a flickr of hope

i've just purchased another two years of flickr pro, which is kind of a waste really because i don't get to update it as often as i should. my last uploads were from the ati-atihan festival early this year. i've been on flickr since june 2005, long before the boom of digital photography, but i only turned pro in june 2009. these last 6 years, however, i haven't really been uploading too many pictures. my photography is really a small, though significant, part of my life. i spread myself too thinly across too many interests, that i don't get to focus on this aspect, which has gained me some praise and a bit of respect. and i can't really blame the emergence of other online photo sites. i've been niggardly posting pictures before facebook came along, although admittedly, the latter makes it so easy: i have a huge audience there.

i have to admit. having people respond to what you do makes it all worthwhile. if i didn't care about that, then i wouldn't have any online presence. but lately, with all the visual clutter that is facebook, i've been stingy in my posts, particularly because of my view on unloading tons of irrelevant images and imposing it upon the world. so i'm turning to other avenues where the response may be limited, but the usefulness of critique, higher. it's great to hear applause from friends, but it is even better to get suggestions from strangers who may actually be able to tell the difference between a good picture and a bad one. not to say that i don't have have friends who are able to tell the difference; it's just that, not all my friends have equal taste. take, for example, my most liked photo on facebook:

there's nothing special about this photo. it's a reference shot. no real composition, no intentional visual design. it was just a happy accident that i chanced upon it. i just stood under the sign and snapped it. no effort at all. yes, it's funny, and it was a golden find, but i wouldn't consider it as even remotely artistic. that people liked it is a reflection of their agreement to the humor and the wit that surrounds the shot. but then again, i would have wanted to get more constructive criticism about how to improve my photography.

in flickr, i get that, and more. sometimes, there's a discussion on the morality and ethics of photography, and about what we choose to post online. take this photo of "dusky naked boys". i just innocently uploaded this some time after my trip to camiguin, and it started a fierce debate about the propriety of my decision. it was completely not the kind of reaction i expected, because where i come from, this scene is pretty common. i never imagined it would inspire passionate disapproval and emboldened defense. up until now, it is my most viewed image at 67,000+ hits.

the other popular photo on my flickr photostream is this jump shot of my friend don in carabao beach. it's only been viewed close to 4,000 times, but it's my most "favorited" and most commented picture. now, everyone does jump shots of all kinds.

so despite what i've said about me being a snapshooter and my surrender to far more talented peers, i will continue to take photos -- snapshots if you will -- and commit to being a more active participant in documenting and capturing this world, with the aid of flickr, my nikons, and my indefatigable spirit.