Thursday, August 4, 2011

Street Photography Now – According To Flickr.

Is voyeuristic! No. Honestly. It’s a long time since I last blogged and as you can see this is not about astrology, it’s miscellaneous.

My second love after astrology is photography, it’s a recently acquired hobby in relation to astrology but it’s grabbed me. A friend persuaded me to join Flickr and I soon discovered that there is a wonderful group of people there. Indeed I have made many friends there.

For just over a year now I have become fascinated with the genre of street photography and recently enjoyed the exhibitions put on by the London Street Festival Organization.

It's an addictive pastime and indeed I have friends and contacts at Flickr who also class themselves as street photographers – one of whom recently had his account deleted by Flickr with no warning whatsoever, there one minute and gone the next! I found this extremely worrying as in many ways our street photography was of a similar style. The only way he could get support was to re-join under a different name (this in itself is bad practice, why is there no support email address at Flickr?)

It’s taken my friend 4 days, countless emails and numerous posts on the help forum in order to get an answer to the one question he asked “why?”

Finally it seems he got an answer, his photos are deemed ‘voyeuristic’ by Flickr? Hang on….? He’s a street photographer and so am I? Does that make me a voyeur too? Does this mean that the British Library who hosted one of the London Street festival’s exhibitions encourage voyeurism?

It appears he broke the community guideline that states

“Don’t be creepy.
You know the guy. Don't be that guy.”

Now if that isn’t a vague guideline I don’t know what is, who at Flickr (and its parent company Yahoo) defines creepy? – but on the strength of that Flickr can do the following

Flickr expressly reserves the right to immediately modify, delete content from, suspend or terminate your account and refuse current or future use of any Yahoo! service, including Flickr pro, if Flickr, in its sole discretion believes you have: (i) violated or tried to violate the rights of others; or (ii) acted inconsistently with the spirit or letter of the TOS, the Community Guidelines or these Additional Terms. In such event, your Flickr pro account may be suspended or cancelled immediately in our discretion, all the information and content contained within it deleted permanently and you will not be entitled to any refund of any of the amounts you've paid for such account. Flickr accepts no liability for information or content that is deleted.

So the photo uploading site, used by many professionals and used by the BBC and the American Government amongst others can just delete your account, with no warning and no reason given  whether you are a paid member or not. I’m sorry Flickr this is entirely unacceptable behaviour by you. In fact I find that creepier than any street photographer’s photo stream.

Oh and please don’t think this is an isolated case, here are a few more:
Yahoo 'censored' Flickr comments 
Flickr Accidentally Deletes a User’s 3,400 Photos
What Would Happen If Your Pro Flickr Account Was Deleted?

 One final note: It seems that you can post all sorts of pornographic images to Flickr without being considered creepy (and there is a hell of a lot of  it there) yet street photography images are considered creepy and voyeuristic!

I will be uploading my last ever picture to Flickr soon, it will be a street candid so no doubt will be considered voyeuristic. I'll miss all my contacts, (whom I want to thank here and now for their support, comments and encouragement)  but never again will Flickr have a penny of my money or a moment of my time.

Meanwhile my photos will continue here for the time being whilst I look into other alternatives:


Penne Pillswigger said...

A good account of something that really needs to be stopped in it's tracks. Next they'll be banning pictures for being voyeristic, I think the Mona Lisa and the Scream's days are numbered!

Am going to leave Flickr myself, if said photographer's account is not reinstated.

Chris said...

Since I do street photography myself, I'm kind of worried about it. I will keep on eye on flickrs strategy and if they intensify this, I will consider closing my account too.

LilyWren said...

It does make you think, there is a need for a better alternative to Flickr...

sas said...

@ Penne It looks as if said photographer is not going to be re-instated.

@ Chris I now think Flickr staff have no real idea as to what Street photography is. Nor do they know how to treat paying customers.

@ Lily it's just a matter of finding an alternative, I'm trying various things out. I'll keep you all posted.

Kitty said...

Flickr need to do some serious housekeeping. It wasn't until I'd been there for quite some time that I realised how much porn is there. Quite explicit, voyeuristic porn!

There was nothing wrong with Funk's stream. I take some street shots myself, and would like to take even more. He has been treated very badly indeed. :(

Good blog post, hun. :) x

sas said...

Thanks Kitty, I too have seen the porn on Flickr - yet it seems that's Ok as long as you mark it as adult. Some of it is creepy beyond belief.

Anonymous said...

hey sas, its ange_blogaholic from flickr, oh my god i didnt realise you had left, the reason is awful, you are having fun why do these sites have to be so bloody tight its nuts anyway i was thinking of you today and i hope you see this in time but the tour of britain cycle race is coming to bury st edmunds so here is a link to when and where if you wnat to go take some photographs

ange x miss your fun photos of everyday life

sas said...

So sorry Ange, I completely missed the fact that a comment was awaiting moderation. I'm still uploading photos just not at Flickr. Currently I upload to Picasa, 500px and my own website. I also have another photo Blog here with links to the other upload sites.