Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Flickr Antics

Joonie Jatho just sent me a mail asking if I will ever blog again. Thank you Joonie. Of course I will. I know it's been a while. I guess I have been spending way too much time in photoshop and on Flickr. As a result I have used up my 200 pictures that come with a free account and I'm rather proud of most of them so I don't really want to delete any. I'm left wondering if I should go for a pro account but something is holding me back. I'll get to that later.

It's a funny world, the SL community on Flickr, and rather addictive. I have wondered why people, myself included, would spend so much time making, processing and posting pictures that will most likely be forgotten the next day. Is it the calling to produce true art, to express ourselves in a creative manner or is it the stream of views, comments and favourites we hope to get and with it the appreciation or even adoration we gain from our fellow flickerites? Maybe after all it's just an ego thing. Or part of it is anyway.

It would explain the extensive commenting and the virtual pats on the back that are constantly exchanged. It is a given that the more you comment on others the more comments you get back. The more comments you get the more you are loved, no? I guess it's like with every other community site whether it be Flickr, MySpace, SLProfiles even SL itself, we want to belong, be part of it. This does introduce some strange phenomenons though.

It's rare to get a "real" comment on a picture. What do I mean by that? A real comment in my opinion is just what it says it is, something a person wants to say about your work, good or bad. Not that I think all the "Gorgeous picture" or "Stunning work" compliments are not real but in all the comments made on my pictures there is just one in which the author states how she thinks the picture could be improved. Thank you Luna! That took courage because it's "just not done". In a way it is sad since we could all learn from each other if we had Luna's courage.

I know, there are groups you can add your pictures to just for that specific purpose, but that's not what I mean. I'm not saying every picture should be thoroughly dissected and evaluated, I'm just looking for some honesty. Usually the honesty is translated into "I don't like it so I will not comment".

Another strange phenomenon I've noticed is the tactics people use to get their pictures noticed. Adding it to a bizillion groups for example or adding a thousand tags or making sure you post it at a certain time for higest visibility. I caught myself doing it. I'm just as guilty of it as the next guy. All of that so I could belong and that brings me back to the pro account. I could easily get one. The cost isn't exactly a problem but why would I need to add hundreds more pictures? Why would I need to get my fix of comments on a neverending stream of pictures? Maybe I should stick to my 200 picture limit and only add pictures I think are really worth it, replacing an existing one. By doing so I would protect myself from the temptation to enter the rat race for pats on the back and I can go back to work on the pictures that really matter to me regardless of the comments.

But that's just a thought because if I started replacing older pictures I would lose the evolution in my work. It is most certainly there and it would be a shame to erase it. After all it is very nice to see how people's work progresses and changes or takes new turns. The endless creative possiblities was what sucked me into it and is what I still enjoy. I suppose I will just have to grow a spine and resist the temptation of picture vomiting and underhand tactics to get them noticed. The comments that matter will probably be there regardless and and I'll remind myself it's not supposed to be a popularity contest when I see 20 favourites appear on the next mediocre picture.


vint falken said...

As for the comments, yes, it's like any other community.

As for replacing older pictures, please don't do so. I fav with 'reason' and often go back to my favorites to search for a picture I want to see again, get some inspiration from or refer someone too. Just get a Pro account and be as selective as you yourself wish. If you want to show us your 100 best according to loki, just put them in a set? =)

*pats Loki on the back* ;)

Phoenix Ellsberg said...

First of all, welcome back to the wonderful world of blogging :-)

Second, I totally understand and agree with all you say in this post. I have struggled at times with Flickr as I have a tendency to compare myself (unfavourably) with other people. At times, I find myself looking at nothing but stunning, glossy, photoshopped pictures and feeling miserable that my photos are just no good, too raw, too 'straight from SL'. I look at the avatars in them and despair of ever looking half so good. I see the endless comments and favourites and wonder why no one is interested in what I have to offer.

Then, given time, I remember what I joined Flickr for. Not to get 'a fan club' of people who say everything I do is wonderful, but to share pictures of my SL, whether they be of places I have been, things I have built, friends, or just myself posing. I am proud of the way some of my photos have turned out, with no post-processing at all (though i occassionally add a little blur and crop a bit, and once or twice have used a colour filter for effect), as it shows what can be captured, by anyone, straight from SL. I remember why I made my avatar look the way she does. I never wanted a typical Barbie look and one of my favourites compliments ever was on my avatars 'broad shoulders'! I remind myself, that comments and views get a little meaningless if the same people say the same thing on every picture you do, or if the comments are mostly made up of in jokes amongst the in-crowd.

I love your pictures, Loki. You put thought and talent into every one, and I love the fact that you do not put them into every group you can, with 1,001 tags on each. I haven't been commenting much lately because I was falling into the trap of making comments everywhere knowing they would bring more comments my way. But that will be changing and I shall continue commenting on the most worthwhile pictures - and yes, that includes yours :-) Please don't take any of them down, it would be a great loss. Like Vint, I often go back to my favourites and look at them again (and I often find new pictures and people through other peoples faves) and I am always sad when i find a pcture has gone for some reason or other. Get the pro account (it is soooo nice not to have to worry about the upload limit) but stay true to what you have been doing so far.

Apologies for rambling so long, but this is part of something I am in the middle of blogging about myself. In fact, I may just link here and save myself some time LOL

Ryker Beck said...

Aww, Loki.

I do agree with a good chunk of your remarks here in this post. It's true that many comments are just two word responses, which, to me, is nice. I guess I just perceive it as people just wanting you to know, in some small way, that they came, they saw, they liked, you know?

But I do wish more people would leave comments regarding how you can make your stuff BETTER... I'm really critical of my own work, and a good chunk of the stuff I post, I'm generally wondering how I could have made it better.

I'll also admit that it does make me bitter sometimes when I see mediocre shots instantly acquire 20 favorites. And anyone can argue that every shot is beautiful, that it shouldn't matter the time and effort you put into a shot -- but I disagree with that. While I don't expect an instant amount of favorites, and I certainly don't expect everyone to like the pictures I create, I DO value the time I spend working on a piece. And it kind of burns me a little bit when a popularity contest ("Ohh, I have so many friends, and they LOVE me, so they'll favorite ANYTHING I do...") outweighs talent. I see so many shots on Flickr that merit real ability and real dedication to the art, not just the game. I also see many shots that make me think, "What???" when I see that they instantly get 30 favorites. It's insulting in a way, but I guess that's the way it goes in any public social forum. I've never used MySpace or SLProfiles or anything like that before, but I understand how it works -- popularity is key.

Anyway, I'll stop venting -- but you should really get a pro account, Lok. And keep on keeping on. I love your stuff. :) And now that I know you want constructive criticism, I'll do my best to keep that in mind! :)

- R <3

Loki Popinjay said...

@Vint: as I said myself I'd hate to loose the sens of evolution so I don't plan to delete any pictures :-)

@Phoenix: Thank you, glad to be back and please do ramble on, I always love reading it :-)

@Ryker: I hear what you're saying!

One of the things that sometimes stings me is the fact a lot of people don't seem to notice the subtlty of the work done on a picture. It's easy to use some spectacular filter on a not so good shot and end up with something that looks "WOW". I try to "enhance" what I think are good shots to start off with, to accentuate what made the shot good in the first place, to iron out the imperfections you get in sl like square ellbows and hair sticking out of your chest or disappearing into shoulders. That kind of stuff often goes unnoticed.

I'll take you up on the constructive criticism part. We can learn from each other!

Garrett Larkham said...

I've just started on Flickr myself (200 max??..awww). I just like to click and post along some comments. But you are a a true artist

Rob said...

I always love your work Loki and I guess you can read my view by when I dont comment or dont write as much.
The ones that really speak to me... I let you know.
But I like your idea. Put a new one in, take an old one out.
Make you choose from the ones that you dont care as much about
as you can always display it somewhere else.
Or see if you can change it to make it better.
I always like the things we all do to become even better at our art.
You push me to do better, so I appreciate that.
Your Friend,

Solange said...

Hi Loki,

I think there are only very few people who can't fall victim to the number race. Even those who should have known better, who know that one well-deliberated comment that needed at least twenty minutes of deliberation is much much much more valuable than the quick "Great shot!!!"
The craving for high numbers overshadows this knowledge.

Why? Because of inflation, I guess. I would be ecstatic if I know 25 people in RL by name (I'm a hermit) and if I am on talking terms with every single one of them, but 100 in Flickr or SLP is nothing. The numbers you can see are also deceiving in the way they record only the most superficial thing: the number of hits. The amount of time you gaze at it, the amount of inspiration it seeds inside you, the amount of work it takes to create a reply picture don't appear anywhere.
I started playing SL because of an avatar I saw in Flickr, Melodious Source. The driving force of Solange's dressing up and making pictures was a striving to be on her niveau and this drive lasted for months. As I ran out of goal a couple of weeks back and felt that SL was somehow unsatisfying I looked again into her pictures and my fire for SL was reignited again. Sure, she is Miss Popularity, but I'd appreciate it much much more if someone would start playing SL because of my world as seen in my pictures rather than having 10 000 "Wow" comments.

I think recognizing this problem as such and a conscious decision to step back from the rat race are really a good start. You know the stories of the genius artists who couldn't sell a single painting in their own lifetime but they kept on working because they believed in themselves. The only one person whom you should convince about the greatness of your work is yourself, Herr Popinjay.

Wolf Hartnell said...

I've been thinking on this one for a little while. I think everyone else has said everything I could and more, but I am going to post my thoughts anyhow ;o)

Even if we start out on Flickr with no intention of buying into the popularity thing, it's always nice to get a favourable comment, and indeed constructive criticism. I am not sure we even realise what those comments mean to us until we post a picture that is important to us and it gets no comments, or far fewer than a similar picture by someone else or even ourselves! There's a load of reasons why this could be, and some are better than others!

No matter how we try, most of us are subject to the same animal instincts and "pecking order" is one of them, constantly seeking to improve ourselves and measure our popularity. As "intelligent" animals, though, we do have the option of deciding not to let our instincts affect our actions :o)

Please do keep posting, as I am another one of work's mostly silent appreciators.

Joonie Jatho said...

Hi Loki. I hesitate to post a comment because...well...I've never seen your Flickr pics before today.

I am certainly not an art critic. I do love photography and studied it in college. There were man;y discussions of whether or not photography was "real art" or not. I believe it is.

The one thing I noticed from your portraits was your ability to kind of capture a mood or a sense of the avatars. That is a special talent; not everyone can do that.

I will continue to check out your flickr feed. Do you take profile pics? ;-)

Awesome reading your blog again. Thanks Loki!


Ryker Beck said...

Ohhh Loooooki....
You've been tagged!

Joonie Jatho said...

You've been tagged: