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The Internet Communications

The Peculiar World of Web Photo Sharing 246

theodp writes "Can't get enough pictures of dogs' noses? Circular objects framed within squares? Newsweek reports on photo-sharing sites and picture blogs, where amateur shutterbugs looking to share their passions with the world happily blast their photos out to millions of people. Fotolog CEO Adam Seifer, who posts a picture of every meal he eats on Get In My Belly!, calls the Fotolog-Flickr-HeyPix-Smugmug phenomenon 'a million reality TV shows, only without the pain and humiliation.'" Update: 03/14 07:09 GMT by T : Reader onethumb points out an important aspect of such sites: "The new breed of photo-sharing services expose their APIs for geeks everywhere to enjoy. Both Flickr and Smugmug have growing APIs with thriving communities around them. Write your own photo-sharing application, sister web service, or software toy today!" (Here's a link to Flicker's API, and one to smugmug's.)
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The Peculiar World of Web Photo Sharing

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 14, 2005 @01:02AM (#11930118)
    Slashshot.org [slashshot.org] - My photo reactions to every Slashdot story.
    • Re:My new photo blog (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ScArE2100 ( 663201 )
      I just bought the domain http://www.slashshot.org [slashshot.org]:)

      Should have it set up in about 2 hours [slashdot.org]. What should I use it for?

      • Slashdot-like website, except that every article *has* to be a single "shot" - a one line single statement, with either a word or sentence limit? So the front page will be like:
        * Google changes dictionary provider [categories: google, business, wikipedia, dupe]
        * Adam West in new Batman cartoon [notserious, batman]
        * Apple litigation in ending stages [legal, apple]

        Some suitably smart mechanism will make the categories be votable (allowing category tags like "w00t", "dupe" and, heck, "boobies" to be added by
      • I just bought the domain http://www.slashshot.org:)

        Should have it set up in about 2 hours. What should I use it for?

        goatse.cx mirror
  • by EnronHaliburton2004 ( 815366 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @01:03AM (#11930120) Homepage Journal
    Funny, I don't see any photos. I just see numbers like '404' and '503'. ...

    Does my screen not support those types of images?
  • by SlideGuitar ( 445691 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @01:04AM (#11930126)
    What's so strange about it?

    You find something that you love... you share it with the world.

    http://portlandground.com/ [portlandground.com]
  • by datastalker ( 775227 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @01:06AM (#11930131) Homepage
    "Fotolog CEO Adam Seifer, who posts a picture of every meal he eats on Get In My Belly!"

    I hope this guy gets to be known for more than just that... ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 14, 2005 @01:06AM (#11930134)
    Blogging for people who don't know how to type! It's a brave new world.
  • by SteelV ( 839704 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @01:06AM (#11930137)
    I can't believe that 20,000 people visit Adam Seifer's site every week, just to see pictures of his meals. It's such a useless thing, and fotolog.net just has countless, random pictures. I know art is subjective, but I don't think they have that much subjective value.

    I guess it's the same reason we like reality TV: we get to live vicariously. It's good entertainment. And stuff like that.

    Personally, I waste enough of my own life eating meals (usually 3 square / day); I don't want to waste even more watching what others eat (or observing other mundane activities).

    That's just me though.
  • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @01:06AM (#11930140)
    How long until the novelty of photographing your dinner and posting it on the web fades into oblivion?

    Not long, I figure, even for the CEO of the company.

  • riiight (Score:5, Funny)

    by The Amazing Fish Boy ( 863897 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @01:07AM (#11930145) Homepage Journal
    "only without the pain and humiliation"

    I know of a few photos this guy hasn't seen yet. If he sticks around Slashdot he'll certainly run into them, though.
  • by bourdeau ( 653459 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @01:08AM (#11930150)
    It's interesting to note that almost every item that he has taken a photo of is some sort of take out food. Very little homecooked food is shown. Is that now a typical diet?
    • by torinth ( 216077 )
      For a lot of city dwellers, yes. Kitchens are expensive real estate, grocers are always packed, and the combination of restaurant competition and higher-than-average salaries makes prepared food relatively affordable.
    • And this question right here is the reason that these sites are popular. You get to view every little detail and compare it to what you do or what the "norm" is.

    • by kamapuaa ( 555446 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @01:46AM (#11930315) Homepage
      I believe slightly less than 50% of meals in the US are home-cooked?

      There's a tone of condescension in your question, but when you're cooking for one or two people, it's easier and cheaper to eat out, particularly when you factor in time of preparation. In the cities I've lived in (Oakland Chinatown, Honolulu, Tokyo, & New York), the food can be quite interesting and healthy. Most of the people who cook do it more as a fun activity or hobby than a superior way of eating.

      I'm aware that in many areas, restaurants are intended for special occasions rather than everyday eating, or are fast food. So people from different areas may have different predjudices.

      • I don't think he's being a food bigot--but he made a good observation. I'm curious myself.
      • when you're cooking for one or two people, it's easier and cheaper to eat out, particularly when you factor in time of preparation.

        I can cook something more quickly than I could get to a restaurant, so preparation time isn't an issue, and I certainly think the cost comparison can't be true -- the meal I made on Saturday would have come to maybe 3 quid for 2 big servings. I wouldn't weant to eat in a restaurant which charged less than that. Took about 5 minutes preparation (human time, rather more elapsed

      • I agree with kamapuaa. I'm a pretty good cook. But cooking for one is expensive. Especially if you prefer fresh meats and vegetables over frozen or pre-packaged. So I eat take out a lot, and cook for myself or myself and friends about once a week or so (not including giving new recipes a whirl. Now that doesn't mean I order out or eat out for 20 meals a week. Typically, I keep lots of fresh fruit and salad supplies around, as well as can soup, cheese, apples, and crackers.

        But preparation of a meal, even a
    • I actually like to cook quite a bit, but for many meals I find myself lacking energy and/or time to prepare something and end up either eating takeout, or (shudder) frozen food matter.

      Soemtimes though we try to compromise and at least cook some fresh vegetables with whatever takeout we might have.

      I'm not even a core city dweller, I'm in deep suburbia and have a grocery store a very short drive away. It's a matter of energy and will to cook, along with having other things to do.
    • I've just moved out 4 weeks ago, mostly because I got a job about 200km away from home. The food we can buy at work is pretty damn good, actually. There are different hot dishes, veggie dishes and sub-30% fat dishes every day, in addition to a pretty damn sweet salad bar. What I do is I usually have the hot dish or the sub-30% dish around noon, and some light food at home in the evening, mostly something like a few slices of rye bread and an apple or two.

      In addition to fitting my personal rhythm better, I'
    • I'll get to the on-topic post in a little bit.

      I've lived "on my own" for the past 4 years and although I know how to cook certain meals and I like to experiment in the kitchen, it's something I associate as a "hobby" - I go down to the fresh market, buy salmon, buy leafy greens I've never heard of, etc. with results that are sometimes visually disastrous (3 ft. tall flames englufing a Jack Daniel's-soaked salmon fillet) yet still delicious. Most of the time, it is a pain in the ass to get home from work la
  • by delirium of disorder ( 701392 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @01:10AM (#11930159) Homepage Journal
    When you spends a certain ammount of time on the internet, you eventually realise there are pictures besides pron and goatse out there. I personally have taken a recent interest in photo art on the web. My favorite artist is Jenni Tampanila. Check out her work here:

    http://www.suzi9mm.com/ [suzi9mm.com]

  • Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CosmeticLobotamy ( 155360 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @01:10AM (#11930160)
    a million reality TV shows, only without the pain and humiliation.

    It's sad when you have to start explaining reality (and pictures thereof) to people as "kind of like reality TV."
    • Between TV, video games, and the internet, and the media bubble the US lives in most kids don't have any idea what reality is. Just millions of obese couch potatos.

      The trend may not pass, but they will.
  • Humiliation (Score:3, Funny)

    by Sheepdot ( 211478 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @01:13AM (#11930171) Journal
    Fotolog CEO Adam Seifer, who posts a picture of every meal he eats on Get In My Belly!, calls the Fotolog-Flickr-HeyPix-Smugmug phenomenon 'a million reality TV shows, only without the pain and humiliation.'

    I don't know what's worse, the fact that the guy is the CEO of a site that caters to weirdos and doesn't think it is, or the fact that he doesn't find his website name, "Get In My Belly!", humiliating.
    • > the fact that the guy is the CEO of a site that caters to weirdos and doesn't think it is, or the fact that he doesn't find his website name, "Get In My Belly!", humiliating.

      Of course all decent readers will interpret that as content ingested by the mouth. If you accidentally imagine something other wise (*umm*..) , please see this [penny-arcade.com] to be cleansed.

      Of course, cannibalism is the only crime more henious than murder ... (and Hitler was a vegetarian). [*confused*]

  • IMO... (Score:5, Funny)

    by goss ( 136281 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @01:14AM (#11930179)
    "a million reality TV shows, only without the pain and humiliation"

    Aren't those the main components of "reality" tv shows?
  • by Pyr05x ( 852964 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @01:28AM (#11930240)
    I finally got the digital camera I wanted for Xmas '04.

    I tried out Flickr, and signed up for a year about an hour later... It has an amazing simple interface for organising/tagging etc.

    Better still though, is a published API: http://www.flickr.com/services/api/ [flickr.com]

    The best usage of this i've found so far is Colrpickr: http://www.krazydad.com/colrpickr/index.php?group= flickrcentral [krazydad.com]

    • I tried flickr. It failed to upload my images about 15 times saying server was too busy and there was nothing I could do but wait for few hours and see if something got uploaded or not. At some point, finally, one picture got through - I tried to view it - it tried to load the picture in flash and crashed my browsers. I kept asking myself why they would do such a horrible job, and then I found zoto.com [zoto.com]. It has the best user interface that works cross-platform, cross-browser (yes, even with Konqueror) with s
      • Flickr is also cross platform and cross browser.

        Every now and then they mess with the servers, though, so there is some downtime. When it is working, though (which is most of the time) it works beautifully.
        • Flickr is also cross platform and cross browser.

          Maybe, but that "cross" does not cross to anything I use.

          First off, as I said before, I don't know what flickr does with Flash, or most importantly - why they bother using it - but images don't display in either Firefox or Konqueror for me - they crash the flash plugin (Konq survives the plugin crash while Firefox goes with it but that's another browser issue). I question the use of the flash plugin to display images altogether. Zoto.com displays images as t

          • Flickr uses Flash to display the photos, so you can add notes to them. Notes are litttle squares with text underneath, that render directly on the photo. Makes for great annotating. When the mouse is over the photo you see the squares, when the mouse leaves the picture, they fade away. See this [flickr.com] and this [flickr.com].

            Also, there is a Linux uploader for Flickr available here [micampe.it].
          • from the tooting-own-horn dept.

            As far as cross-platform, again not for me.

            I don't think you looked too hard, unless you're using an obscenely unpopular platform.

            Latest release of the Flickr::Upload [cpan.org] module on CPAN includes a perl-Tk uploader. And a command-line uploader. There's a bunch of other (probably more complete) uploaders listed here [flickr.com].

            Not official Flickr services, but one of the advantages of opening up the API is that other people can work out the support for the less mainstream users.

            I d

  • by metalhed77 ( 250273 ) <{andrewvc} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday March 14, 2005 @01:35AM (#11930272) Homepage
    Flickr, if I may say, is one of the best designed web apps out there. It's quick to use, clean, and very featureful. Additionally it seems to have a semi-open API because I see tons of projects (like the squared circle collage [krazydad.com]) being made out stuff on there. And, most importantly, the interface makes ample use of DHTML and flash in a way that is genuinely useful. Interface elements that on most sites require loading a new page (say changing the title of an image you uploaded) or changing your navigation style are either javascripted or implemented very elegantly in flash. It feels quite close in many ways to a traditional app.

    The groups on it are also good for meeting people and sharing tips / techniques. My one complaint about these groups is that people are *too* nice. Even in the ones where it is required that users include negative feedback, none ever is.
    • If you want negative comments about your pics, post them to mobog.com [mobog.com]. WARNING: Site is not safe for work.
    • I have a friend who uses Flickr but I personally use Pbase.com [pbase.com] which I absolutely love and can't believe it wasn't mentioned here. From the standpoint of accessing photos, it can't be beat. $23/year for 200MB of storage space. You upload individual images or Zip files and Pbase makes thumbnails and other smaller sizes, as well as allows you access to the original image. In the last two months they have transitioned to new servers/hosting so the service hasn't been great...but they comp'd those two month
  • I phlog hard. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 14, 2005 @01:37AM (#11930281)
    Another photo-sharing site not referenced in the original article is http://www.phlog.net/ [phlog.net] (as in PHoto webLOG or PHone webLOG).

    I've been using that site for a few months now (refer http://www.phlog.net/user/OzDJ [phlog.net]) and I'm hooked. Family and friends often ask me "why would you bother?" and I tell them that I look at it this way....

    I reckon that the extraordinary events/times/places that we experience typically occupy less than 5% of our conscious lifetime. The other 95% is very mundane day-to-day stuff, yet it shapes who we are and - ultimately - how the world itself advances (or otherwise). Photos of the day-to-day make up some of the best historical photographic exhibitions I've ever been to.

    And when I'm on my deathbed in (hopefully many) years to come, I anticipate that my loved ones will care more about "the little stories" than "pix of Grandad's xxth birthday" or "pix of Grandad standing in front of the Taj Mahal in 19xx". And I'm far more prepared to trust those stories to an online blogging service than my already-alzheimers-affected grey matter. :-)


    OzDJ - Sydney, NSW, AU
    • Since I got my first digital camera two years ago (which was on my phone) I've taken over 1200 photos (do the math!) for almost the same reason. To me, life is about living (cliched, sorry!). But human memory being what it is, when we forget what we've lived, what proof do we have that we lived it - it would be like we never did these things at all. Even the monotonous day-to-day stuff should be remembered because, as you say, it makes up 95% of our life.

      Photographs and cameras can't change that of course
  • by jpatokal ( 96361 ) * on Monday March 14, 2005 @01:37AM (#11930283) Homepage
    For more serious photography, check out photo.net [photo.net], started by Philip Greenspun of ArsDigita fame. Still lots of random pictures to be found, but the quasi-moderation system of ratings does a pretty good job of sorting out the wheat from the chaff; check out the last three day's top-rated pictures [photo.net] for an example. The service is free to use, but people with popular pictures get more disk space -- or you can get it the old-fashioned way by paying.

    Obligatory own gallery whoring: me! me! me! [photo.net]

    And psst: since this is Slashdot, you'll want to know that there's some pretty damn good free pr0... err, I mean kinky photography [photo.net] out there too.


  • to the goatse guy?
  • by SKPhoton ( 683703 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @02:01AM (#11930363) Homepage
    It's so much nicer hosting your photography yourself. No worries about how much of your work you can put online, other than how much hard drive space you can cram in. I've had great luck hosting with Gallery [sourceforge.net].

    My Photography [skphoton.com], for example.
    • It's so much nicer hosting your photography on a big powerful website. No worries about how popular your work is, other than how how fast you can fill your monthly quota. I've had great luck hosting with Flickr [flickr.com] (one Gig upload per month for paying accounts, no storage maximum). And people browsing my collection don't affect my on-line gaming.
    • I agree. My problem with most of these photo services is that they limit you to SMALL file sizes. Its understandable -- it takes a lot of space to host huge images. I just can't deal with looking at images that're pint-size. I personally host all my 5MP images on my own gallery integrated with Mambo [fpux.com]. I even did a little hack to enable Mambo-Gallery SEF URLs [fpux.com] and a few other cool features. I'm not able to use my online gallery as my primary method of storing and organizing my photos.
    • Completely agreed! (See my other post here [slashdot.org])
  • by madmancarman ( 100642 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @02:02AM (#11930364)
    I'm sure it's been mentioned before, but one of my favorite things now and then is to load one of the LJ Image Theft [cubed.nu] pages that are out there. It grabs the last 200 images posted to LiveJournal, and even though it's largely quizilla results and photos of teenage girls attempting to convey some sort of random emotion, occasionally some interesting memes occur. Recently, when Hunter S. Thompson died, a bunch of people posted photos of him or from the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and one linked to his piece "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved [derbypost.com]", which I probably never would have read had I not stumbled across it through LJ Image Theft.

    However, it's important to note that some people post some pretty weird shit on LiveJournal - especially the Russians! - so it's not always work safe. Actually, sometimes that's what makes it so interesting - you can almost put your finger on the pulse of what's going on in people's heads across the world by scanning through the photos, and the time of day makes a difference, too. For example, St. Patrick's Day is coming up, so I'm sure there are going to be more and more images with shamrocks and leprechauns in them. Needless to say, Valentine's Day was an interesting one as well - lots of broken heart graphics and photos with faces scribbled out. Just get used to seeing this photo [uoguelph.ca] of a cat passed out next to a bottle of booze, because it's in there every other time I load the script.

  • I have personally found Smugmug [smugmug.com] a good site to use.

    The fact that I can just upload my originals and it does the rest with regards to resizing them to 3 different sizes (small, medium, large) plus with a nice interface with no annoying adds. Plus no size limits and good site speeds are a bonus.

    Warning:LINK WHORE! Yes yes, feel free to check out my gallery [smugmug.com] if you wish. :P I recommend the airshow!

  • What about PhotoSIG? (Score:3, Informative)

    by PenguinOpus ( 556138 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @02:38AM (#11930456)
    I'm surprised no one has mentioned it so far, but
    by far the best moderated photo publish/review site is PhotoSIG:

    http://www.photosig.com/go/main;jsessionid=aVeKn nl N5829

    They get thousands of photos a day categorized and scored. Amateur and professional photographers make great effort to gain a good reputation for both their photos and their comments.

    Browse the categories and then browse the "best of"... the photos there are truly amazing.
  • by onethumb ( 4479 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @02:48AM (#11930482) Homepage
    Of particuarly interest to /. readers are probably those sites with open, thriving, growing APIs. smugmug's got one [smugmug.com], as does flickr. [flickr.com]

    The result, of course, is tons of user-created uploaders, organizers, applications, and even sister web services. Pretty sweet, if you ask me, and lots of fun. There's not many things more rewarding than a customer discovering the API and coming up with something brilliant.

    Disclaimer: I co-founded smugmug, so bias is present, but I've been a geek my whole life, so open APIs still get me excited. :)
  • by museumpeace ( 735109 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @03:13AM (#11930529) Journal
    Who knew when he said "in the future everybody will be famous for 15 minutes" we would use the internet to make his prediction come true and in the process discover that everybody is ugly and stupid looking for all but that 15 minutes.

    In at least one category, this profligate posting of pictures that snare a huge share of traffic is hardly new. blogs like...ehem, this one [blogspot.com] "share" pictures as good[bad?] as Penthouse charges for and I hear lots of people like those pictures too. Of course its just a come-on to get you to click through to the paid content but seems like it will be a while before pictures of quilts and puppies take up more bandwidth than publicized private parts
    • then again...the very next random blog was http://stoplookenjoy.blogspot.com/ which is just pictures and they are nice studies of the geometric patterns and visual poetry of architecture and nature. I suppose there could be some bias in my surveying technique.
  • Great... (Score:3, Funny)

    by drigz ( 804660 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @03:26AM (#11930569)
    'a million reality TV shows, only without the pain and humiliation.'

    so just leaving the relentless boredom? - sounds accurate.
  • Gallery2 (Score:3, Informative)

    by uss_valiant ( 760602 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @03:40AM (#11930606) Homepage
    If you're planning to create your own online gallery, I highly recommend G2, the successor of the original Gallery [sf.net]. It's a solution for personal galleries, for you and your friends and for community / commercial sites.

    It features plenty of features and more and more modules for the end user and it's a beauty on the inside for developers.
  • What's this talk of using an *api* to create a photo gallery? What's wrong with simply laying them out, 5 or 6 to a page? With having one box and Javascript snippets to change pictures? I dunno, I guess my fascination with retrocomputing has led me to value getting the most out of one's CPU cycles and storage. I'm probably the only guy left who refuses to do web site development using graphical tools...
    • Better abstraction. If you write an API for a gallery, you can integrate it with your favourite blogging tool - post to gallery, sort of thing.
    • I'm probably the only guy left who refuses to do web site development using graphical tools...

      So there's two of us, then. Not so much a "refusal" as a skepticism of the alleged advantage, I guess...

  • by R.Caley ( 126968 ) on Monday March 14, 2005 @03:57AM (#11930654)
    Who looks at these things?

    I recently hunted down a sudden spike in bandwidth use on one of our servers to a picture of my nephew. I had stupidly left the full-resoultion image beside a web friendly one and people from all over the world had decided to have a look. It really doesn't take many to be noticable when the file is 500MB.

    My best guess is that the fact that my nephew's name, which was in the filename, is a simple one-letter typo away from that of a saint whose feast day was close to the start of the rise in bandwidth was the cause. Bloody google.

  • Shutterbook [shutterbook.com] is a nice one also, but it's more of a desktop app on the web type of solution. it's not a social networking app like many of the other solutions, but it's a heck of a lot more enjoyable to use imho.
  • Imagine how much more free content would be available if CreativeCommons.org published an API (with infrastructure to back it up) that allowed mobloggers to immediately release their materials quickly and painlessly into the Creative Commons.
  • For the gamers among you, please check out my new site, aboveGame [abovegame.com].

    My site is focused on gamers wishing to record and share their virtual adventures and lives. Instead of photos, members post screenshots and can blog about what their virtual selves are up to. So far we've got some pretty amazing photos, so please feel free to browse the site or better yet participate!

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972