Good Bye Flickr

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I decided to part my ways with Flickr.

To be really honest, I guess I lost interest after the major revamp of the site, and Marisa Meyer’s particular statement. I used to pay for being Flickr Pro member but after the new site came along it lost it’s charm. Pro users still got ability upload files larger than 200mb and upload more than 1TB worth of images, neither of which I need. There are some stats and other such minor things that the new standard accounts didn’t include, but anyway.

To advertise the site with the tag line 1TB was just a silly move for Flickr; from point of view of professionals (oh but I forgot, there’s no such thing as professional photographer anymore) it just doesn’t make sense because no human can produce that many good quality images, even if they are like crazy large. Not even those who are like really really talented. So this sounds a lot like Flickr is becoming a site where you are supposed to upload mobile phone shots of your cat’s meals and latest trends in fingernail decoration. No problem with that but it’s just not where I want to be.

Then there was the Flickr app for iPhone which has still not made it to the Japanese App Store. Therefore, there is no legit way for me to even experience it.

Moreover, Flickr community guidelines forbid linking to commercial sites (such as your own). The guidelines are weird at best. Obviously they are just protecting their own interest regarding their upcoming Marketplace. Nudity in particularly is very poorly explained, kind of grey area really, what really is restricted and what is moderate and what not. There is no clear explanation.

Then there was the Getty Images Flickr program (which is finished by the way) which made me wonder, is this still about passionate, genuine photography? Or is this becoming another stock photography site? Finally Flickr’s Wall Art whatever thing answered that question. Although they didn’t technically break the Creative Commons licence, gimme a break! That kind of thing is just something service provider does NOT do. Only a micro stock site does that. So that’s pretty much it.

There is one more thing I’d like to mention although this isn’t actually Flickr’s fault. This year (oh man what lousy year this was) one of my images was stolen from Flickr by this shady Japanese company. It was a simple photo of a woman in cafe, a friend of mine. Her photo was used to sell some beauty product. She’s in her 30’s but in the fake profile she was told to be 40s. It was a total hell to get the Japanese advertising company to understand that they had broken copyright law and finally remove the image.

Finally I got a call from one of the guys. The conversation went somehow like this:

“Excuse me sir, am I calling you at the bad time?”

“No, not at all.”

“Yes, uhm. I’m calling you about the image you took that we used in our website”.

“Right”

“You see, we downloaded it from this website called Flickr. We have right to use the image legally”.

“Ex..cuseme?”

“Yes, have you ever heard of Flickr?”

I pointed the guy to the URL of my image and explained him the meaning of the copyright symbol. He was like “oh.. I see..” And that in fact my photo was not in Creative Commons. Next day with a cappuccino cup. I never got apology. But I don’t care. It appears that several Japanese companies are illegally obtaining images from Flickr in particular never minding whether it’s copyrighted or Creative Commons. Then, taking photos of Japanese people is my job.

Flickr? Nah, I don’t think so.

Phantom

Peter Lik’s “Phantom” hit the headlines as it was recently sold for $6.5 million. This apparently is a world record of some sort. The news immediately attracted some less than admiring commentary.

Jonathan Jones from Guardian:

This record-setting picture typifies everything that goes wrong when photographers think they are artists. It is derivative, sentimental in its studied romanticism, and consequently in very poor taste. It looks like a posh poster you might find framed in a pretentious hotel room.

I agree, but I don’t feel any kind of sentimental feeling from this photo. And then, since I know nothing of the buyer, this image might actually end up in pretentious hotel room. I wouldn’t be really surprised since pictures in hotel rooms are always something quite like this.

Jones also says:

Photography is not an art. It is a technology. We have no excuse to ignore this obvious fact in the age of digital cameras, when the most beguiling high-definition images and effects are available to millions.

I also think photography is not an art. It’s something else, sure. But I would disagree with Jones here; photography does not equal technology. That’s exactly what Phantom shows us; it takes more than technology or photographic technique to create a successful image. Truly great photograph is more than sum of it’s parts. There is something intangible in it, always.

Even if Phantom would have a subject matter that’s actually not a cliche but something original, it would still be boring shot if it was taken the same way. You need a feeling.