#211. I’m just curious, you know?

By Paul Perton | Opinion

Apr 02
Is this a load of that?

Is this a load of that?

I’m curious about where Dear Susan’s readers strut their stuff and how they feel about the response postings generate. Flickr? photo.net? Where?

I’ve tried most of the leaders and a few of the followers and at best, my opinion is a resigned sigh. I want someone to spot the things I miss and tell me I could have framed better, or that I’ve made a hash of trying to repair blown out highlights. I want to justify my choices – even if it is in my own mind – when someone catches me out.

I want honest, useful stuff. But that hasn’t happened and it’s not for a lack of trying.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve worked hard at Flickr, initially commenting and doing the necessaries. More recently, I’ve posted daily and occasionally made a comment when something catches my eye.

Trouble is, not much does. Aside from the ludicrous HDRs, cats and pussies of the other persuasion, in amongst the several billion images on view, little rises above Flickr’s self-imposed amateur horizon.

I know there are several interest groups on Flickr that encourage criticism and competitive posting. If guerrilla verbiage and axing your co-poster’s photographs is your thing, that’s fine, but there’s way too much testosterone on display for most of us.

500px is better – the images that make “Popular” rank are in the main good, competent and interesting shots. If I have a criticism, it’s the over saturated rendering of the site and the (usual) anodyne commenting; “Nice shot V+F”.

I tried 1x.com and gave up. Having posted a couple of photographs, I was keen to see what kind of response came back to me. Instead, I was forced to wade through a minor mountain of commenting before I was sufficiently empowered to post in the correct manner and when I did, not much happened.

In fact, after I posted one comment on an HDR pastiche that was so awful, I felt compelled to ask “Why?”, I got a full-on squawk about etiquette from the site’s admin and called it a day. 1x.com can keep it’s arcane systems.

A couple of smaller sites – especially for my much loved Sony NEX-7 – promised more.

Nope. High hopes lead to another parade of feline and feminine images and the now usual blancmange commenting.

So, that’s my story. I’m not going to suggest that DS starts a gallery – we have enough on our plates as it is.

What are your experiences? Did you find comment nirvana, been forced to accept that vanilla is the norm, or just given up?

Time to ‘fess up.

Email: subscribed: 4
  • Jeff says:

    At one time, Photo.net was good but that was a while back. I haven’t tried any of the popular sites. I looked and concluded that my sort of stuff was never going to be popular, nor would I get any meaningful feedback. I can live without ‘Wow’ or ‘great shot’ comments. So my conclusion is that there is nowhere.

    In this connected world, it would appear that we all still live in isolated garrets bedeviled by our own demons of self doubt.

  • pascaljappy says:

    Hear hear. I think we’re basically seeing a change in the online landscape.

    We already had a similar discussion when Paul wrote about the demise of blogging and my view is that general public sites will provide less and less value beyond the cheap oohs and aahs and that individual blogs in a very crowded space are finding it hard to survive.

    I expect to see more focused online media emerge from all this, where specialists of a specific topic get together and share their expertise and experience more meaningfully. At least, that’s what we’re trying to do with travel photography on DearSusan 🙂


  • Tim Ball says:

    Wow, totally awesome!

    I agree…I’ve stuck with Flickr just because I’ve made a few friends there, one of whom, as a photo club member is able to be more constructively critical. More like that would be welcome.

  • rick peterson says:

    on the l-camera-forum.com (leica user forum) where i visit and post most frequently, readers wishing to comment may write or simply click on a ”thank you” box. IMHO, a useful addition to the forum.

    i’m probably mis- or over-using the ”thank you” function in order to express my positive appreciation of a photo or article or other user’s comment. i like to think that i’m saving time (mine and others) and space on the page which could be put to better use.

    i am also content to interpret 0-2 ”thank you’s” as an indication that my photo wasn’t of great interest to other readers, and to accept a full row (or 3) of ”thank you’s” as welcome positive feedback.

    sad but true – i haven’t yet found / don’t really expect much in the way of constructive criticism from the websites and blogs i’ve seen so far. when a few friends get together in hamburg for a gallery visit or to explore an interesting new photo venue, then it’s common for them to bring examples of their latest work to share and comment on. for me, that’s a good balance to participation online.

    while i’m writing real words instead of looking for a ”thank you” button 🙂 i’d like to thank you all for DEARSUSAN. it’s a useful and pleasant site to visit.

    greetings from hamburg

    • pascaljappy says:

      Rick, although I didn’t write this article, I’d like to thank you for the kind written words 😉 about Dearusan. It’s a labour of love and it always makes us very happy when readers find the result to their taste.

      All the best,

  • Boris says:

    In the past I used photo.net a lot. But that was from 1998-2004. Since 2004 Fredmiranda is my preferred online photography forum. I really like the quility of discussions and the international mix there especially in the alternative forum.


    • pascaljappy says:

      Hello Boris,

      our mutual friend Philippe introduced me to FM and the Alt forum. I find it very interesting as well and there are plenty of quality photographers discussing real topics. And they are lucky to have you 🙂 Your photographs are amazing.

      Hope to meet you one day,

  • Drew says:

    I suggest having a look at Pbase.com.

  • philberphoto says:

    I, too, like Fred Miranda. And some fora and threads are specifically dedicated to peer criticism

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