Tagged: flickr

Fair use of photos: a no-pin situation?

It’s the eve of the Facebook IPO, a few weeks after the Instagram sale, and I’m still trying to figure out Pinterest.  Is it three syllables or two?  But seriously, what does a wildly-popular site built on appropriating other peoples’ images mean for content creators?

I don’t often google myself but in the wake of the not so great blogger scone photo brouhahah, I’ve been in the habit of checking TinEye Reverse Image Search once in a while.  I tried searching Pinterest, and sure enough, found a handful of pins from this very blog.

It seemed unfair that folks were pinning my work when I didn’t even have a login to the site to join the conversation.  Shortly after I whined about it on Twitter, my invite came through.  (The screenshot here is from after I joined; the first image is my own pin, but the others were there before.)

One thing that’s interesting here is that of the photos pinned from limeduck.com, two are not my own work – the shoes and the pillow.  I think I did a good job, at least with the pillow, of giving attribution and linkage, but once the photo gets pinned, the credit, such as it is, goes only to me.  I’m a little disappointed that most of the pins are just stuck in collections without any comments – more acquiring and collecting than really discussing – but it’s early yet.  Maybe the channel will become more social over time.

Most of the others are food pics, pretty disposable in my view, but one, the ferris wheel, is something I’d venture to say almost approaches art.  It’s a film photo that I scanned, and it’s also one that’s gotten around on the internets a bit and even been the basis for some derivative work at Deviant Art.

Although I’m irritable about sloppy photo borrowing, I’m also a fan of fair use.  I found out that you can ban pinning of images from your site with a simple bit of code,

<meta name="pinterest" content="nopin" />

but I’m not going to do it, at least not yet.  I’m not a professional photographer and this blog is pretty much here for my own entertainment, so the stakes are low for me.  People who make pictures for a living are surely more concerned about this.  If museum curators behaved like online content “curators” it would be a curious world, wouldn’t it?

Compare Flickr.  For all the almost-greatness and killed-by-yahoo hoohah, Flickr is a site for photographers to share their work – on their terms.  Flickr has done a good job of giving users choices about copyright and creative commons licenses, and also offering levels of privacy for photos and groups of photos.  In the last couple of months, Flickr has moved from site-wide nopin to a pin button available at the option of the Flickr user.

Like Flickr, Pinterest actually hosts the photos.  Unlike Flickr, Pinterest holds the photos in the account of the person that pinned them, not the person that created them.  I could delete this blog tomorrow and those pins would still be there. It’s also interesting that (so far as I can tell) Pinterest images do not show up in image search via google or TinEye.

Flickr has the power to get pinning done right, and I hope that it carries over to individual content sites like this one.   Flickr pins  go to the image in the photostream in question, but some of the pins from limeduck go to the image instead of the post.  That’s probably a result of image search, but it would be nice if Pinterest could work on that.  Even if they don’t do it for artists, they’ll eventually have to do it for commercial partners.

Will Pinterest ever mean much to social marketers? I’m doubtful of that, but I think it already means something to visual artists, but I’m not yet sure if that something is good or bad.

Geek note: hip to be square with Ricoh digital

If you have an eye for this sort of thing, you may have noticed that many of the photographs featured here on limeduck are square, having a width to height ratio of 1:1. Not all of them, but lots of them, and more recently, nearly all of them. We all know that I either take digital photos or scan them, so the aspect ratio is definitely under my control.

I’ve owned and used a variety of cameras over the years, most of them 35mm or digital, with occasional use of other film formats and polaroids. I’ve never used a Lomo or a Hassleblad. Each format has its own particular aspect ratio: 35mm is approximately 3:2 (1.5:1) and most digital cameras (including cellphone cams) are around 4:3 (1.33:1) like televisions and computer monitors used to be before the current craze for various forms of widescreen, mostly around 16:9 (1.78:1), closer to the 2:1 and more seen in some classic movies via cinemascope and related processes.

I’m not quite sure when I started cropping both digital photos and scans to square, but the first one on this blog looks to be from February 24, 2007 with a rectangular pic just a few days earlier on the 19th . Both are scans from 35mm film (Tri-X) shot with my trusty Ricoh GR-1.

When I used to make actual photographic prints in the darkroom from negatives, I was very particular about using the full frame. It’s a photo-geek thing, all about authenticity, since you’re printing everything you shot. There are several reasons why this logic is crap and all photographs are lies, but I won’t go into that here. I will say here that cropping to square from a rectangular shot is sometimes tough, since when you compose through the viewfinder (or screen) you’re seeing what you’re seeing, and leaving out what you’re leaving out.

I got to like the square thing, and it became a bit of distinguishing mark for the blog. Eventually, I was happy to discover a flickr group called squareFormat – with over 10,000 members and 180,000 photos as of this writing. The group rules are wonderful:

Alain Astruc (a group admin) says:
09 Apr 08 - THE THREE LEVELS OF SQUARENESS: ONLY SQUARE PHOTOS!

1/ SQUARE
Square photos taken with a square format camera.
• 6×6 square format rolleiflex, hasselblad etc.

2/ SQUARISH
Almost square photos or square photos taken with a non-square format camera
• 600 type polaroids, cropped 35mm or digital, etc.

3/ META SQUARE
Scans or compositions containing square photos.
• Polaroids scanned with the frame, dyptichs, mosaics of square photos etc…

On one of this group’s message boards, after lots of posts about $15k digital cameras and the merits of using different kinds of tape to mask a camera’s viewfinder, I read about a digital camera that had a square format shooting mode. Even better, the camera was the new digital version the Ricoh GR-1, appropriately named the Ricoh GR Digital II. This means I could compose square photos in the viewfinder and “print” them later without cropping and graduate from Squarish to Square in Alain’s hierarchy. I had to have one.

And a couple of months ago, I got one. It’s really really great, and not only because it shoots square. Sharp fast lens, good color, takes standard AAA batteries in a pinch, standard tripod mount, lots of manual control plus full auto, convenient size, RAW shooting, good no-nonsense mini-USB cable connection, interval shooting mode, level(!), unobtrusive size and color. I miss the lack of viewfinder and wish the lens were a little wider, but that’s about it. There’s no food mode or whiteboard mode, but I can work around that. At 10 megapixels, I find there’s plenty of information to work with when I do choose to crop or print. Of course, if you choose square shooting mode, you get only about 7 of those 10 megapixels. I can live with that.

If you want to own a piece of limeduck history, bid on my soon to be former digital camera, a Kodak V570 dual-lens. This is also a fantastic pocket digital camera, but a little dated with only 5 megapixels. It has two lenses, a very wide prime and a 5x zoom. Mention this blog and I’ll upgrade that 1GB SD card to 2. I don’t use it as much, but I’m not ready to give up my film Ricoh.

Globe Corner Blog, BUR Geotagging, Cocktails in Liminal Spaces

The Commander Globe, available at Globe Corner BookstoreAs I contemplate driving 500 miles or so this weekend – more than I’ve driven in a month so far this year, I believe – my mind meanders back to cartographic matters. A random roundup of mappy clippings:

I. The Globe Corner Bookstore has a Blog.
I’ve been an unrepentant fan of GCB for as long as I’ve known about it. One of my first luxury purchases after a period of difficult cashflow was a globe from Globe Corner. When they closed I mourned, when they reopened, I rejoiced. The Globe Corner Blog delivers book reviews, travel tips, and news on a near-daily basis. It’s not as marvelous and awesome as Strange Maps, but it’s pretty cool.

IIa. WBUR’s Charles River flickr Group
I picked up this item via the ever-alert crew at Universalhub: WBUR’s Boston Radio is doing a show on the Charles River, and set up a flickr group for people to post their river pics and geocode them. That’s my kind of thing, so I dusted off some Charles-y pics from last month and uploaded and tagged them. Listen to the podcast and check out the photo map.

I continue to wonder if there’s a way to handle geotagging for pictures that are of a line rather than a point in space.  For example, my Acela collages.  I wonder if I can rig up a useful way to take similar photos as I drive this weekend without being too much of a traffic hazard.

IIb. On Point Radio: How the States Got Their Shapes
For a double dose of WBUR, I was listening in the background as I often do, and suddenly I was hearing a caller ask about an event in the early ’90s when Connecticut Governor John Rowland made an April fools day joke of annexing the small bit of Massachusetts that pokes down into Connecticut so that Mass might then be free to slide into the sea. I was in college in Connecticut at the time and thought that was pretty funny. On Point was doing an entire show on the origins of the peculiarities of the borders of the states. Good stuff. Here’s a pic from wikipedia showing the Southwick Jog aka Granby Notch.

IV. Liminal Spaces Between Cambridge and Somerville
This weekend I was hanging out with LKB and BEM at their Cambridge lair swilling excellent margaritas, and they asked me if I had ever resolved my Somerville parking ticket. I had in fact, not yet heard from the parking authorities of Somerville, but that didn’t stop us from speculating about various kinds of installation art that might be done if we could locate a strip of land claimed by neither Cambridge nor Somerville. I’ll summarize the discussion with “Smallest. Casino. Ever.”