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Lost in the Labyrinth

June 7, 2018

 

What's bad for the goose is bad for the gander.  After watching, “The TRUTH Why Modern Music Is Awful”, Thoughty2 from Youtube, an interesting analysis of what’s happened to modern music, I couldn't help but notice this trend has certainly occurred in other art forms including and especially photography.
  One of the main reasons modern photography has also become so awful is saturation ( just like modern music ), the market is full of redundancy. To barrow a line from Fight Club, “everything is a copy of copy of a copy”, originality has been lost in a sea of mediocrity .

       Along with saturation mass technology has changed everything in modern photography. One of the most obvious changes to the art of photography is viewing, photography has become more of a screen image than a wall image. Eyes literally gazing at walls of hanging prints is nothing compared to the volume of images posted and viewed online. It's like going to a record store to buy an album on vinyl compared to the libraries of music on the screen. Social media, Instagram , Flickr, Zenfolio, PhotoShelter, etc, etc, etc… Oceans of oceans. In the year 2000 Eastman Kodak bragged 80 billion photos had been taken that year around the world. This year , according to the New York Times , 1.5 trillion photos will be taken globally.
   

       I’m not saying all modern photography or all modern music is awful, it’s just that originality is difficult to find. Original photography was difficult enough to find even in the days of film. Now both digital and film photography have become lost in an abyss of screens and monitors.  And there's something else, it's a device that's a camera, a gallery, and a record store all in one and it's conveniently located on every person. It's a machine and I'm not criticizing the means anyone chooses to make a photograph or to share a photograph. It only makes me curious about what's not being seen or heard, what's buried in the trillions of photographs of the virtual  labyrinth? This is interesting because search engines are very limited in their capability of finding this kind of original art. Search engine algorithms are not set up to find images or sounds , they're set up to find ( crawl ) descriptions like keywords ( SEOs ), hashtags, and meta tags. Search engine crawlers don't have eyes or ears, they can't hear music or see art,  they can only read words. 

      "Search needs to go a bit deeper to make sure that the image, whatever its file name, is actually relevant to a given keyword. And to do that, the search engine relies on data found on the webpage the image is located. After all, images are usually used in support for text content, so that content can provide information about what the image represents. What this means is that, just as with text content, image search looks for patterns, and rewards websites that can create them. Sticking a picture in a place that’s relevant will increase its chances."

    Of course any "professional" artists with websites are tagged and tagged and re-tagged, anyone even slightly familiar with web marketing knows keywords are crucial to getting found online. Thing is not all artists have a web presence, not all artists online use keywords,  and not all artists are going to be crawled by search engines unless they continually feed SEOs and keywords (word data)  to the search engines.

 

   There's another problem with finding those jewels of art in the immense oceans of the virtual , the use of common keywords. Searching for the uncommon isn't very useful online, first of all original art is not common and secondly , how much time do you have? For instance, If you enter the words, "fine art photography",  Goggle will give you 673,000,000 results. Of course you can be more specific and enter the words , "fine art photography buttons" and then you'll get a mere 11,100,000 results. Even in those millions of results, if all the words aren't keywords linked to the photo or art , search engines won't find it at all.

 

Lost in the Labyrinth

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