- Getting The Big Picture
If you’re not acquainted with “The Big Picture” from the Boston Globe, I highly recommend you stop by and say hello. Plan to stay a while, the images are stunning, the stories compelling.
- Image tracking
The evolution of Hollywood paparazzi from a marginal nuisance to one of the most powerful and lucrative forces driving the American news-gathering industry is a phenomenon that dates back to March 2002, when a women’s magazine editor named Bonnie Fuller took over a Wenner Media property called Us Weekly, which had drifted along since its founding in 1977 as a rival to the fantastically successful People magazine franchise. What Fuller brought to Us was a keen understanding of her audience. “Every day, we’d look at tons of pictures that came in and lay them all out on a conference table,” Fuller remembers. “And what was interesting to me was to look at celebrities going to the dry cleaners and pumping gas. I loved looking at these pictures of celebrities who were just like us.”
- TinEye and the data lady (a romantic search adventure)
StÃ©phane Lee pointed me yesterday to the Data Lady. This lady is going to be added to my Everywhere Girl fascination! The Data Lady is a stock photograph of a lady that is being used in a lot of data center websites, collocation websites, large database company websites and of course web hosting sites… you get the picture. Stephane used TinEye to find where else she is appearing and of course there were a couple of nice finds below including a valleywag post:
I am fascinated by some of the images that I see all the time in advertisements and how those images appeal to all the advertisers in the same way. There is a lady that I constantly see in telco and wireless ads. I am going to try and hunt her down and post what I find. As you know it is kind of difficult to search for an image using keywords: I can already see the results I am going to get when I type “photograph of woman used in wireless ads”!
- The weird science of stock photography
This Slate article ended up in my feeds as it mentions my favourite stock photography girl (well lady now!): the Everywhere Girl. As most of you know (if you didn’t, now you do): I am fascinated by her travels in the online and print world. This reminds me that I need to use TinEye on a few of her images and see what I spot this time around. A couple of things caught my eye in :
“We had a bad day when Dolly was cloned,” says Denise Waggoner, vice president of creative research at Getty. “We hadn’t been studying biotechnology, and suddenly everyone wanted a shot of 25 sheep on a seamless white background. So now we try to keep our toes dipped in the water in lots of different fields, so we can be ready.”
And the fact that the list of most popular search terms for 2006, 2007 and the first half of 2008 all include: business, people, and woman. (Woman climbed from eighth to fifth to first).
As a rule of thumb, the lifespan of an image depicting contemporary fashions and technology is roughly four years. “That’s the maximum shelf life for, say, a woman walking down the street talking on a cell phone,” says Waggoner. “After that, she’s retro.” – unless of course she is the Everywhere Girl!
- Lawrence Lessig talks about Creative Commons and Copyright
In Goldstein’s podcast Lessig, founder of Creative Commons, discusses the purpose and objective of Creative Commons, his perspective on copyright law and addresses the question “How if at all the adoption of Creative Commons is hurting photographers”. He also shares more information about the recently announced CC+ license.
When asked about whether he feels that most people are up to speed on the rules of copyright law Lessig replied “Absolutely not. I mean, here is the fundamental design flaw of the copyright system. It was architected imagining that it would be implemented by about 150 lawyers around the United States who would be living in relatively large institutions and able to manage the intricacies of the system. And because of digital technologies this extremely arcane, complicated system of regulation now gets extended to everybody who wants to express themselves using creative work.”
As to why Lessig and his co-creators started Creative Commons? “When we saw this perfect storm on the horizon, we said we’ve got to build something that makes it possible to negotiate this mess that’s created by the conflict between the architecture of copyright law and the architecture of digital technologies.” he states.
Does he feel that CC is the only solution or the best solution? Says Lessig, “Id love it if the government tomorrow changed the law such that Creative Commons was no longer necessary” fantastic. But until the government does that, I think what CC is trying to do is to provide an infrastructure for that alternative to be built and the alternative, I think ultimately supports the project of copyright, it certainly doesn’t, given the alternatives, weaken it.”
If you are interested in hearing Lessig’s TED talk that Jim references in the podcast you can find it here.
In his TED talk, Lessig shares his very well-organized thoughts on user-generated content. His amusing beginning includes John Philip Sousa‘s 1906 statement of warning about the evil “talking machine” – the phonograph.
Sousa took his concerns all the way to the U.S. Capitol, concerned that the “talking machines” would so ruin the development of music and artistic talent because children would stop singing “the songs of the times and the old songs”. His most dire warning was that we would actually evolve away from speech, that “we will not have a vocal chord left” if the phonograph was allowed to take over and replace actual singing.
Lessig covers the idea of ‘trespassing’ and how we handled airplanes when they first began to fly the sky. It’s a great talk and you don’t want to miss the clips he uses to illustrate his points throughout.
- Frans Lanting at the Microsoft Photo Summit
Lanting’s Life Project entitled A Journey Through Time is a mammoth undertaking, a multimedia story of epic proportions. Lanting, quite possibly the greatest nature photographer of his time, traveled every part of the planet and made hundreds of images telling the story of life on earth from the very beginning.
In his words, “Nature’s my muse and it’s been my passion… I wanted to visualize the story of life. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted.”
To watch Lanting’s lyrical interpretation of life is to journey back in our own unconscious to the common collective memory of this planet’s history. The pure, emotional connection to his images made me shake my head in wonder and smile as I watched the story unfold. His brilliance is not just his incredible photography but in so perfectly developing the idea behind the collection and meshing the story with the instrumental music of Philip Glass to create an experience.
During his TED talk Lanting goes on to say “I hope it’s a story that has some resonance for our time. It’s a story about you and me.”
The Life Project includes a large-format book with over 175 images, a multimedia orchestral performance, a traveling photographic exhibition, and a dedicated educational website, LifeThroughTime.com. The Project is exhaustive, with online resources where you can learn about Life and follow his 6 year experience creating Life.
“So who are we?” he asks at the end of his talk. “Life is a force in its own right. It is a new element.”
- The Magic of TinEye
We love to hear from our community about their surprising TinEye experiences. When we read about Jeff Clow’s story in the Flickr forums the team here was just thrilled and I knew we had to share his TinEye story.
Jeff lives in Texas, is a training consultant and picked up photography over just the last three years. He is truly a die-hard digital photography fan with a passion for creating beautiful images.
Jeff’s Flickr profile notes “The best compliment I ever received about my photography came from Flickr. A visitor simply said ‘Boy, you can shoot.‘ Isn’t that what it is all about when you peel back all the layers? We ‘shoot’ and we are glad when someone likes how we do it…”
We feel the same way, Jeff. The great team here at the Idéeplex are putting their hearts (and long hours) into TinEye and are so excited to hear that our fans love TinEye too!
What are your thoughts on some of the challenges that photographers are facing today?
Jeff thinks that while image theft is a constant issue it is also something where most often “the juice is not worth the squeeze” as far as trying to pursue action against infringements, particularly outside of North America. The biggest challenge, he states, is simply finding out where your images are in use, legally or not. “For every photographer that has images online it has simply been impossible to know what happens to them once they are sold – until TinEye.”
He estimates that of the over 4000 images he has sold, he knows where only about a dozen have been used.
How do you typically find out where your images are being used?
“Either legal or illegal it’s almost impossible to know where your images are unless you stumbled upon one online by accident or someone you know and who knows your photography sees it and reports it back to you” he concludes. An infinitesimally small number can be found with a regular google text search – Jeff has over 300 images currently for sale and says it would take “forever” to try to find them, with little return.
How did you find out about TinEye?
TinEye was mentioned on one of the message boards on Flickr and Jeff’s initial reaction was skepticism but also curiosity. He said “I am so pleased and have already become a huge TinEye fan because the concept and the reality are the same – most often these things don’t actually work.” He sees Idée becoming the world leader in image search.
Tell me about the album cover story – what happened?
In Jeff’s first few TinEye searches he discovered that one of his licensed images was being used as an album cover!
He had been paid for the stunning photo of a horse in a field but didn’t know how or where the image was being used online or otherwise.
Jeff says that finding the image in use on the cover was “one of the highlights in my career”. Fantastic! He even bought a copy so he can use it as part of his portfolio.
What does it mean to find your images in use?
“Any photographer who’s worth his weight in film or photography would want to know where their images are used” says Jeff. “Most photographers take photos because they want to have someone validate that it’s a good photo – that’s the magic of Flickr and that’s the magic of TinEye.”
He goes on to say that TinEye is a way of validating that all his hard work is worth it, that others appreciate what he does. “Getting paid is great, but it doesn’t give you the same thrill of discovery as seeing your image in print, on a website, a book or album cover. You are creating a validation machine with TinEye – and validation is a huge part of life.”
As we wrapped up our talk Jeff mentioned that he can see in the near future a time when people say ‘what did we do before TinEye?’ We like the sound of that too, Jeff!
To request a TinEye invitation register online.
** All Images Copyright Jeff Clow
- Jim Goldstein interviews Leila Boujnane for EXIF and Beyond podcast
Catch our CEO talking all about the exciting features coming down the pipe for TinEye on EXIF and Beyond with Jim Goldstein. Jim is an independent photographer specializing in landscape, travel, nature and event photography. He also produces the informative and engaging EXIF and Beyond podcast and shares insights on photography and the photo industry on his blog.
TinEye has only been in a private beta for just over a month but it has “captured the attention and imagination of the photographic community” says Jim.
Have a listen to find out about the future direction of TinEye, our “groundbreaking image search engine”.
Download the episode:EXIF and Beyond: Leila Boujnane
For the non-iTune listeners: a streaming version of Jim’s podcast can be accessed here.
Don’t have a TinEye account yet? Head over and request an invite!
- Taking TinEye for a spin
Michael from macro art in nature takes TinEye for a spin and is impressed. His review and comments are pretty much in line with what we have been hearing these past weeks: TinEye is an awesome image-to-image search engine when it finds results! Well of course, of course! What would an image search engine be if it did not find results! As we mentioned our index is growing, our next larger index is about to be released (so hang on to your pants). This is just the beginning of our image search adventures.
What I liked about Michael’s comments are his butterfly findings – because yes…. drum roll… TinEye does find results. We keep seeing modifications and adaptations to images that are quite stunning and that shows “the amazing capability that [TinEye] has” in Michael’s words. All good news!
- The Future of Copyright
Cory Doctorow (Boing Boing) has a great little article in The Guardian titled “Copyright law should distinguish between commercial and cultural uses”. This is something that I have been thinking about for quite some time. Since we are in the business of tracking images and videos, fair use and copyright infringements are daily conversations at Idée (in a good way, we are idealists after all!). I have to say that I agree with Cory and it is high time we started thinking about a copyright overhaul. What we have had in the past is simply a set of copyright rules that apply to everyone “from Sony Pictures to your neighbour’s eight-year-old” but the world has changed and then came the Internet….
“We need to stop shoe-horning cultural use into the little carve-outs in copyright, such as fair dealing and fair use. Instead we need to establish a new copyright regime that reflects the age-old normative consensus about what’s fair and what isn’t at the small-scale, hand-to-hand end of copying, display, performance and adaptation.”
and there is a way for you to get involved and shape things.