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Move Over Instagram, EyeEm App Allows You To Sell Your Photos

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EyeEm logo

EyeEm logo

When Instagram (owned by Facebook) tried to claim all rights to an individual’s content, including their photos, they lost a world of users, including me. I immediately closed my Instagram account with no regrets. The following is taken from Instagram’s privacy policy change on Dec 17, 2012:

“To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”

No thanks, I thought. Sooner or later, someone will develop a better app. Welcome EyeEm. EyeEm is an app developed by photographers, not business people trying to capitalize on a photographer’s images. EyeEm says:

“Your photos will always remain yours and nothing will ever be done with them without your consent. Being photographers ourselves, there’s nothing we value more than our community’s rights and privacy. If a platform makes benefits, it must be through an opt-in program and revenue-sharing with the creators. Period.”

I, for one am very interested. In fact, I am downloading the EyeEm app now.

Photojournalists Using Instagram

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Benjamin Lowy's iPhone image of the destruction of Superstorm Sandy. © Benjamin Lowy/reportage by Getty Images

Benjamin Lowy’s iPhone image of the destruction of Superstorm Sandy. © Benjamin Lowy/reportage by Getty Images

There’s a trend forming. Photojournalists are now using Instagram and their smart phones to report everything from deadly storms to war to professional sports.

This brings up many questions. Photojournalism has long been about integrity, honesty and clarity. Will the one-click editing filters and ability to manipulate the images make them less believable? Is our world so hungry for quick information that we are willing to sacrifice quality? Is the job of a photojournalist becoming extinct?

There’s an intriguing article in American Photo Magazine about this situation. It’s worth the read. Benjamin Lowy, one of the photojournalists I curated into my exhibit “Wide Angle View” at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in 2011, uses an iPhone. He is giving a talk at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles on April 18, 2012. I am going and am very interested in what he has to say about the drastic changes in visual reporting.

Our world is speeding faster than ever. We need to keep up, but at what cost? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Philippe Halsman Quote #1

Phillippe Halsman - Salvador Dali

Philippe Halsman image of Salvador Dali in his studio.

“The immortal photographers will be straightforward photographers, those who do not rely on tricks or special techniques.”

Philippe Halsman, American portrait photographer. May 2, 1906 – June 25, 1979

Look closely at the unretouched image of Salvador Dali in his studio. Notice the thin lines from the ceiling to the items suspended from them. Imagine the time it took to set this tableau up. Today, Photoshop junkies blend many photographs together to create such scenes.

When I read Halsman’s quote, I am reminded of how far the pendulum has moved away from straightforward photos. In the age of Instagram’s one click manipulations, fantasy photos are easy to create. It seems the appetite for un-reality is bigger than it is for pepperoni pizza.

Philippe Halsman photo from 1953.

Philippe Halsman photo in Florida from 1953.

Personally, I got bored with Instagram after two weeks and closed my account. The “click and aahh” as I call it, was unsatisfying. Are my photos more interesting than before the filter, vignette, and frame are added? Only if I take a bad photo and want to make it passable. A good photo only becomes muddled, and loses its meaning.

Maybe someday the pendulum will balance itself again. Until then, what I find “aahh” worthy is becoming more rare.

Having Fun With Instagram

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The Things We Do For Beauty – Instagram Photo

I got my first iPhone 4s a few days ago. I don’t know which I love more, my iPhone or my camera. I find myself reaching for the dang contraption before my eyes even focus in the morning.

One of the things I am having fun exploring is the free Instagram app. If you are not familiar with Instagram, it’s like Twitter for people who think in pictures. You can take a photo and easily click your way to cool effects. Feeling retro? Try the 1977 effect. Want to go B&W? Click on Inkwell. All washed up? Use Toaster.

The selective focusing option is my favorite. You can choose to have a strip or circle shape, and manipulate how much of the image will be sharp, and what will be blurred. Just use your fingers to on the phone screen to pull the size of the circle or strip larger or smaller. In the self-portrait above, I decided to make fun of myself as I was getting my hair colored and sitting under a dryer. I used the Early bird effect and a circular selective focus on my face. Notice how my hair becomes more blurred as it moves away from my face.

Strand Beach – Instagram Photo, Inkwell effect and strip selective focus

The last step in your creation is to write a caption and upload it to the Instagram sharing site. It will automatically post to your other social media sites if you set up your accounts to allow it. You can like and comment on your friend’s photos and build a following, just like Twitter.

Be prepared to get hooked on Instagram because it is so quick and easy to do. If you are standing in line at the coffee shop, make an Instagram. Filling up your gas tank, take an Instagram. It’s an Insta-boredom cure.

The House Above The Harbor – Instagram Photo, Kelvin effect

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