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Controversy: Facebook/Instagram, Your Slip is Showing!

July 17th, 2013 No Comments
Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

We post a near-weekly article on a controversy in the Photography Industry on our sister blog on our professional site.  Let’s change ends and bring one controversy to our consumer-side readers.

Controversy, it seems begets controversy.  Though this one is flying under the radar, the issue is not any the less controversial.  About six months back we had blogged about the ‘Instagram Controversy.’  That situation had given rise to a class action lawsuit.  Today, Facebook, owner of Instagram, is both relieved (and perhaps a little cock-a-hoop) that the lawsuit “was dismissed by a judge last Friday on procedural grounds.”  This judgment is available on Gigaom and PhoneArena.

Note the key term ‘procedural grounds.’  That means that the underlying alleged facts of the case did not come into play.  The class action was always going to be an uphill struggle; after all, Instagram/Facebook did not sell harmful products nor did they even mislabel a product or service.  They pulled a ‘switcheroo’ on users who were using a free service.  Users who were unhappy with the switcheroo were free to terminate their accounts and take their (unpaid) business elsewhere.

That’s just the ‘common sense’ view.  With the alleged facts never being looked into (because the class action was procedurally deficient), one cannot tell whether or not the lawsuit, which pertained to ownership of rights of a web-service user’s photographs, had any merit or not.

All that said, perhaps we can draw an inference from a very revealing question cum plea out there on Facebook itself; in the write-up by David Cohen on its own site: “Readers[,] Is there any point to this case, since Instagram already reverted to its prior terms of service?”

“. . . reverted to its prior . . .”  But why?  Aha!  So Facebook/Instagram pulled a switcheroo on the switcheroo – a double U-Turn – because and after ‘they got caught’!

So what would have happened had there been no outcry, no uproar, no controversy?  Facebook isn’t telling but it’s reasonable to infer that that there would have been no second change of direction . . . .  Silently, quietly, Instagram may well have been enjoying some or another fruits from their unwitting users’ photographs!  

Now ain’t that controversial?


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Sentimental, Solitary, and Sunrise Galleries

February 8th, 2013 No Comments
Sunrise over Stonehenge on the summer solstice...

Sunrise over Stonehenge on the summer solstice, 21 June 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s take in three very different kinds of galleries all beginning with ‘S’: a Sentimental fad that’s catching on; next, a Solitary road trip; and third, a Sunrise ‘Best Of’.

Sentimental: “Dear Photograph”

If you haven’t heard about Dear Photograph yet, you would soon have. This (sickly?) sentimental site is becoming a popular fad to the extent that prestige publishers Taschen have published a book about it!

Dear Photograph quotes TIME as saying, “that idea is taking a snapshot . . . and holding it up against the original setting so that past and present blend into a new work of art.”  That description is mostly correct except for the last three words as ‘art’ is nowhere to be found though navel-gazing and self-indulgence are found in abundance.

Wait for the owners of the site to whip it up a la Instagram and then cash out with a multimillion-dollar sale to Google or the like!

Solitary: Slicing across America

Unlike Dear Photograph which boasts about art, The Great and Ghostly American Road Trip, shot by Walker Pickering, does not.  Yet it’s infinitely more artistic than Dear Photograph.  Consider this moody image of this bit of America frozen in time.  

If that’s not to your taste, how about a barren, lonely store coloured powder-puff pink against a backdrop of a dark night?  If you’re looking for people, you won’t find any in Pickering’s photographs of a deserted American countryside where you will find a caged, captive vending machine.

Dear Photograph also quotes TIME as using the word “evocative” for itself.  Look at ‘American Road Trip’ and see whether that word is better applied to the photos in this gallery.

Sunrise: Fine Photography

 Those words, “. . . work of art” – though one cannot find that in Dear Photograph you can find a few in ePHOTOzine’s Ten Top Shots taken at Dawn.  Here are three favourites.  First, this one of waters that seem to be both soft yet raging depending on where you look, in an image has leading lines, contrast, textures, and foreground and background interest.

This gallery is mostly about light, of course, considering that the subject is dawn.  Here, though, is a colour photograph with a very narrow set of tints or a limited palette that entices the viewer into the scene.  Again, leading lines have something to do with beckoning us into this misty dream.

Dawn (and twilight) is about the ‘Blue Hour’ and the hour after that is the ‘Golden Hour’.  Here’s a photograph that captures the transition from one to other.  While the sky and the light is clearly a cool blue, the horizontal rays of the rising sun impart a golden radiance to the earth and rocks to create a photograph of delightful ‘cleanness’ and clarity.


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Advanced Guide to Flickr

September 16th, 2008 No Comments

As promised, here are more tips on how you can have more fun on Flickr. Now that you’ve signed up, uploaded your photos, added your favorite contacts and joined fantastic groups, let’s take a look at some of the advanced features you can explore.

(If you’re a Flickr newbie, you may want to first read Flicker 101: A Beginner’s Guide for basic tips when starting out.)
Citizens of Flickrville, let’s take a tour:
Browse most interesting photos
With a mechanism to track all uploaded photos, Flickr comes up with cream-of-the-crop shots every day based on favorite tags, comments, views and others—they’re the best of the lot, handpicked by the gods, the blessed ones.
These great photos should be useful if you are looking for inspiration and diverse perspectives. It’s every Flickr member’s dream to find his photo land a spot on the highly desired Flickr-loves-you list.
Click Explore from the Flickr top menu to see random interesting photos. Refresh the page to see the next one. You can also check out more awesome uploads in the last 7 days or see them in a calendar-view of the current month.
Blog your Flickr photos
Surely, most of you maintain a blog. Although blog platforms like WordPress and Blogger have their own photo-posting capabilities, Flickr takes photo blogging to a new level by allowing you to post your new sunset shot directly from your photostream. Flickr can talk to your blog.
Configure your Flickr account to allow posting photos to your blog. After you set it up, you can make a test post to see if everything’s working well.  You should be able to post to your blog by clicking the Blog This button at the top of the photo. Presto! You’ve just blogged it.
Get a personalized URL
One, it’s easier to remember. Two, it creates personality. When you sign up, your Flickr address looks too generic, not to mention a little robotic:

By setting up a personal name, you change it to something like:
Be cautious though. Once you set your new URL, it’s locked. You cannot change it again.
Show off photos on your website        
Add a strip of Flickr photos on your blog or website. Let your visitors see—the instant you upload them—your recent Paris trip or your last gastronomic adventure in Melbourne. You can also choose to display the photo pool of a Flickr group that suits the purpose of your website, or simply show random photos from the whole of Flickr.
To do so, create a Flickr badge, copy and paste the generated HTML into your website’s source code and start showing off those photos.
Explore and discover
Flickr continues to evolve both in functionality and playfulness. There’s just a lot that can be done. Discover more Flickr treasures yourself and share it with us here. Feel free to post your suggestions in the comment section. Be assured that we’ll continue to post interesting finds as we go along.

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