Expanding web presence for documentary photography with flickr?

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by c_wyatt, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. Here's the deal: I have a website which gets decent traffic, and a facebook page which has a couple of hundred interested people. Nothing too major. I'm a street photographer mostly, I do some shows, sell some prints, certainly looking to get into pro doco work in the next few years. I like photos to be seen as well, not just sit on a hard-drive, whether they result in money or not.
    Anyway, I was recently advised by another photographer to expand my web presence by setting up a flickr account. I've never used flickr, and decided to set up my own website (through zenfolio) to have maximum control over the presentation, as well as keeping it minimalist and just about images. No offence to flickr users, but often it often seems to be a pat-on-the-back session for average photography (NOTE: at the same time, I have seen a couple of outstanding photographers' work on there, including those with their own separate websites), with some great amateur work. Is there a decent doco/street presence, or is it all people's pets?
    This photographer advised me to join groups, add photos etc, and it might have a large impact on the overall visibility of my work.
    So I guess my query is this: what do you think - is there a case for also using flickr, or is it a waste of time seeing as how I'm using fb and my own website?
    Is it a good outlet for doco work? Are there any specific places doco work is big on flickr?
    Thanks for thoughts.
  2. Flickr is ok, there are many street groups but also it can be very clique. Look at Hard Core Street Photography, La Pura Vida, Just street, there's a bunch of them. There's literally hundreds of groups. I don't think however, it's the best outlet in and of itlelf for someone who wants a professional web presence. It can be an aid, and can certainly expose you to a lot of different photographers and work, but at the end of the day, it's just another huge photo site. It is possible to tap into and be part of a growing community of photographers, make a name for yourself with them, but it won't replace your own webpage or blog.
    You would have much more control over the layout and sequencing of your work on your own site. You can always link to flickr as well.
  3. I'm soured on flickr. I let my so-called "pro" account expire last July and whacked back to 6 photos. Still
    need to edit that down.

    Photos on flickr have pretty much become fungible, IMO...
  4. . . .whacked back to 6 photos. Still need to edit that down.​
    You just made my day...:) In fact, I keep wanting to do that and I can't make myself pull the trigger. Is there a support group around for that?
  5. Know what you mean Barry. Took awhile. Worried about the comments/faves being lost. But you do what you gotta
    do. Just didn't want a bunch of ho-hum stuff out there. Life goes on.
  6. exactly.. may just create another account, take everything off current account that's not related to my Summer music camp and start over again.
  7. Its amost impossible to get visibility on Flickr. There are literally million of images. This is the challenge for a budding professional. How to get noticed? I don't think Flickr is the way. But don't ask me the right way to rise above all the mediocrity...I don't know the answer.
    I come from an age when you had to make an appointment to have your portrait taken and it cost you a lot of money. That's gone now, more's the pity.
  8. More...
    Demotix.com is a website that you might consider. On the home page there is an excellent interview with Roger Tooth, the Head of Photography at The Guardian newspaper called "How to get your work sold".
    And just to make us all depressed, he was asked how many images from contracted photographers would his four staff see each day. Wait for it...15-22,000. Yes...every day, and only from their own photographers. That's 8 million a year. What hope is there for a budding amateur to turn pro today?
    This is what digital has done to a noble profession that used to border on art. A Pulitzer might emerge from a sea of crap.
  9. Flickr is so big... it offers just about everything in the photographic realm, and yes, there is a strong documentary and street
    presence there if you look for it. Most of what is contained on flickr is average or unremarkable, but there
    are some excellent photographers there. I've found a few people on flickr whose way of seeing has some
    things in common with mine, and it's nice to watch each other's work. I post stuff up and it's interesting to
    see if my regard for the photo matches the response. I use the site to a great extent as an editing tool.

    If you spend time on flickr, you also realize that the enthusiasm for still photography is as
    great as it ever was. I see no reason not to use it. Even the president of the United States and the
    Library of Congress are present. Just about everybody who is anybody.
  10. This is what digital has done to a noble profession that used to border on art. A Pulitzer might emerge from a sea of crap.​
    Well in my humble opinion, and for its worth, the noble profession still exists, and the art is still there.
    Truth is there has always been a sea of crap with Pulitzer's standing above the rest. Digital has only increased the volume and visibility of the crap, and for me not in any way whatsoever diminshed the worth of the good work thats out there in abundance.
    Glass half full or half empty? For me - half full - there's so much good work about its both an inspiration and some of it a revelation.
    Flickr? Nope too much stuff, poorly edited, making the diamonds hard to find.
    I'm finding it far more inspiring to follow personal blogs and see the work from certain individuals deveoping and evolving. There's more work involved in doing a blog that 'works' for sure, but when it does I think it's a superb way to not only sell your work, but sell the personality behind that work. The compelling blogs are the ones where the images are not only arresting but the personality and motivation of the photographer comes through too.
  11. John, any few names stand out in the photoblog sphere? Your position is pursuasive to me. As someone who has shot for many years, but never shared publically, flckr has been an engaging way to re-ignite my passion for the image and to connect with a handful of photographers whose work I find very inspiring and get some feedback. Very similar to Ray. With that said, I can't comment on flickr usefulness on entering the professional folds. I suspect it's as has been stated here, quite limited. But for engaging with photo lovers- from beginning enthusiasts to some real masters of the craft, I find flickr to be a beautiful thing.
  12. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    This is what digital has done to a noble profession that used to border on art. A Pulitzer might emerge from a sea of crap.​
    Anyone who worked in a lab ten years ago, or even spent an hour in one looking at the photos coming off the machines, knows that this is hogwash. Digital changed access, not the quality of the photography, except for positive things like most people knowing their vacation snaps turned out instead of waiting to get prints back and finding out that they had the wrong settings on their camera.
  13. Aran - quite a few but the two that I find myself compulsively viewing (for obvious reasons)) are:
  14. Confused in that I see no mention of what people think about posting street work on PN or on the Image Pro section of PN.
  15. Thanks Jeff for respecting my opinion. I have more than a couple of decades of newspaper photography under my belt and what you see coming off an ordinary photo lab of ten years ago is not what gets sent in to photo editors of respected newspapers like The Guardian.
    I am echoing the views of the Photography Head from The Guardian. Its in his interview, and "crap" are his words. Reviewing 20,000 images a day is unsustainable for just four assistants and he has no budget for more. This is the dilema he faces caused by the ease of digital...It allows an avalanche of images to be taken and uploaded, but in doing so makes it hard to find the keepers to publish.
    He goes on to say that they are now attacking the problem from another angle. And thats to request images of at least 18mb. he expects that this will reduce the volume dramatically, as these images are often too large to be transferred using Idruna devices or conventional email. They are only granting software keys to selected photographers so that can FTP their best each day.
    He is shifting the first pass editing out of the crap back to the photographer. That's a good thing as it will force his photographers to be very self critical and more discerning in what they do submit.
  16. Thanks John. I'll take a look. One site I like, for what it's worth to you, is www.200iso.com Simple, beautiful street shots, usually Paris.
    Take care!
  17. bms


    A bit off topic:
    I am by no way an expert, I am not really on facebook as a photographer and my flickr account is pretty dead - your are way ahead of me as far as web presence goes (part of that is probably that I do not devote much time to optimizing my web site, nor is that a concern of mine).
    I agree with the above posters who say that Flickr is pretty diluted. And I may be telling you things you already know. How about some website/search engine optimization? If I type in "street photgraphy new zealand" or "documentary photography new zealand" into google, your site should come up on the first search page.... the people that come up are not that far ahead of you in terms of web site ranking, so I think you can get there with some effort.
    Another thing is website design. I really love some shots on your website, but it does not necessarily scream "documentary photographer." If you want to be one of THE Wellington, NZ docu photographers, your website should show it. With fairly little effort you can put together a pro looking website - or pay someone to do it.
    Just some ideas, hopefully not stepping on your toes. There are probably tons of folks here who know much more about it, and they'll put me in my place :)
  18. Flickr is a step in the wrong direction if you want to pursue documentary work full time.
  19. Flickr is a poor channel for showing your best work. Unless you impose a ton of discipline (which I rarely see), rather than
    just reflexively dumping in photos because they're OK. Seems that's what most people do. It's rare to see good disciplined

    The law of large numbers will almost guarantee the aggregate of your (say)1,000 image or greater photo-stream will be
    perceived as average, or worse. If you don't care how it's perceived then that's not an issue.

    Flickr is good for for social interaction...
  20. If you take Phil Marion's example -- see his recent Here’s an inspirational story for all travel photographers thread on Casual Photo Conversations forum -- apparently being active on flickr can help. How likely it is is a whole different story; guess one would have to be incredibly lucky (and perhaps rigorously tag all the images to increase the odds.) If you click on Phil's link, you'll see he had his lucky photo on circa 50 groups; don't know how people do that!

    I'm new to flickr myself, and what I find most annoying there is this useless "award-mania", dispensed like candies...
    [​IMG] "Hearts awards (Post 1 Award 5)"
    ...and "group signatures", routinely posted as a sole "feedback", so you may easily have a dozen identical posts under a given picture, which my look like that (and that's one of the least obtrusive):
    [​IMG] I found this photo in 1-2-3 HDR

    What's the point?
  21. John MacPherson , Nov 10, 2010; 02:18 p.m.
    Aran - quite a few but the two that I find myself compulsively viewing (for obvious reasons)) are:
    Thank you John for recommending my blog. I've resurrected my account here after getting hits from this discussion. Turns out I joined photo.net back in 2007 and never deleted the account. Looks like some great discussions have been taking place here since. I'll have to catch up.

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