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Social networks can be wonderful ways of sharing events in our lives, with or without images. Most posts are seen, commented on, and shared more if they include an image.

Some posts are just images. And there are social networks just for images. This all creates an insatiable demand for images, specifically photographs. Now, over one trillion photographs are made every year. (For the past several years, each year more photographs are created in the current year than in all previous years combined.)

Usually when photographs are shared there is no indication of what kind of photograph it is. They’re all shared equally, almost as if they’re all equal and all made for the same reasons, which they’re not. Never mind that some photographs are of higher quality than others. Making this kind of value judgment is another matter entirely – and not the point here. The point here is that we make many different kinds of photographs for many different reasons. (We quickly disregard the imperfections in family snapshots, sometimes they feel more real and immediate because of them, favoring instead their accuracy and spontaneity. We evaluate and use formal portraits in entirely different ways.) How successful photographs are is determined by how well they do what we want them to do. There is no one set of criteria that can be applied equally to all photographs; instead we apply different criteria to different kinds of photographs.

They shouldn’t all be read the same. If we looked at all photographs as being the same, and if we looked at all photographs in the same ways, we’d make many inaccurate conclusions and miss many important points.

So it’s important to ask, “How do we want the photographs we share to be received?”

Can we make it easier by taking some of the guesswork out of it all and tell our viewers more about what we’re trying to say by telling them more about how we’re trying to say it? There aren’t standard conventions for this – yet. (And we need them.)

In an attempt to embrace the challenge of communicating what kinds of photographs I share, I’ve started using specific language to describe and ways of presenting different types of photographs differently.

Here’s my current solution.

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Documents are shared bare with no border.

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Studies made during the development of more resolved work are shared with a textured paper border.

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Fine art is shared with a matt and frame.    

It takes a little extra time to add these touches but I think it’s worth the effort. In the end, I feel I’m communicating more effectively. I also find making the distinction between these types of images personally useful. I become clearer about what I’m trying to do, often while I’m making photographs. I’m better able to assess how well I’ve done what I’m trying to do and don’t waste time and energy applying an inappropriate set of criteria; sometimes this affects both productivity and how I make photographs. And finally, because I ask these questions I find new ideas – and that may be the most rewarding part of this process.

How do you share images in social networks?

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My TED and Google talks have a lot in common. Both discuss creativity as a dynamic process that we all engage in with our own unique orientations to. While there are classic operations we all perform, how we combine them and the uses we put them to. Experimentation and becoming more versatile is the key to turbo-charging your creative life. You’ll find dozens of tips and lots of inspiration in both of these talks.

Preview my eBook Process here.

Read more in my free creativity PDFs.

Learn more in my creativity workshops.

I spoke about the creative process at Google headquarters a few weeks ago.

I began with the stories behind a few of the photographs I’ve made that have changed the way I think and see.

Then I talked about game changing advances in technology that have expanded the ways I see and changed the way I make photographs.

And I spoke about how using other media (like drawing and writing) can enhance perception and the photographs we make.

Distilled into one line … How an artist gets there influences where they arrive.

Preview my eBook Process here.

View my TED Talk You’re More Creative Than You Think You Are here.

Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin offer a peek inside the Google machine, sharing tidbits about international search patterns, the philanthropic Google Foundation, and the company’s dedication to innovation and employee happiness.

It’s not a demo, more of a philosophical argument: Why did Sergey Brin and his team at Google want to build an eye-mounted camera/computer, codenamed Glass? Onstage at TED2013, Brin calls for a new way of seeing our relationship with our mobile computers — not hunched over a screen but meeting the world heads-up.

See the live demo of Glass at the Google I/O here.

Sebastian Thrun helped build Google’s amazing driverless car, powered by a very personal quest to save lives and reduce traffic accidents. Jawdropping video shows the DARPA Challenge-winning car motoring through busy city traffic with no one behind the wheel, and dramatic test drive footage from TED2011 demonstrates how fast the thing can really go.

View more of my favorite TED talks here.

See and learn more about these awesome timelapse videos here.

“Spacecraft and telescopes are not built by people interested in what’s going on at home. Rockets fly in one direction: up. Telescopes point in one direction: out. Of all the cosmic bodies studied in the long history of astronomy and space travel, the one that got the least attention was the one that ought to matter most to us—Earth.

That changed when NASA created the Landsat program, a series of satellites that would perpetually orbit our planet, looking not out but down. Surveillance spacecraft had done that before, of course, but they paid attention only to military or tactical sites. Landsat was a notable exception, built not for spycraft but for public monitoring of how the human species was altering the surface of the planet. Two generations, eight satellites and millions of pictures later, the space agency, along with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), has accumulated a stunning catalog of images that, when riffled through and stitched together, create a high-definition slide show of our rapidly changing Earth. TIME is proud to host the public unveiling of these images from orbit, which for the first time date all the way back to 1984.

It took the folks at Google to upgrade these choppy visual sequences from crude flip-book quality to true video footage. With the help of massive amounts of computer muscle, they have scrubbed away cloud cover, filled in missing pixels, digitally stitched puzzle-piece pictures together, until the growing, thriving, sometimes dying planet is revealed in all its dynamic churn. The images are striking not just because of their vast sweep of geography and time but also because of their staggering detail. Consider: a standard TV image uses about one-third of a million pixels per frame, while a high-definition image uses 2 million. The Landsat images, by contrast, weigh in at 1.8 trillion pixels per frame, the equivalent of 900,000 high-def TVs assembled into a single mosaic.

These Timelapse pictures tell the pretty and not-so-pretty story of a finite planet and how its residents are treating it — razing even as we build, destroying even as we preserve. It takes a certain amount of courage to look at the videos, but once you start, it’s impossible to look away.”

Photoshelter offers a number of free useful guides for photographers.

Their The Photographer’s Social Media Handbook offers a useful quick strategic survey as well as lots of useful tidbits that almost any photographer can benefit from.

Download it here.

Circle me on Google+ hère.

Follow me on Twitter here.

Like me on Facebook here.

Follow me on Pinterest here.

 


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