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Explore Gets Lacklustr: Has Flickr Become Diluted by Children With Remotes?

January 21, 2010

First and foremost, I would like to say that Flickr is a place for everyone. Come one, come all: Old and young, professional and amateur. Bring any subject: Snapshots, portraits, landscapes, sports, wildlife, videos…whatever.

With that out of the way, I would like to express my concern for Flickr’s Explore feature. I’m an amateur photographer and cinematographer with great intent on becoming professional. I refer to Flickr and other sites to illuminate ideas for my own work, yet I’ve found that as their tenure for online portfolio showcasing increases, the creativity becomes commonplace. The term original becomes a bastard in a pool of stock memory on celluloid and disk. When I click on the Last 7 Days Interesting, there is an overwhelming amount of images that I don’t necessarily identify with. Of course, there is no problem with that, but I still wonder what justifies such images to be chosen as Explored, or Interesting. Let me elaborate. Last 7 Days Interesting page comes as a random reload page of 9 images at a time. At any given “reload” one will most definitely find the following in proper ratio: 1/9 flowers and puppies, 1/9 random still life, 2/3 self-portraits of teenage girls, and sadly, 1/9 actually interesting and well composed images (maybe after a few clicks). That specific 2/3 group I unveiled is what I think hurts me most these days. They have so much talent, yet their drive is dragging at the ankles.

Now before, the argument starts, I must confess. My photostream is also repetitive, slightly unoriginal, and lacking the depth that a true “portfolio” expects. So, I’ll take the position of: I am one of them, therefore I can speak for the sake of enlightenment for all. Perhaps I have become a product of the dull images I stumble upon each day. The teenagers and twentysomethings that take square-cropped and photoshopped portraits of themselves in fields and forests with nice cameras and remotes. The even more bitter portion of the platter I’m dishing out is the fact that most of these many young photographers have the gift of taking great pictures, yet they just keep doing the same self-portraits, hanging their heads down low and writing some over-dramatic poem that demands the reader to click on a link to their Tumblr or song of the day. Try something new. I know you have it in you. I know you have friends who can model for you. I know you have more interesting clothing and accessories to include in your shots. I know you have more than one background to feed from for each after school shoot. I know this, because I tell myself these things every day when I pick up my camera. Together, we can make that “reload” button actually exciting again. Well, I have to get on Explore first, but someday. What’s right around the corner? Something fresh! Interesting! Artistic! Original! Personal!

I’m not attempting to be callous or impertinent. I just want to see the creativity expand, develop, and soar to the highest reaches of one’s ability. I want to be wowed by Flickr’s Explore again. And so I say once more, Flickr is a place for everyone…But, Explore should be reserved for those artists that produce gorgeous and meaningful images that are worthy of heavy public rotation. Spin it like I’m the coach’s pep-talk at halftime when the team is losing the championship. Let’s see more, because I know there is more. Don’t just snap the same shot (which was great the first couple times) and sit back to watch yourself get clicks and ho hum hoorays by fans. Tell me a story. Tell it well.

You first, though.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 21, 2010 5:43 pm

    you’re speaking the language of the few people that actually do develop into good photographers

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