Recently, I’ve become a lot more involved with flickr, where I ‘went pro’ last week. With their 2 gig a month of uploading bandwidth I can put loads of photos up there now. Various features there make it pleasure to use.
First of all, they have fantastic tools for organizing photos into ‘sets’, or albums, all of which can show a slide-show at the push of a button. I am trying to do this in an interesting way and finding that it is certainly a lot more fun making galleries online than it ever was in a paper photo-album! You can put the same photo in various galleries, respond to comments from others, generally have an air of liveliness about it all that was pretty limited in the analog days (though it was fun sharing photo-albums then, of course!) The ease of doing all this is what makes it attractive- as well as the clear layout of everything.
Flickr also has various ‘groups’, to which you can submit your photos. They have all kinds of titles and rules- such as ‘natural macros’ or ‘bokeh- smooth and silky’, or even ‘zen’. These are like public photo albums which anyone can add to. Rules are usually a limit on how many photos you can submit in one day (to stop people from monopolising them), or to keep photos to a certain theme. In some cases voting chooses which photos can remain- such as in this amazing collection – Flickr’s 100 Best Pool. Groups certainly let you see and add to what interests you. The great thing is it’s like adding to an exhibition with other people! I for one find this an amazing feature. The only drawback is that they can get so big that your photos get lost in them- some have thousands of photos now and I’m sure hardly anyone has the time to see them all.
But what is truly amazing at flickr is the way that they can order your photos by ‘interestingness’. Somehow their computers measure a combination of the responses viewers make to your photos to see to see how unique your images are. Factors include the amount of views, ‘favourites’ and comments, when they came and from whom (presumably people who get more of their photos chosen have more influence), the tags you give them and perhaps even things like the colours in the photo. The exact formula is a well-guarded secret. Here are my (apparently) Most Interesting photos- shown using a custom program made by isaias. I think the system does a better job of choosing these than I could do!
You can even browse the site by the ‘most interesting’ photos- and find wonderful gems this way, images that truly amaze.
The standard of photography on Pbase seems to be higher, as a lot of pros are there and also I find the images are presented in a more stylish way on the screen- large, with a simple background. But it’s relatively conservative way of doing things, makes it harder to find unusual and striking images, or for amateur’s images to even be seen; even though you do see a lot of astounding, brilliantly taken images. Flickr, too, has some fantastic images and perhaps it focuses more on originality. Probably it’s not a good idea to compare the two sites, but there is something I can attest to- which is that flickr is fun!
Posted by Starfires on May 14, 2006