If you are old enough to remember what life was like before digital photography you will remember: buying rolls of film for your camera; being limited to the number of shots on the film; not being able to delete any bad ones; taking the film to a shop to get developed; waiting a few days before collecting them; looking through the pack in anticipation; throwing out the blurred shots; putting the good ones into a photo album; maybe getting slides made; then boring family and friends with slide nights or photo albums. Then the albums yellowing and gathering dust on the shelf. Remember that?
Digital photography has revolutionised the way we capture images of our lives and then share and preserve these images and treasured memories. Now we can click like there is no tomorrow. We can delete any bad ones as they occur. We can take hundreds and thousands of photos.
How do you organise your photos? Chronologically? In arbitrarily named subject folders? Saved to CD or external hard drive? We all need a management software system to manage our files of photos. We all need to have the organisational skills of librarians to make sense of our systems. And it all takes time.
My trip to Europe last year produced 2000 digital images on two cameras. At home I had to sort, delete, label, save to CD, and this took me ages. I produced a digital photo story set to music then made into a DVD but I still haven’t had any images printed for a photo album or book.
Books of photo collections are all the rage now aren’t they? You can get these done at many shops, or online. You can choose the images, the layout, borders, etc and produce a professional looking coffee-table book. Cool! Printing photos for an album is still done but with the DIY systems everywhere you have to allow time to do this. But who does that anymore?
Photographic images have become transient. Who bothers to try to capture our memories anymore? Facebook and twitpics, make sharing images immediate and then forgotten. Google Earth/Maps, photo blogs like leavemehere, and Flickr provide meaningful structures that allow us all to benefit from the clicks we are all doing. It also provides us with feedback when others are enjoying our work.
I recently created a slideshow of my best photos that I had gathered over many years, and I put it onto Slideshare. It was not long before I was notified by Slideshare to tell me that this slideshow was featuring in the top 10 mentioned slideshares on twitter. After one month online it has had 338 views and 24 downloads with no promotion on my part. Another photo of mine of a place near Hobart in Tasmania was found on Flickr and added to Schmap with my permission. And it seems that this is not an uncommon occurrence. Read this by writingtravel.
There are still many people who do not understand the laws of copyright. There seems to be a misconception by some that if it is on Google it is free. Or if it is in the public domain it is free. This is wrong of course, and those who do want to illustrate their blogs with photos that they copy from the web can do so by using photos from a Free image archive like freeimages or freephotosbank or from the Creative Commons. Or try to contact the creator of the image and ask for their permission, like Schmap did with me. Or indeed create your own! Blog writers lose credibility if it is obvious that they are sourcing and using images without any attempt to cite the creator, and their blog loses its place in my full blog-reading schedule.
When you do place your images online you must not be naive enough to think that someone somewhere is not going to copy your lovingly created image and use it for their own ends. Hopefully they will be used for Good and not Bad. I have come across people in my work as a Librarian in public libraries who see nothing wrong with copying images from a Google Image search then printing them, making posters and selling them at local markets. Entrepreneurs yes – legal no. And it is disappointing for the creators of the original image to think that others are making money from their work and creativity.
What do you think?