I'm sure it's just me, but it just seems we are bombarded everyday with really ordinary to awful photographs yet I see comments like, "Amazing, Great, Outstanding" when it's not. I realize I'm way too blunt, a fault of mine. But really, rather then saying it sucks, why can't folks just say nothing when it's bad? Why encourage yuck? Of course, we all come from different places in our photography where someone else's junk is a masterpiece to us. Just thinking out loud.
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- Judging by scott kelbys latest posts his next book will be called 'HDR it and make it look like shite'. Really not digging these dayglo pictures he is posting.Aug 11, 2011
- There's even a broader problem... Google actively promotes some of the photographers commonly producing images with blatant exposure flaws (or worse)... always the same couple of dozen photographers who arrived on G+ while it was in beta during June or July, completely ignoring the 30-40 million people and many thousands of photographer who have joined and contributed to Google+ since.
Here's Google's Suggested User List, promoted to tens of millions of people as they joined Google+ since late August: https://plus.google.com/getstarted/follow
Comparing similar groups of photographers on and off Google's list, you see some interesting trends develop over time:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjZ78zSXx0_QdGdKTXlvNHFoNGRISnZFWjhuVmwxbWc What's up with that, Google?Nov 8, 2011
- - Boy, that is the first time that I've actually looked at that list. There are some folks on there who consistently produce and share interesting material... but there are also some who do not seem to me to warrant inclusion on such a list any more than would a few hundred or thousand other photographers. Strange.
The problems are several. First, whatever the criteria might be for the list, they are completely opaque. For all we know this is someone at Google's personal list of favorites. (If so, that is fine, but shouldn't it be labeled that way?) Or maybe they paid to be on it? Or maybe they had large followings early on in the beta process and as a result "earned" this giant bump from Google?
Of course, Google has the right (more or less) to do whatever it pleases. However, I have always thought that a fundamental value of Google was in ensuring the integrity of the data that they provide. It isn't clear to me how a "recommended list" without criteria or with unknown data, and a list whose value and integrity is open to question by those who know something about is not evident, is in line with this Google "value."Nov 8, 2011
- When Ansel Adams was honing his talents, hand-tinted postcards were all the rage, with fake colors used to spruce up what was often an otherwise drab and often rather talentless black and white snapshot. A similar phenomenon struck in the past decade as people bought their first digital camera, and used over-saturation in a vain attempt to overcompensate for a lack of optimal lighting, lack of a compelling subject and composition, and to draw attention away from basic exposure flaws. Such fantasy or digital art images have their place, but to attempt to pass them off as photography generally backfires (most photography competitions for example reject such monstrosities offhand).
HDR as a technique has its place in a digital toolkit (I find it useful maybe 2% of the time) but to over-process every image is a poor substitute for other factors such as a compelling composition in optimal light. Some people seem to rely on visual gimmicks like overblown HDR for most of the reaction they get from their images. And why not... people new to photography fawn over glitzy images like four year old girls fawn over sparkly unicorns. (That's not a knock against rabid HDR users any more than it's a knock on my daughter when she was 4.) To each his own. Here on G+ we can mute individual posts, and uncircle people who repeatedly produce or promote work that isn't to our tastes.
What I do object to however is Google actively promoting one obscure and often objectionable style of digital art as photography, particularly thought their Suggested User list, as though it recommended the pinnacle of the profession. Creating such false celebrities generates scads of G+ interaction data which will artificially promote this same agenda in general Google searches. The way to bring this to Google's attention is to go to the Suggested User list and use the Send Feedback button in the lower right corner of the page. Google-Recommended Users:
It took me four tries before the feedback form worked, but I eventually got it to work.
The URL of the page you're on, and the portion of the screen you highlight as the problem, are included with the complaint, so the user counts of individual objectionable users promoted by Google could be submitted as separate feedback reports as well. Some might interpret this as negative; I think it serves to improve G+ while Google clearly hasn't assigned any sort of curator who understands photography at even the low intermediate level. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but that is how streams dominated by snapshot compositions containing blatant exposure flaws and a complete lack of corrective post-processing come across to me. It's sad to see an otherwise competent tech company make a joke out of a community which could (if corrected) add value to its core search business, rather than subtract value.
It sounds like you have similar concerns, so you may wish to convey them directly to the appropriate folks at Google that way as well.
Google "stacking the deck" on G+ with many part-time amateurs endorsing controversial practices does matter greatly to the pros, whether they've fully realized the impact yet or not. Here are examples why:
How Being Friends on Google+ Leads to Better Rankings
Google+ and the Potential Impact on SEO
There's a slight rotation built into the photography portion of the list now, but it's mainly the same cast of early adopters who arrived in July, were actively engaged with and shared by Google employees through August, and have been recommended by Google via the list since late August. I don't begrudge anyone their success; it's the clear castes and cliques it has created, and the effective exclusion of the other 43 million people and many skilled photographers on the site that I object to.Nov 10, 2011
- Really? Get this worked up over a photography technique. Really? I just hope you put that much passion into your own photography and in SHARING it! While you might not like Trey's HDR, he is sharing his passion and putting smiles on some folks faces. And not asking a thing for it!!Nov 10, 2011
- Let's not engage based on the false premise that controversy over HDR is anything new, or even remotely a surprise.
Tools + Techniques: The Controversy Over HDR Imaging
It's hard to tell who you're addressing, but to reiterate my position on the topic, I stated that I use HDR and have no problem with it. I further clarified that what I get tired of is poor photography (glitz doesn't mask that). I thought that was similar to the subject of this thread; your frustration with poor images getting glowing compliments. Sorry though if I missed some subtle distinction. Here's one of my HDR sets, and I invite you to voice whatever feedback you like on them: https://plus.google.com/107459220492917008623/posts/cBbvkTpNq84
I didn't mention Trey, but your characterization of his motives overlooks that Google has granted him approximately 60 million ad impressions via Google's list (actually far better, an outright endorsement by Google). Google would normally sell that many ad impressions for tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. That's receiving nothing in return? I disagree. I like Trey. I tried to host a photowalk with him in September. I'm very happy for him; I think we have a lot in common (I'd love to be on a fifth lap of the world).
The two links I posted earlier answer your July 8 question "I would like to know as a newcomer how this social networking site moves me forward." By being on Google's list not once but twice, Trey gained 325,000 contacts since then, you gained 11,000. As a result, his name will now come up before yours in many Google keyword searches. So much for your 30 years in the business, 24 books, and 113 magazine credits. Poof. Gone. In Google's eyes and algorithms, and to the billions of people using Google, as a photographer you're now 1/30th of a Trey Ratcliff. Maybe that doesn't matter to you at all, but being found by potential clients does matter to many photographers here.
As for my passion, no worries there. I've spent more nights outdoors in the past 5 years than indoors, traveled 250,000 on-ground miles (NOT counting airline flights), if you have a copy of the October issue of Outdoor Photographer Magazine nearby, that's my image on the cover. I'll have a 320 page guide book out early next year, and I won a category in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2011 competition (should have entered more I suppose, but time is too short). I may be a couple of decades behind you (and a little less inclined to shrug off Google stacking the deck for a small handful of photographers), but I've had over 10 million views of my photos online, so I'm gradually building a brand for myself.
I'm also a guy with a computer science degree from U.C.Berkeley and 20 years experience in high tech, so I'm happy to explain this Search Engine Optimization stuff to other photographers, and why it matters.Nov 10, 2011
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