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Yeah, but the view is spectacular
In the last week, the Blue Angels — a team of Navy performance pilots — have been zooming across the skies over San Francisco. The blogger Nivi decided he was going to pull out his digital camera and take some pictures of them for his friend Christa Favot.
The idea if you wait long enough, someone will implement that wacky idea you had… (or already has!) Alternately, that if your blog or other publishing outlet has enough readers, a reader will know and provide the answer to a question you are too lazy to research yourself.
Nivi defines LazyPhoto as:
The idea that you don’t need to take photographs anymore because someone will take the picture for you and put it on flickr.
I love it. I’ve often suspected that Flickr could easily morph into a photo-database that puts Corbis — and other commercial photo-providing services — to shame. After all, the whole reason commercial photo-provisioning services exist is that photography has traditionally been a highly skilled trade. But digital cameras are rapidly deskilling it, the way that Microsoft Word deskilled word-processing (a “profession” back in the early 80s that people took college-level courses to master), and the way that audio apps like GarageBand are deskilling music production. Since Flickr, which has no barriers to entry, is thus growing many times faster than Corbis is, what would happen if Yahoo made it possible for people to sell the rights to their digital photos for a cheap micropayment? You’d have an enormous, sprawling database of cheap photos of virtually anything on earth. (Indeed, many Flickr users already allow liberal use of their photos under Creative Commons licenses.)
You could even pursue a Google Answers mode: Post a request for a particular type of photo, and buy rights to the best first one taken and posted to Flickr. Of course, this model would be open to all manner of abuse and unintended consequences. But the fact remains, as Nivi pointed out, that Flickr’s growth changes the stakes of modern picture-taking: If you can think of it, it’s probably already been photographed.
(Thanks to Nivi for this one!)
I'm Clive Thompson, a writer on science, technology, and culture. This blog collects bits of offbeat research I'm running into, and musings thereon.
Currently, I'm a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. I also write for Fast Company and Wired magazine's web site, among other places. Email or AOL IM me (pomeranian99) to say hi or send in something strange!
May 20, 2011 » 02:28 PM
From Christopher Kennedy’s very droll book “Neitzsche’s Horse”.
July 28, 2010 » 07:35 AM
“Wr” - S
July 06, 2010 » 10:05 AM
My Xbox broke, and I was trying to Google some possible technical solutions, when I noticed that Google appears to be encouraging me to make a typo. I suppose it’s possible that Google’s algorithms know that typing “wont” instead of “won’t” would produce better results.
June 29, 2010 » 05:00 PM
On the other hand, when I tried the test for multitasking, I was pretty abysmal. I performed worse than people who identify themselves as heavy multitaskers, and those who identify as low multitaskers.
June 29, 2010 » 04:58 PM
I finally got around to trying out the interactive “test your distractability and multitasking” page at the New York Times, which they put up alongside their story earlier this month about how computer distractions are eroding our lives.
According to the test, I guess I have good focus — I’m not very distractable!
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