Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Why Are My Photos Public?

Moon Plane Bird
Moon Plane Bird
uploaded by Mully410

Lately, I've been looking around for places to enter my photos into contests. I'm not primarily looking to win big money or anything. I'm just looking for some public recognition to stroke my massive ego and boost my low self esteem, and I think it's fun.

So far, I've only found 2 where I might have a chance to win that's slightly greater than winning the lottery: Minnesota Environmental Fund and Astronomy Picture of the Year.

After reading the comments on the most recent Discovery Channel astronomy contest and the some comments at the APofY contest, I wonder about some people. These contest are free. Some require that you give up the copyrights to your work and some don't. Some don't distinguish between amateurs and pros. Many commentors just can't take something free without having to whine about it. I've discovered two general themes: "It's not fair" and "You can't have my pics."

The "It's not fair" crowd seems to be mostly concerned with everyone elses photos being better than theirs. They often make excuses and claim they won't enter because they won't win. Sheesh. A sure fire way to lose, is not to enter.

The "You can't have my pics" group are most concerned with copyrights. They feel their work is so great that everyone will steal their work and make big money off it. When I first started posting my photos on Flickr, I had some concerns. Then I looked around at some of the MILLIONS or photos on Flickr. I suppose some of these people have legitimate concerns but to the vast majority of us amateurs, our photos are just not worth stealing. Compared to the pros, our photos are mostly crap. I feel some of my photos are good, but they aren't good enough that some media pirate is going to steal any and have them published in National Geographic or anything.

After realizing how relatively mediocre my photos are, my mind slowly changed. I decided that I want as many people as possible to see my art. I have great fun taking pictures and want to share that fun with everyone. I am perfectly content with the 25,000+ views I've received on Flickr. But, the main reason I have little concern about copyright infringement is that my photos are my entertainment. It's a hobby. If I were to start selling my art, it would become a job. I don't want this to become work.

If you recall, one of my shots from Space Center Houston got into the Schamp Houston 6th Edition guide. I received no money and you probably can't even find it in there if you go look. Still, somebody liked my stuff enough to add it to their collection and that was SUPER COOL. I've also had photos "ripped" off by Flickr widgets on people's blogs (the chemtrail people have done this to me and some "paranormal" sites too). That's OK because the pics still link back to my originals on Flickr.

So, please don't steal my stuff but feel free to link back to it anytime you want. I do have one little bit of protection. You can't download the original size of my photos from Flickr, unless I give you permission. It doesn't hurt to ask.

If I can find a NSFW contest that will take it, I'm thinking about making a collage of my Finger shots. Let me know if you find one. Thanks!

(Happy Birthday, Bro)

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