portfolio on the site provided you pledge either to reduce your paper promos or that you don’t send any already.

The idea is that agencies and creatives can use First-stop to find work in paperless form, while also being able to opt-for working with other individuals who have pledged to make the world a less wasteful place.

I think it’s a cracking idea, and I’ve signed up already. 🙂

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