Why is the TRP the holy grail of photo.net?

Discussion in 'Photo.net Site Help' started by emwalker, Sep 20, 2006.

  1. I am often amused and other times baffled by the importance that many members
    here seem to bestow upon the TRP. People often speak of 'visibility' and
    bemoan 'mate rating' and 'hate raters.' So I wonder, and please stay on topic
    and to the point, what importance does the TRP really hold? If there is a
    real benefit, other than a swelling feeling of self-importance, to 'making it'
    in the TRP, I am unaware of it and would like to hear about it. It seems the
    easiest way to bruise an ego around here is 3/3, and the TRP front page has a
    mystical allure, the holy grail of Photo.net.

    So, on topic, and please no back and forth bickering and one-upmanship, my
    question is, to the members of Photo.net, what does the TRP mean for you as a
    photographer- personally, professionally, and financially? What's the big
    deal?
     
  2. Not much. What does TRP stand for?
     
  3. I am going to assume that you mean "The Rated Photo" or something to that effect with TRP----My answer to the question that you pose is that the rating system opportunity provides a bit of "sport" to the whole photo thing--that is, as an amateur that does have the opportunity to sell my pictures, or show them in a gallery and in turn find out what works with an audience and what doesn't, these ratings give me a sense of place with regard to where I stand with my pictures and my development as a photographer. Having said that, of course, I also need to be able to trust the ratings as being reasonably consistent and an honest reflection of the quality of my work, albeit subjective, by others who share roughly the same values with regard to the art and craft of photography. So buying into that system as being worth something to me in it's own context I look forward to trying to anticipate what will work in the eyes of other photographers. Where I do get upset and feel the system fails is that the anonymous rater is free to slap on any number without any kind of accountability. The identified ratings from members seem to be more honest and more frequently come with an explanation of the number that helps me understand the thought process of the rater. I can take of leave it but at least learn something. The other part of doing the ratings, and I say this as a teacher and educator, I find by me rating a work I am forced to be more critical and think out why I am giving a rating, which in turn causes me to also learn from the process. I think it is a good thing if it is not abused--I feel the anonymous rating system is ruining the whole process and the potential for it to be helpful and meaningful however.
    Michael Lyons
     
  4. I don't pay much attention to it myself- perhaps I would if my photos were there.
     
  5. I've had one photo that got onto the first page of the TRP. It got the highest rating of any of my photos, as well as the highest number of views and comments I've ever had. I'm sure that its early appearance on the TRP gave it high visibility and more views. Whatever the shortcomings of the TRP , I reckon it's very satisfying to see your photo there and worth working for.
     
  6. Top Rate Photos
     
  7. correction Top Rated Photos
     
  8. yes, will, the 'd' is necessary.
     
  9. I assume it's good publicity if you want to sell images. You get pictures on the TRP, people click on your portfolio, maybe go to your website, and so you get fame and possibly customers.
     
  10. That is the heart of my inquiry, though. Do people actually gain customers from having photos rated highly? I have run into this assumption several times, but I have never heard any real evidence to support the notion.
     
  11. Very simply, if you post on PN and you want feedback, higher position in TRP has a greater chance of providing more feedback, unless, of course, your subject is nude, which almost always guarantees feedback no matter hoow good or bad. Most people will only surf through a certain number of images before their attention span leads them to something else. My own experience leads me to believe I get the most feedback if one of my images is in the top 100. I don't sell, therefore I don't care about the sales aspect. I do value constructive criticism because I am still learning what the majority of PN viewers like.
     
  12. Instant gratification to some. Positive reinforcement to others. Power and recognition to others. Ego gratification to some. A game for others. A joyful accomplishment for some with a wonderful feeling of "yeah I got it" and it reinforces that others like the work and they have "made it" with approval from fellow photographers.

    I think in many cases it can inspire and motivate people to do better.

    I also think it is and always has been a vehicle for abuse.

    For myself. I used to take it so seriously - not for me but when I saw what I deemed "unworthy" images get high marks. Also when I saw people knock down good work on purpose to get their work up front.

    Now - I have found creative ways to see people's work. The forums. When someone says something I value or find interesting... I check out the portfolio and what they have rated highly which is always interesting. Sometimes I leave a comment. Same happens the other way. I guess I've gotten to a point where it is more important that my clients like the work.

    Do I care if my work is ranked high? Nah. It's nice when people leave comments but the ratings don't mean anything to me anymore. Don't need them - don't care.
     
  13. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    if you have enough of your photographs appearing in the upper percentile. When I was actively posting on this site a year or so ago I had several of my photographs on the first page of the Gallery as well as being in the upper 10% of the Top Photogs page. Those positions brought increased recognition from several unexpected sources not directly associated with PhotoNet (to the best of my knowledge). I know of at least two other photographers who have had siginificant monetary rewards directly attributable from being recognized (justifiably so) by their preeminent position in the TRP. Why else do you think that there is such a scramble from some to get there? It's not all about ego, believe me. Regards.
     
  14. Anyone who has ever spent many years in a technical university knows that ones entire life is based on a numerical evaluation from 65 to 100 percent. It is a most bizarre operant conditioning that even Dr. Mengele would be proud of.

    The TRP is no different and I suspect its roots were academic in nature. In a wild twist of fate I once hit #1 on the 3-day for several hours until they turned the nudes back on. The TRP does not pay a dime and the educational photos that I sold probably would not break into the 4's. It is best to just think of it as an illusion in cyberspace.
     
  15. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    Take a look at the About Us link at the bottom of this page. Take a look at the site statisitics. 65 million page views per month is nothing to sneeze at. Whenever someone asks me to show them some of my work I just have them Google my last name and shazam, there I am, the first hit is my home page on PhotoNet. My point being that this is a Very Big site with a whole lot of visibility.
     
  16. Good question. It sure isn't for me! I would rather help people in the forums. That's how photo.net began - many years ago - as a help net. Over the past three years it has gotten a little rough, with people taking TRP very seriously (and resorting to serious forms of cheating). I noticed the other day that a 2006 Spider Award winner received mostly 3-4-5 on his images (and few of those). Holy Grail it ain't.
     
  17. It has been said that everybody likes a good horse race. I think that statement is true but would have to add that no one likes them when they are rigged.
     
  18. I've veered away from the type of photography that seems to do best in the TRP ranks, and to be honest feel far better about what I'm now doing. Or at least that's my take on it - perhaps I'm just crap at photography ;)

    I can understand the appeal of making it onto the 1st page of the TRP, but am happy to carry on doing my thing in my own way. I get a lot of good supportive critique from the circle of photographers whose work I also leave commentary on, and by good I don't mean fawning, but rather instructive and helpful - which is the way I much much prefer it to be, obsequience only serves to fool.

    If I ever sold photos I can imagine that high TRP placement would help to convince the general public of high photographic merit - whether founded or not.
     
  19. "Do people actually gain customers from having photos rated highly?"
    Yes.
     
  20. mg

    mg

    "If I ever sold photos I can imagine that high TRP placement would help to convince the general public of high photographic merit - whether founded or not." - Ben Anderson

    As far as I know, NONE of my clients (present and past) woould give a hoot about where any of my pictures would stand in any top (or bottom) rated pages of any site. When I read above that someone actually earned cash due to his position in the TRP, I can't help it but to wonder what kind of client this was. Both my clients, and the clients of others who wouldn't want to be my clients, have their own opinion about my work, and no recognition on any site is ever going to change it.

    So, professionally, financially, TRPs mean strictly nothing for me, and I'd be really glad to make a symbolic $ with a TRP feature some day, but I doubt I'll ever be that lucky.

    Personally, I USED to feel happy and gain confidence in SOME of my images, when I had a positive response. In some cases, it help me decide whether or not to put a picture in a show or in my professional portfolio, or not. No longer. The TRPs have come to mean strictly nothing to me about the actual value of a picture.

    But the key answer to your question is this: if your picture isn't making it to the TRP, it's pretty simple: you won't get more than 2 or 3 comments from genuine unknown folks, and in most cases, you'll get one or none.

    I recently uploaded 4 pictures of sunflowers, one of which I thought was very original and pretty good. All 4 got rated more or less the same way. All received about 10 ratings, including three 3/3, 3/4 or 4/4 ratings before the picture even appeared in the critique forum. In the end, each picture received an average of ONE SINGLE COMMENT. The highest rated picture was in the high 4s, the lowest in the high 3s. The only feedback I got about these pictures was expressed with ratings, and one or two of the comments I got were quite interesting. Better than nothing. But still, in a case like this, I don't think it's really worth posting pictures here.

    Would the feedback be any better if one of these pictures had "made it" to the TRP ? Well, if you want to know, just go and see how many comments the 4 pictures that are still in my PNet portfolio have generated in the past.

    When I posted these few shots from my (fairly large) collection of sunflowers, I did it for a reason. I'm preparing a show and trying to select which ones to put or not to put in this show. Of course I can decide that alone, but it would have been nice to find out which ones people like best. I just couldn't find out. What the ratings told me is basically, that I just shouldn't exhibit any of these pictures.
    :) That's perfectly ok and would even be a valuable information, except for the fact that I can't even trust this single information anymore nowadays. As a side-note, I've already sold a print of one of these pictures to a fairly well known and knowledgeable artist, and this gave me some confidence that my exhibition could perhaps be worth doing after all.

    Conclusion: the better (or better rated ?) pictures are the only ones that get real feedback here. Unfortunately, lots of people here would like to get a few comments that would help them take better pictures. Their weakest pictures are the ones that could use more comments, but the TRPs are there to burry all good and bad pictures alike: what matters here is who you know, and how many 7s you distribute. Some people, near by, are still waiting for comments, because their picture "didn't make it" to the TRP.
     
  21. Mark, there are many differing sales paradigms, yours obviously doesn't map to the scenario above. You said 'I can't help it but to wonder what kind of client this was.' - the simple answer is that many people would not care as long as the client is the paying kind.

    Many people sell to the general public, who for all intents and purposes have the same likes as the TRP rating masses here, that's a pretty good barometer for saleability I'd think.

    Of course, I'm looking at this hyopthetically, so take my comments with whatever doseage of salt you like.
     
  22. mg

    mg

    "the simple answer is that many people would not care as long as the client is the paying kind."

    Of course. Same here, by the way...:) And yet I've never received any offer via photo.net - in many years ! :) Well, sorry, I've received one offer once: to work as.... porn photographer for a we site...:)) (No joke!) As you can imagine, I declined: the best way to decline was to ask for advertising rates. :)

    "Many people sell to the general public, who for all intents and purposes have the same likes as the TRP rating masses here, that's a pretty good barometer for saleability I'd think."

    Interesting. Maybe. As I said, I'd be curious to know which pictures were sold, to whom, and for what kind of price. So, I could be very jealous for a good reason, at least. :))
     
  23. As I said, I'd be curious to know which pictures were sold, to whom, and for what kind of price. So, I could be very jealous for a good reason, at least. :))
    Ben's got a point, Marc.

    Years ago when I used to request critique and reached the TRP from time to time, I received a few unsolicited requests for non-exclusive image licensing for such uses as greeting cards. It was an ego boost for sure, and money falling out of the sky didn't cause me to complain either. These were opportunities as a direct consequence of TRP exposure that otherwise wouldn't have happened.

    Since I don't earn a living from photography and would rather surrender my ego for better pictures, the TRP means nothing to me, nor do ratings, so I no longer participate and probably never will again unless a favorable shift in site culture occurs that causes TRP to reflect excellence in an academic sense. Of course, that might also mean I'll never be on the TRP even if I participated. :)
     
  24. Photo.net, and other sites like it, are a closed loop. Outside of family and friends, this appears to be the sole source of feedback for many raters. Some will go so far as to say that the TRP images are the best on the internet.

    None of mine are in the top 3000, not even close. For years, my highest rated image was a closeup of two brown eggs that looked like a woman's rear end. It was replaced by a heavily altered abstract that got the halo effect from being a POW. It's followed closely by the Glade Creek Grist mill which is a completely unoriginal "tripod holes" shot.

    By comparison, the TRP raters are only mildly impressed by images that have actually sold as fine art prints or been given awards by jurors from the Smithsonian, Corcoran Gallery, various university art curators, etc.

    It's all a matter of who you're shooting for, besides yourself.
     
  25. 5 years ago, people might buy a print from you, today, they will buy a camera. No matter how good you are, they can do better, and kick you out of the TRP.
     
  26. Photo.net, and other sites like it, are a closed loop. Outside of family and friends, this appears to be the sole source of feedback for many raters.
    We definately have a shortage of psychiatrists in this country :)
     
  27. "We definately have a shortage of psychiatrists in this country :)"

    Move to London :)
     
  28. 5 years ago, people might buy a print from you, today, they will buy a camera. No matter how good you are, they can do better, and kick you out of the TRP.
    I suspect that is a reflection (and extension) of Clay Shirky's Mass Amateurization hypothesis, although written about web publishing, the concept is perfectly relevant to modern digital photography.

    By comparison, the TRP raters are only mildly impressed by images that have actually sold as fine art prints or been given awards by jurors from the Smithsonian, Corcoran Gallery, various university art curators, etc.
    Perhaps I should start making 30 photographs of Campbell's soup cans. :รพ
     
  29. Naw, it's been done. You're not sufficiently irreverent to pull off something like that.

    You might enjoy this:

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/Of-Cameras_and_Art.shtml
     
  30. im rather new here and havent really rated that many photos. to me the TRP as yall put it is like a selection of the best photos on here. I use many of them as inspiration and guidlines for my own work. but like others have said... if you can get your work into the top, 100 even, its quit an accomplishment in my eyes because it means people really like your work and are acrediting you with the honor.

    makes sense? probably not but oh well.
     

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