Tag Archive: flickr


Corrine Vionnet’s “Photo Opportunities”

Corrinne Vionnet - Photo Opportunities

Corrinne Vionnet - Photo Opportunities

The 5 billionth photo was uploaded to Flickr last September and users upload half that many to facebook every month. Projects that mine these photos always intrigue me (here are two that we’ve written about previously: photographic behavior in major cities and cultural buzz). Corrine Vionnet’s Photo Opportunities is one such. She’s taken hundreds of tourist snapshots found online of well-known locations and landmarks and created new photos by combining these snapshots. The new photos work as sort of impressionist ideals of the places in question. Reminds me of Jason Salavon‘s work (Every Playboy Centerfold,
The Decades
, 76 Blowjobs, and Homes For Sale, for instance).

(via kottke)

Getty moves further into Flickr

Getty’s got a new scheme to turn flickr into a revenue stream. Now, flickr users can set their pictures up to have a “Request to License” link underneath all of their photos. When someone clicks that link, they will be directed by Getty through the licensing process. The licensing fees, all royalty free, seem to range from $5 to $425. Getty will keep about 70% of the licensing fee. The BBC has good coverage of the deal. And Amateur Photographer outlines why both amateur and professional photographers should be worried about the Getty-Flickr scheme.

‘Amateurs are not necessarily au fait with the value of their images and could be persuaded to license them to Getty for low rates, thereby undermining the rate that professionals work so hard to achieve.’ -John Toner quoted by Amateur Photographer

The previous Call For Artists partnership between Getty and Flickr, launched two years ago, drew a fair share of criticism. See on flickr member’s experience, entitled “I feel like I got screwed by Getty,” as an example. In the first two months, the photographer made about $200, but the royalties soon dwindled to just a few dollars for each sale.

(via Slashdot, of all places)

Locals and Tourists: flickr’s insight into photographic behavior

The collection of photos at flickr provides invaluable statistical data about a host of cultural behaviors and norms. Previously, we wrote about using flickr’s geotagging as a measure of cultural buzz. Now, a new project called Locals and Tourists by Eric Fischer analyzes the differences between where (and, presumably, what) locals and tourists take photos in cities around the world. There’s New York and London, Amsterdam and Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo, and many more. Blue points on the map are pictures taken by locals (people who have taken pictures in this city dated over a range of a month or more). Red points are pictures taken by tourists (people who seem to be a local of a different city and who took pictures in this city for less than a month).

(via kottke)

Obama’s Flickr

WTJ had this first as far as I can tell and then APE took it up. Check out official Election Night pictures on Flickr, posted by Obama for America photographer David Katz. (And sorry to mislead with the post’s title, I only wish this could have been a link to Obama’s portfolio)

(c) David Katz / Obama for America

(c) David Katz / Obama for America


There are a number of things that make these shots interesting for me. First of course is the ‘access’.. These are truly behind-the-scenes pictures that I doubt are attainable by someone outside the inner circle (shame, can you imagine what a real photojournalist could have pulled out of this?). But I am still left wondering, how unguarded are Obama and his entourage really? I look at this picture in particular and think, ‘do people really embrace like this in private?’. I don’t see how this formulaic pose can be both earnest in private and in public. There many less-guarded pictures in there, which are remarkable to see, but it still feels that Obama and the people around him are ‘on’ and aware of their image .. it makes me wonder when, if ever, they can really turn it ‘off’.
(c) David Katz, Obama for America

(c) David Katz, Obama for America


But more interesting, as I pointed out last night in a post about change.gov, is the apparent demeanor of Obama on this night (quiet, weighted, tired). Michael Shaw over at BAGNewsnotes wrote on election night about similar feelings surrounding his impression of Obama that night. I think we both see it as a fascinating thing to witness.

I was hoping these Flickr pictures would give us a better impression of Obama’s reaction in private, hedging the idea that he calculated his public performance, and reservations about camera-awareness aside, I think they do open something of another channel to understanding the weight of this moment on Obama the individual. There aren’t many pictures of him smiling. And there surely isn’t anything close to ‘Jube’ (sports photography slang for emotional/winning pictures).. like we see on tv (cool video from Slate V about the similarities between Obama and the TV show The West Wing. Go about 3:10 in to the video to see what I mean). By everything I’ve seen and treating all the images as opposite sides of the coin it appears that he was not acting differently before he took stage and when he was up in front of us; this moment seems to have hit him very seriously. As it should. That his true emotions, which at first take are so removed from typical campaigning and public appearance shots, shine through is a testament to his grounded reality and temperament. He didn’t put on a show to make us feel better about him or our chances: the true weight of the moment and the times ahead were on his face. And that seems very different than other politicians, who often are actors on stage with very calculated expressions and emotion. It would be interesting to look at other Presidential acceptance speeches to see if such a change in persona is typical.

Now couple this with WTJ’s news from Platon (in the same post as the Flickr link) that he was set to take the first portrait of President-Elect Obama immediately after the speech. He says it best: “Unfortunately we didn’t get to do the session. We were prepped and on call; ready to make the most of our 60 seconds. In the end and after all that had happened that evening he chose to spend time with his family over doing the shoot.” I’ll agree with Mrs. Hetherington (Mrs. WTJ) that this seems to be another indication of Obama’s character as well as his relationship to the mainstream media. He isn’t beholden to them and won’t do simply what they want. Interesting … and something to watch as time goes on. What will the access, visually in particular, be to an Obama presidency?

Writing and Revising Proposals

I started writing this post while procrastinating on two of my latest proposal revisions, one for the Pulitzer Center and the other for National Geographic. So far in the last two months I have revised and rewritten at least 5 versions (not including drafts, which probably doubles this number) of a single proposal to do a story in remote Siberia (details withheld for the time being, sorry!).

From the original 8 page manuscript for a major grant at my University to the latest 250 word ‘abstract and distribution plan’ for the Pulitzer people, I’ve had to radically reengage with my ideas about this project and revise my methods for convincing people that this story has to happen. One point I’m making is that if you have to write the proposal a dozen times to a dozen people, maybe something isn’t right the first time!




20 image edit for my website, www.mattlutton.com. My ‘standard’ edit of my 2008 story ‘Kosovo: New Born”

Not sure if I’m breaking any new ground for our readers out there (I feel like you’ve already had to deal with this yourself, or that it doesn’t apply to the work you do) but I’ll try. Here are some things I’ve realized about being a freelance documentary photographer trying to do his own stories, by pursuing story ideas and trying to convince publications and editors to take them up. Bear in mind, though, that I haven’t had much success yet..
I’ve been shocked to learn in the last year how much writing is a huge part of this job. Reading and writing, not looking at, shooting or editing pictures, takes up almost all of my time as a photographer. For example, I want to shoot a story in Vancouver, BC. How am I going to get an assignment to do it? I’ve got to convince an editor that the story is important and that they’ve got to send me to do it. The way this is accomplished is putting down the information in a succinct package and submit the story idea as a proposal.

The best advice I think I’ve ever received on how to write these things is from (god, I’m dropping his name again, forgive me) Jonas Bendiksen: paraphrasing, ‘First you have to convince them that this story has to be done. Then that it has to be done right now. Last, that you are the only person that can do it and that you are the one that has to do it.

Seems to work exceedingly well for him, he is one of the few photographers I know who gets by more on stories he wants to do than assignments. And I think it really wouldn’t hurt to take those points to heart for any kind of persuasive writing.




10 image edit of both my 2007 and 2008 Kosovo work for the PhotoLucida Critical Mass which I edited and submitted last week.

As far as (re)editing, it seems similar to the process we have to go through with portfolios. You have to figure out what your goals are with this particular iteration, who the audience is and what requirements (8 pictures? 10? 20?; 250 wds, 500, 2 pages?) you have to meet. As I said at the top, for me, going through these different versions has definitely left me with a firmer (death-hold) grasp on what is most important about the story and what absolutely has to be communicated and what doesn’t. I started with an 8 page ‘report’ on this topic and its relevance to the world and have been forced to cut and cut this until my current 167 word (exact! for Nat Geo) ‘abstract’ of the issue. While this brief certainly doesn’t not have the depth, ‘narrative power’ or nuance that I feel is required by this or any other important issue, I do think it contains enough of the story to convince someone it has to happen.

I had a conversation with a photographer friend last night who was visiting Seattle, and he was relating his current experiences in the freelance market, and he is taking a very different angle on all of this than me. Having to pay rent, on the east coast, he is in the position to having to make money somewhere/somehow with pictures right now (i.e. weddings, PR) and from that security create the freetime to do whatever stories he wants. He is planning to finish some of these projects outright, and then try and find a home for them. What I am doing, for better or worse, is trying to find funding and space for projects at the start. I’ve been focusing on editorial, a very limited market especially when you’re not established, to pay for more editorial. I’ve been trying to do this via ‘good ideas and good photos’ but I haven’t unlocked the key yet. I started this post to try and think through some more of these issues (am I doing things right? am I doing things well?) .. and hopefully get closer to knowing if I need to radically change my approach. Should I just take a day job until I get more established? I’m considering it.

At this point in either of our careers (I think M Scott would agree) doing this as a straight-up editorial (not to mention documentary) shooter this is a tough preposition, but it is what I’m after. Wish me luck, cause I’m still waiting on a break. (Or, as I’ve started calling it, waiting to win the lottery, because I’m positive that it isn’t simply a skill game. some luck is involved).




8 image edit of 2008′s ‘Kosovo: New Born” for the College Photographer of the Year competition

If there is enough interest, I’ll consider posting what the proposal(s) I’ve been writing for my ‘Graceland’ project. Leave a comment and I’ll see if it is worth opening up that can of worms.

PS – I see that Hey, Hot Shot! is now accepting entries for their second round of competition for the year. $60 to enter, but if you are selected you get $500 (whoo…) and what seems like very nice exposure. Maybe even get to participate in 20×200… I like that idea a lot and might even try something similar here..