Thursday, 11 February 2010

Thing 7 and 8: Flickr and Picnik

I already have a Flickr account, though it is not something I work with and update regularly. Last year, after following a link to an artist's Flickr albums, I tried it out and uploaded photos of some of my life-drawings. But, right now, Facebook is my platform of choice, since that is what most of the people I have and want contact with use (I haven't yet acquired an urge to 'connect' with total strangers far and wide). As well as updating my status with droll banalities (and proffering 'incisive' mini movie and book reviews and web-links), I have various albums on my profile page, of drawings and trips here and there. My albums (or 'sets') on Flickr just sit there taking up cyberspace.

However, in the interests of the project, and of exploring more of what Flickr has to offer, I uploaded some more pictures - photos of last Christmas and a recent trip to the Royal Academy. I joined the '23 Things' Flickr group and, once accepted, shared a selection of pics (screenshot below). I then pulled photos from Flickr and Facebook into PicNik. There, I played around with cropping and found the 'contrast' and 'sharpness' features helpful in making the drawings I took pictures of stand out more from their background. I put one of the modified pictures below: the figure study (and I think I added it to the Flickr 23Things group too).

As usual, during term in my reading room, there's too much that needs doing or chasing up to spend a lot of time exploring these sites (or I'm too frazzled to want to). But I spent long enough on Flickr to learn that the site offers more than I had hitherto realised, by way of organising pictures: tagging them, putting them into sets and 'batch-editing'. I confess I didn't find the layout of the site enormously intuitive, or at any rate feel entirely at home with it (and, for some reason, when I tagged pictures with a word, a space, then a number - say, 'Thing 8' - it separated 'Thing' and '8' into two distinct tags; do tags have to be all one word, or do numbers within a tag have a specific role?). This would probably improve given more time, but I'm not sure I see the motivation for me to spend it right now: though I have a Yahoo email account, I have, as I mentioned, committed to Facebook as my means of sharing content (though ironically the email address attached to Facebook is my Yahoo one - so that my main inbox isn't clogged with notifications I get by other means) . With so many sites offering a suite of social networking and content sharing facilities, it makes sense to commit to the one that offers the right and most well-rounded combination of services, which suits your needs and which most of the people you care about use (assuming these sites aren't themselves intended as a source of new contacts - they are for some people but not me), so that it's a proper enhancement of your social life and not some futile narcissistic exercise in maximising your presence online. Flicker perhaps offers a wider array of organising possibilities, but the more basic, simpler facility within Facebook suffices - the amount of the organising parameters on Flickr struck me as overkill and surplus to requirements - and the photos there are more likely to be seen by the few people who might possibly care to see them.

Spending time on Flickr tagging and batch-editing and whatnot would be like going on your own to a really trendy nightclub and busting lots of spectacular moves on the dancefloor, while all your mates are together in the local pub wondering where you are...

The Picnik site seemed like a very useful tool, especially if, like me, your only camera is the one on your mobile phone, as it offers the enhancement of poorly lit or fuzzy shots and the cropping of poorly framed ones.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Alan, I've just been looking at some of your drawings - they're really amazing! It would be great to see more of them on your blog as well as in Flickr. I know this comment is a bit late but I am running behind schedule with 23 Things.