Photographers and Social Networks

Two days ago I wrote and posted this on my weblog on how I wanted to set up a Flickr-style gallery that would allow me to post edited images directly from my iPhone or iPad to my website and maintain complete control over both the images and styling. Then today I read this article by Oliver Laurent on the British Journal of Photography‘s website. 

For Tomas Van Houtryve, a VII photographer, Instagram has allowed him to take pictures he’d stop taking altogether. “Sometimes, with digital cameras and huge raw files, I actually hesitate to take a picture because I don’t want to deal with downloading it and backing it up on my hard drive and captioning it later,” he says. “With Instagram, it has kind of brought that joy back where I can just take a moment – it’s worth what it’s worth – send it out and move on to something else. Not everything has to be a raw file.

This statement and the BJP article’s opening statement “Have photographers become complacent with their only commodity in order to expand their community of followers?” both resonate with me but the last one is the reason why I’ve never posted many photos on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. It doesn’t matter whether or not I’m a commercial photographer, or whether it’s my only commodity and I’m reliant on it as my main source of income, it’s my commodity.

Photostream

Over the past few years I’ve become increasingly used to taking photos with my iPhone and processing them with one of the many apps available – I’ve tried them all. I love the look and feel of the images but I haven’t been sure of where they fit within my website. I could easily set up a gallery page to display them but that would mean transferring the images to my computer, writing code for the relevant pages and uploading both. And then repeating that when I had new images…

What I wanted was the ability to post easily from my iPhone or iPad wherever I happened to be and on a regular basis and to have a photostream-style page, like Flickr, where the images are automatically updated. This isn’t difficult as there are plenty of plugins that will mirror a Flickr feed, but most are designed to be a widget in the sidebar, not what I wanted. But I really needed to style it my own way.

Posting via the WordPress app to my weblog was an easy option, but that still meant inserting images into a post before uploading. And then the images would be in a post form and separated by date, whereas I wanted to see a stream of thumbnails on one page.

So, with the help of a few WordPress plugins, some personalized stylesheets and some code-tinkering, I think I’ve achieved pretty much what I wanted.

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The Setup

The Setup is a website that revolves around asking four simple questions; Who are you and what do you do? What hardware do you use? And what software? What would be your dream setup? The interviewees range from web designers, photographers and musicians to animators, engineers, librarians and scientists.

My setup’s been added to the community section and my answers can be found archived on my website here.