Photography and Art

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


One of my favourite bloggers, Mike Johnston at The Online Photographer, has a very interesting post by Howard W. French on the subject of I'm proud to say that Mike picked my comment as one of the featured comments on the post. Here's what I said:

"Flickr is a marvel of the 21st century for several reasons—many covered in the post and ensuing comments. However, the one thing that has not been discussed is that flickr is itself a medium. An image that is popular or that works on flickr is not necessarily an image that will reproduce well as a print or in a book.

"Flickr is a world of miniatures. The photos are displayed in fairly low resolution on computer monitors in the 1024x768 pixel range (plus or minus). That means that the actual size of the photos is quite small—smaller than a 6x4 print for example.

"Photographers that excel at producing miniatures excel on flickr. Strong colour saturation, strong geometric patterns and eye-catching moments are the elements of success in this medium. Images that are designed for reproduction on large canvasses may not catch the eye of the flickr viewer. For example, it is hard to imagine an Ed Burtynsky landscape catching our attention as a miniature on flickr.

"Nevertheless, flickr provides a strong feedback loop to the image maker and encourages certain styles that may scale to large images and other media.

"My own fave photographer on flickr is a woman in Australia called Omnia who creates fabulous geometric arrangements of plant life, shells and sand. Her images would stand out in any collection.

"I don't think anyone would promote a steady diet of flickr as the only photographic medium of consequence, but the challenge of producing miniatures for mass consumption does strengthen many parts of your photographic "game." To use a sports analogy, it would be like a golfer practicing his/her short game."

If you'd like to see some of my favourite flickr photographers, follow the links to Omnia and Duchamp. Duchamp (aka Stef Powell) likes to play around with cross processing and toy cameras. Despite that, he produces lots of strong images, especially his series of found floral patterns from mattresses. Omnia, an Australian woman, is a nature photographer and excels at finding geometric patterns in nature.

My most popular flickr photo has been viewed nearly 1,000 times. I think it is a popular image because it belongs to several New York groups and people who are planning a vacation to New York want to look at the sites. It was taken from the vantage point of the Empire State Building at sunset and shows the Chrysler Building in all its art deco glory. The photo has been enhanced by masking off the building itself and increasing its contrast and brightness to make it stand out from the background.


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