Wednesday, December 06, 2006

use of Flickr for artists...

This is just a quick post (or at least it starts out as quick) in response to the previous comment: 'I was under the impression that all the students used Flickr to exhibit their work online?...' from Leigh.

To be honest, I am not sure that they do - and this is for a couple of reasons...first of all, I find Flickr horrendously difficult to get into and navigate! I even have an account - but can i get my password e-mailed to me to get back in? - not a chance! - so personally i have given up on it (my own use was to keep in touch with family overseas, rather than exhibit work). This added with the fact that it would seem to me that unless i can get in, i can't find people, only random photos under their tags....(houses, clouds etc.) So if I wanted to find a student, and didn't know their personal tags (and let's face it, everybody has their own unique way of organising and naming their own files...that don't necessarily translate...), i can't anyway.

Secondly, (and I have also had this discussion with students) what does it mean then to our 'art' as photographers if we use this medium to get it out there? One of the biggest things a photographer/artist faces is the fact that anyone from a 3 year old can pick up a camera and snap that great shot at the right moment...what makes the artist different? One of the things that makes the artists different is the way they exhibit their work, and in what context they align it, and there is nothing on Flickr to allow an artist to distinguish themselves from general public photography (don't get me wrong - i think there are loads of people out there making great shots). The more that photography is used in this way, the harder it is for artists to get people to understand the difference to the shot that they put on the wall (in a physical exhibition space, for example), where although it might look the same on the surface, look further and it holds the key to extensive critical thinking, and a larger, well developed and investigated body of theory/work.

And so, while I think that the internet is a great communication and potential marketing tool, its use has to be appropriate to the context. I am not going to disagree with the power that it has had in launching/rising some current personalities to fame (K.T. Tunstall, Lily Allen etc.), and I do know a few students who have myspace sites...

(the photograph is for my mum)


Blogger Leigh Blackall said...

What I shame you can't get back in to Flickr. Is it because you are asking it to send your password to a tekotago email? Tekotago might be blocking it as spam.. (?).

subvert context/pop art
I completely agree with you, regarding context. But some Flickr uses are attempting to subvert or make comment on the actual Flickr context, inside Flickr - the same as many artists do who prefer to exhibit on public walls, parks and otherwise non gallery contexts.

Free storage
What if you looked at Flickr, not as a place to display images, but to simply store them? Not so long ago it cost not an insignificant amount to have storage for online media. Once there, a simple right click and copy URL then lets you display that image in any (HTML) context?

Legal remixing from their CC image bank
What about sampling and remixing. It is common in sound art and pop music.. is it common in your field? Copyright is a barrier to such appropriation, but perhaps offers a way for people to freely and confidently remix images where the copyright says they can do so. I know that's what I use Flickr for.

Discussion and critical appraisal
If you where simply focusing on the image - an image that stood alone and wasn't necessarily affected by the display context, then I imagine the discussion tools offered in Flickr would be of use.

But I take your point regarding initial difficulty of use being a significant put off. I guess its a personal choice as to whether that hurdle is worth getting beyond so as to explore the potential uses.

Thanks for responding Rachel :)

5:52 PM  

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