Flickr as archive?

A block of red, red concrete to be exact. If you look closely you may see a hand suggested in the shadows of the image. As a Nick Cave fan I felt the title of Red Right Hand appropriate here. Made in August 2005. This resurfaced in my flickr stream due to it being favourited by a stranger. This is one of the joys of flickr for me., rediscovering aold work.
Image titled “red right hand”from flickr taken on the 16/08/2005

Recently on flickr, the above imge that I had uploaded nineteen years ago resurfaced. Thanks to a coment from a stranger. On the day I was using flickr’s excellent iPhone app to monitor my feed. One drawback of the mobile app is it is difficult to determine the context of any interactions and the  image itself in this situatiuon. Once I was able to acces flickr on a desktop I was able to see that the image is in an album called concrete canvas.

I also was able to see if I had origianlly captered it as a raw file by using Neofinder to search all my drives. If I had it would enable me to reprocess the file and perhaps present it in a better way. Afterall digital editing software has come along way in the last ten years never mind nineteen. So I found the file opened it an pocessed it again even though all I had was a jpeg.. This is the outcome.

What still perplexes me though, is that the image somehow surfaced in a strangers stream all these years later? I can see they added it to their favourites so I’m grateful for that.


About the author.
Stuart Murdoch is an Artist and Part time Photo Educator, with over 30 years of teaching experience. He contemplates many things photographic. His ruminations include his own work as well other’s and the aspects of technology that impact on the sharing and consumption of Photographs. And of course the act of making and taking photogrpahs in the 21st century.

☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr

Inflection Points

I am now well past my 60th rotation of the sun. I recently attended a former teachers funeral and this has me thinking about lots. I’m planning on posting a little more often here as a consequence. Also, I recently read over on cogdogblog ways to use a blog as an aid to your memories. This current blog only dates back to 2020. So to really get a sense of what I have done since the internet arrived in 1995  I’m listing several other blog and social media activities  that have formed part of my creative online life. As best as I can remember. Here’s a list on my static site. The idea with this post is to hopefully have an archive of this activity.

a screen grab of my blower.com page
My blogger.com page I posted a phone camera image daily , in a curated and interconnected way from 2004 to 2010

From 2004 to 2010 I blogged on blogspot.com, now a google property, and used a phonecam to achieve this. It was called s2art’s mophone photography blog. I was at the same uploading regularly and frequently to Flickr.com. Then I used tumblr for the same ends called lo-res daily. This was just before Instagram became big. The tumblr still exists but my posting frequency is spotty at best. This particular  tumblr was actually a Sub-Tumblr as I had already setup a tumblr in 2007 [s2z.tumblr.com] which mainly hosted links and other text snippets; in the beginning anyway.

A screen grab from my Tumblr page taken on 22nd of January 2024
A screen grab from my Tumblr page taken on 22nd of January 2024

Somewhere in all of this was a self hosted movable type, blog thanks to Cos. I blogged there from 2006 to 2011, thanks to the way back machine [internet archive] you can still read it.

My Movable type site archived at the internet.org
My Movable type site archived at the internet.org

Instagram became a huge focus for me around 2010. My original account is long gone however. Flickr and Tumblr at this stage were figuring highly in my life anyway. In amongst all of this were dalliances with Facebook, [I have deleted my data at least twice from that space]. Posterus, also sold and rebooted. ello.co now defunct and twitter a site that never really captured my attention. For all intents and purpose twitter has become colloquially, a ‘Hell Hole”. I still have an account there but rarely login to it.

Screengrab of my old free wordpress site
Screen-grab of my old free WordPress site

In 2015, I had setup a free worpress blog, [s2zart.wordpress.com], this I ran until 2019, I briefly switched back to blogspot.com for 2 years, then setup this blog on my own server. My concerns over ‘data’, ‘search‘ and ‘privacy’ drove this change, along with ideas about the small web which were beginning to percolate though the internet generally.

a screen grab of my pinboard.in links page taken on 22 January 2024
A screen grab of my pinboard.in links page taken on 22 January 2024

All the while I am uploading content to Flickr very frequently. Although these days not chronologically, and of course the ‘Camera roll’ part of flickr forms a part of this process these days too. [This may form the content of a future post.] Other online activities include a Mastodon account, a pixelfed account [an alternative to instagram], a public listing of links/bookmark on pinboard.in a notion website of notes links and other digital artefacts a pika micro-blogging account and a threads account.

Why I do all this has shifted since 1995 when I began, it’s now about leaving a legacy, a digital footprint if you will.

☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr

How I Got Here Part Three?

still from 20 years ago today
Still life from 12th of May 2000 19:35:36

Life and time commitments make it difficult to plan shooting. Working around good light and the best seasons complicates this. To then process film on top of that, means a lot. Not to mention that materials, such as black and white papers, are running out as well. This puts me in a quandary. It means, my creative energies would be better spent exploring ideas and the world around me. using other means, preferably with a lens and a light sensitive material of some sort.

a self portrait from 2000
a self portrait from 2000 made using a phone camera

Technological changes mean I can create good quality images quickly . Excellent ones If I’m careful in an analogue sense] and easily using the smallest of devices. The caveat being they will probably only ever exist in cyber space. Why then not explore other ideas now. I mean all that other stuff, I’d felt was important for all this time, is it important? In this image saturated media landscape? Why not just see if I can’t get the ideas across using the simplest of tools? With nothing more to deal with than the 3 most important elements of photography. Light, Time, Space.

Well hey presto! Here I am using a mobile phone and or a small camera. Hopefully getting some idea across about the world I see. one that I am somewhat incongruously part of. One that I can share in real time or in a myriad of other ways.

North Geelong, Victoria, Australia 2022-10-26 14:12:21
North Geelong, Victoria, Australia 2022-10-26 14:12:21

There is somewhat of a leap of faith here. Between finely crafted silver gelatin prints, and the bulk of work I’m producing these days. So let me retrace my steps. Somewhere between 1994 and 2004, I started meandering in other directions. A Grad. Dip. Ed and an MA, were two of them. Computers the internet and Desktop Publishing were other side interests. All the while, digital cameras are following Moore’s Law. Desktop printers are getting better and better. By 2004 I’m hooked into flickr using my Nikon Coolpix 5400, bought after travelling the world. This is the first digital camera I owned, capable of producing reasonable A4 prints. It is not the 1st I ever owned. The first I owned, had died a quiet death in Wales on the same trip. In the interim had produced 13,000 plus images, a tiny selection of which made one of my 1st e-books, “buy, buy, buy”.

The current iPhone I use now creates both RAW and HEIF files. I have printed these files to A2, so my digital toolset is getting physically smaller. All in all a good thing. Now I spend a large amount of time choosing images to upload to flickr. Book creation forms a major part of my creative energy now too. As film prices have skyrocketed that aspect of my production slows. I now too have a scanner at home. I plan on revisiting my 30 year old colour film archive. This project alone should produce I hope at least 2 or 3 bodies of work. Also, several social media sites have risen attempting to usurp Instagram.

But I digress. As I said 2004 and getting a flickr account, was somewhat of a turning point for me. The first few years on flickr were pretty insane. Eventually I picked up on some patterns and ideas that were not dissimilar to the real world. Particularly amongst amateur photographers. For example.

  • 35 mm DSLRs produce better images than point and shoot cameras, allegedly.
  • Shallow Depth of Filed has some special magic quality about it. Which in turn, spawned a slather of cults/followers/groups 11,000 on flickr at time of writing.
  • Skin/sex sells, but I guess I knew that already but had forgotten it
  • Subtlety/complexity was often overlooked
  • Democracy exists in a way I’d never experienced it before [is this a unique web/forum thing?]
  • I don’t need to upload daily, and can even ‘curate’ my images in advance before uploading.

Anyway, I enjoyed those first few years prior to the Yahoo buyout immensely. I still do enjoy my time on flickr, but in a much more pared back kind of way. Two of the factors I enjoy about flickr, are. The amount of folks who seemed prepared to push the envelope on photography. The interface design, particularly compared to ‘deviantart’ and ‘fotolog’. In the beginning though it, flickr or my experience of it, was still somehow tied into the idea of a polished and finished ‘object’. You know the stuff I’d learnt at University.

Somewhere around 2006/2007, things slowly moved in another direction. I knew it was pointless obsessing over colour and colour management. This is still a very poorly misunderstood idea. Not to mention, interfaces and browsers interfere with these factors anyway. I began wondering then, how I could add a layer of complexity to my images that was uniquely digital. How I could use flickr and the internet to exploit that? So I then began looking at other ideas.

Maps have always fascinated me. They, give some clue to your geographical location. Which in turn hints at who you are, and in turn may give some clues to your culture. One thing that is unique to digital photography is, Exif Data. Digital exif data maps to the second when you made the image. The Web itself has grown to allow people ways to geographically and visually place images into maps. These images then add data to larger databases. Databases that collectively and individually add to the greater understanding of who we are, and where we are.

Coode Island, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 2023-01-29 16:26:49
Coode Island, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 2023-01-29 16:26:49

Time, place, identity/memory are driving factors behind much of my output. Yet. I’m also still not only interested in what makes a photograph “good”? But now, how I can use the simplest of tools to create images this way? The biggest change for me though is, that I carry at least one and often 2 or 3 small digital devices everywhere. And can work at an intuitive level that I’ve never been able or allowed myself to work at before. [Once I’ve learnt how to exploit or overcome the shortcomings of each device]. Intuition is for me the most difficult of creative processes to justify. In this day and age, of huge staged, over-manipulated, images. That adorn the halls of many Arts institutions.

For me, seeing comes before speaking. Therefore why an image I made exists is often more a visceral thing than an intellectual exercise. Although, the intellectual stimulus that a good photograph provides IS important too.

Let me finish off by, presenting one of my favourite little poems I picked up while studying at art school. It for me sums up art and photography so well.

“In modern thought, [if not in fact]

nothing is that doesn’t act

So that is reckoned wisdom which

describes the scratch

but not the itch”

Anon.

part 1, ||  part 2


About the author.
Stuart Murdoch is an Artist and Part time Photo Educator, with over 30 years of teaching experience. He contemplates many things photographic. His ruminations include his own work as well other’s and the aspects of technology that impact on the sharing and consumption of Photographs.
☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr

Issuu Account

I recently rediscovered an account I had forgotten about, on Issuu it is a series of digital publications I put together in the early 2000s.


About the author.
Stuart Murdoch is an Artist and Part time Photo Educator, with over 30 years of teaching experience. He contemplates many things photographic. His ruminations include his own work as well other’s and the aspects of technology that impact on the sharing and consumption of Photographs. And of course the act of making and taking photographs in the 21st century.

☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr