Standing out in a crowd by Flickr user Angelrays
The people have spoken. As mentioned yesterday, Jörg's What Makes a Great Photo? post has been generating a lot of buzz. Once it was Kottke'd, it wasn't long before made its appearance on the community bookmarking site Digg.
bizzare.. and stupid.. these
photos are lame, and not at all impressive.
dive in and randomly explore flickr, you'll find dozens of photos that are better than
any of these!
The photo above is the first one that popped up for me on Flickr's Interestingness page. On the Flickr page it says:"There are lots of things that make a photo 'interesting' (or not) in the Flickr. Where the clickthroughs are coming from; who comments on it and when; who marks it as a favorite; its tags and many more things which are constantly changing." Basically, it's an algorithm built on various forms of Flickr popularity. If you browse by Interestingness on Flickr you'll see a lot of nature photography, macros and super-contrasty HDR stuff.
There is also this:
I wasn't impressed by any of those images and the only kind of interesting one was Sally Mann's. I love macro nature photography because it's a window into a tiny, colorful and often alien world that you probably wouldn't otherwise notice. To me, that's what makes a great photo. Some chick lying on the floor, looking like a rank amateur on PornoTube doesn't say "art" or "great photo" to me; the closest I get to a message from it is, "Oh, for God's sake, girl, swallow!" Maybe my art sensor is broken.
There are positive replies as well (which has to be the case since it received more than 400 Diggs), but what fascinates me is the us vs. them conversation that often erupts with regard to photography. I'm not personally interested in macros, or nature photography in general or HDR photos and sometimes that leads to people accusing me of artworld snobbery. (Which I find pretty amusing, I hafta say.)
Slightly tangential, but I think germane: I am fully immersed in the world of fine art contemporary color photography - I love it, I love the community that's grown up around it, I'm an advocate, a booster, a champion. I'm often surprised however, by this: Collectively it seems that we have such a short memory regards what consititutes fine art photo - until very recently most color photography was considered schlocky. The idea that the "only b&w photography can be fine art photography" is not part of some long distant past.
There's a much broader conversation around all of this, but I have some work to do... I'll be back with more thoughts soon.
Related: Alec Soth: On the Forums