So, part 2 of a trilogy of posts it seems, and a response to the responses. Yesterday pulled up a couple of view-points about Flickr and "proper" photography, I'm going to pull the same whole damn quote from Aaron that Paul did (sorry Paul)...
“We did a lot of stuff wrong during my time at Flickr but if I had to highlight one thing we fucked up it was somehow creating an environment where people started to believe that their photos were not good enough for Flickr. I mean, really, how did we ever let that happen? I was speechless the first time a friend said that me and for the record: It was never part of the plan. How did we ever let people think that there is one measure of photography? How did we let people imagine that a medium which gave the world both Ansel Adams and Garry Winogrand (a photographer who died with a reported 10, 000 rolls of undeveloped film in his studio and who said that every time you take a picture you are hopefully risking failure) and everyone else in between was about any other than the joy and the discovery of the possible, foofy equipment and technique and measures of “good”-iness be damned?”
"Why I never got into flickr: it’s for ‘proper’ photographers only and my friends weren’t on there."
In an attempt at originality I'm going to pull an additional quote from Aaron from the same post, which was actually totally about something else and so is utterly out of context here (sorry Aaron)...
"We are hard-wired for photos or more precisely still images (I've got six thousand years worth of claims that "painting is dead" to back up that outrageous claim, by the way) and they come with enough emotional baggage and social triggers that they deserve to be treated with care and thought. At the very least they deserve to be guaranteed some degree of permanence."
I'm not, for the record switching to Instagram from Flickr, I have room for both, yesterday's post was about how my focus on seeing what my friends were upto had shifted from one to the other. To mangle someone else's phrase into my own:
Flickr is for the story I want to remember, Instagram is for the story I want to tell now.
To me Flickr isn't just a dumping ground for images, it's a narrative, something I want to look back at to remember and remind myself what was happening. And for that to work I attempt to keep roughly to correct chronological order. Because these memories are important to me, and I want them to be treated with care and thought, I got myself a decent camera that can handle shooting fast moving kids in dark badly lit rooms (I don't intentionally keep kids in dark badly lit rooms, but rather the reality of English weather and energy saving bulbs). I take quite a few photos with it. The trouble is that it can take a few days to find the time to sort through all those "proper" photos, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who feels like they have a backlog of photos they want to upload. It isn't that I can only upload "Proper" photos to Flickr, rather that Flickr is the only place for me to upload them, and while I have a backlog I want to avoid posting quickly snapped photos out of order, although sometimes I do anyway.
Instagram is the narrative of now, I don't feel particularly precious about them, I don't tend to go back and look through old photos. It doesn't matter that the shots I shoot with it are of lower resolution with a cameraphone lens, that they have filters, these are my transient photos (I understand this isn't the case for everyone and Instamatic photos can be an art). I don't need a central place where I can always find them, instead it's a pooled visual stream of consciousness of myself and the people I know.
The problem for me never was that Flickr was for "Proper" photos, but rather it never exchanged the immediacy of the moment with friends particularly well (see the Contacts Page passim). But for years it was the best damn thing and that's where the conversations of "now" revolved. Instagram is just that though; Insta, in a way Flickr isn't. But Flickr is "proper" in a way Instagram isn't.
It's not that I'm going to use one over the other, that's crazy talk, it's that one was more magical in the moment of Christmas morning in a way the other wasn't. I would hope that Christmas 2011 is more magical on Flickr in 10 years time though :)