You’ve Been Served

You’ve Been Served
Originally uploaded by Daniel Greene.

For some, this is an eviction notice.

One thing I’m beginning to realize I need to work on is taking photos with iconicity, photos that are clearly pictures of something. I think if people can’t tell what a photo is of from a one-inch-square thumbnail (as shown on Flickr in a person’s photostream ribbon or in the “Photos from your Contacts” and/or “Everyone’s Photos” strips on the Flickr home page), then they won’t click and view the image.

And yet there are photos worth looking at that don’t look like anything in a 72×72 pixel thumbnail. Or are there? Perhaps the test of a good photo is its iconicity, or its ability to convey a compelling message even in a one-inch-square icon. If that is true, then my challenge is to tell stories like this one is a more photogenic way. Perhaps if I had squatted down and taken the photo from an angle looking across the Official Notice from the bottom-right corner to the Tickle Me Elmo doll in the upper-left corner? Maybe that would have been a more visually compelling and easy-to-read ironic juxtaposition. To borrow a stage term, this image just doesn’t “read” from the “back of the house.” Just as one wants a “stage picture” to be dramatic even when seen from the last row of the audience, a photo should be compelling even when viewed in a one-inch-square thumbnail.

Am I wrong? What do you think?






One response to “You’ve Been Served”

  1. Mike Avatar

    Yes & No.

    For the internet and sites like Flickr it is very important for a photograph to have good iconability. However – good iconability does not a good photograph make. It’s all about context. A fabulous photograph that is printed, framed, and hanging in your dinning room could be breathtaking… but if you scanned it, scaled it, and iconed it… it’s just a blob.

    It’s all relative 😉


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