Tag Archives: instagram

5 Excellent Image Sharing and Discovery Tools

22 Oct

Over the past few years of exploring art and developing my own creations through Instagram and smartphone apps like Hipstamatic and Dynamic Light, I’ve come to appreciate the merits of different websites for purposes of expression and curation. Here’s a look at my top 5.

On each of these sites I house some variation of images I make, and I also explore them daily for inspiration. Following is my take on what makes each special and how I get the most from them with their unique characteristics:

500px: The Premiere Gallery

Check me out on 500pxI use 500px.com exclusively to house all my photomontage art. It has the fastest, cleanest, and overall best display, where the focus is on the art with the community and everything else coming after that. There’s a simple mechanism for favoriting, liking and commenting if that’s what you’re into, but primarily the site is about experiencing the art, and there’s generally more refined content than other image-sharing websites. http://500px.com/rsmithing

Pinterest: Mass Consumption Imagery

Check me out on PinterestPinterest is where I tap into a huge image-appreciating community, sharing my montages and other creations that happen along the way on a board called “My Creations.” Not everything there is totally fleshed out, but it’s decent enough to be on display, and interesting enough to repin and share across other boards. lt’s more transient and fleeting than other venues, but feedback in the form of repins and likes helps keep me interested. Plus, I follow a ton of cool boards there along the likes of what I produce, so it’s great visual candy for when the mood to browse strikes, or if I just want to curate some dreamy images or other photomontageshttp://pinterest.com/rsmithing/my-creations

Instagram: Keeping Things Fun

Check me out on InstagramIt’s funny; Instagram is what got me started on this journey of creation and exploration, yet it’s not the ultimate destination for me that it once was. Don’t get me wrong; I find and enjoy many great creations there, but I don’t share my most refined stuff there. The site has so quickly become so saturated, complete with spam and terms of service issues, leading me to keep a certain kind of profile there, and that’s fine. I’ll occasionally post a fully completed photomontage, but I tend to keep it light and more experimental on Instagram. http://instagram.com/rsmithing

Flickr: The Mother Lode

Check me out on FlickrFor me, Flickr has truly evolved into a fantastic tool and a force to be reckoned with. My photostream there is a hodgepodge of montages, original source material, experiments, and a running log of stuff that may or may not fall into any of these categories or even see the light of day. I’ve had a Flickr account for many years, but have only recently delved into the full experience it offers – chiefly because it’s such an excellent tool to share Instagram images on Pinterest and other sites like Tumblr. Plus, you can’t beat its sets/galleries/collections organization, curated groups, favorites browsing and full-size resolution viewing options. http://flickr.com/rsmithing

Tumblr: A Curated Garden

Check me out on TumblrAnd finally, there’s Tumblr, the place where I highlight everything I like, pin and favorite on all these sites, mainly through automation and RSS feeds via ifttt.com, but also through the occasional upload and reblogging of something cool I come across there. It’s taken me a while to get into Tumblr, but I’ve found a ton of great stuff there and have managed to be featured at some cool Tumblr-based blogs like Lensblr and Minus Manhattan, which is always a great feeling, reaching folks with an interest in the kind of art I like to make. http://rsmithing.tumblr.com

What do you think? Do you employ different websites along the same reasons but for different executions? Are you on any image sharing websites? Have you heard of these already, and what’s your experience been like on them? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Finally, I’m Understanding Tumblr

6 Aug

tumblr-logo

For the longest time, I’d been baffled by Tumblr. I didn’t understand how it worked, or its popularity. Now, I’m getting it.

What’s in your Tumblr? And what is that, anyway? Obviously we get blogging and social media, but Tumblr — while interesting — has never held my interest for very long until lately. I only started posting to the site when I started using Instagram because it’s easy to post to Tumblr while uploading to Instagram — basically, checking a box. I reasoned having something at Tumblr just in case I wanted to pursue it one day made sense.

Behold, my awesome Tumblr site over at http://rsmithing.tumblr.com

Behold, my awesome Tumblr site over at http://rsmithing.tumblr.com

Then, I discovered Pinterest, and have come to love that site for all the art I discover there, much like Flickr, 500px, iPhoneArt.com and several others. I kept on noticing a ton of images there via Tumblr, so that piqued my interest even further. And now I’m using Tumblr as a collect-all for my activity on these and other sites. The best part is, it happens with no extra effort on my part.

I’m using these automated actions through If this Then That (more on this later) to add content to my Tumblr whenever I like a photo on Instagram, Flickr, 500px, or create one myself, as well as other things like Pandora, Last.fm or Pinterest activity — stuff I’m already doing anyway for my own entertainment.

It’s nice to see all these things I like and ponder them in a different context in one place — where I’ve even customized my experience by modifying the html of a stock theme, and building in commenting functionality via Disqus. I’m also checking out who likes what I post, exploring to find content there that can re-blog right on my own Tumblr site. And so the cycle continues.

For me, Tumblr is another flavor of art discovery and expression through curation, which is what I enjoy so much about the aforementioned sites. I don’t think I can have too much of that in my life, and Tumblr makes a nice addition.

SNL’s “Drunk Uncle” on Tumblr, via special guest, Peter Drunklage (at about :45)

What do you think? Are you on Tumblr? How do you use the site? How did you to figure it out? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Christie’s CEO Justifies Social Media in 5 Seconds

17 Jul

In an interview with Marketplace, The CEO of auction house, Christie’s, Steven Murphy, put forth one of the best justifications for businesses getting on social media there is. It stood out to me for its utter salience and logic. Here is the exchange:

Marketplace: Christie’s on Twitter? I think the world just exploded.

Murphy: Yes. Well, why not? Our customers are on Twitter. We should be too. Our clients are spending 60 percent of each day online with some screen, so we need to be there too.

Jerry Uelsmann, Untitled, 1969

Who says montages aeren’t profitable? Here’s one offered by Christie’s from my all-time favorite artist, Jerry Uelsmann

Simple as that.

On the surface, a company founded in 1766 wouldn’t seem to be the case study for social media, but if that’s where your customers are — well, that’s a pretty good justification.

Christie’s is also on Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook, among others. I think these highly visual networks are the perfect showcase for the treasures coming through Christie’s that much of the public may never have the chance to lay eyes upon. Check out their profiles for a look at some highly compelling art.

Going once, going twice….

What do you think? Do you know of other companies making strong use of social that might not “fit the mold” on the surface? Ever purchased anything at auction (besides eBay)? Let us hear from you in the comments.

I’m Artist of the Day at iPhoneArt.com!

2 May

What an honor! The good folks at iPhoneArt.com feature me on the home page today:

iPhoneArt.com rsmithing

My art over at iPhoneArt.com

By the nature of the site’s name, you can probably guess what the site is about, and this is the second time I’ve been featured there, the first being in early 2012. My style has evolved greatly since then, becoming more refined in photomontage, and it’s wonderful to be noticed, especially among the ranks of so many other talented artists. This really makes my day.

I’ve written about iPhoneArt.com before as an alternative to Instagram, and the site continuously impresses me with all the compelling creative work shown there. And I’m not just saying that because they featured me, either. Definitely check it out and be amazed by what can be created with just a phone, some apps and creativity.

Big thanks to iPhoneArt.com for the feature!

What do you think? Have you been featured at a website before? Are you into Instagram or mobile photography? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Stylized Instamatic 104

24 Jan
Stylized Instamatic 104 by rsmithing
Stylized Instamatic 104, a photo by rsmithing on Flickr.

I dig the convergence of technology and time here in one brief second, now extended to the world and infinity. Here’s a snapshot of one of our modern photographic ancestors I modified with the amazing ToonPaint iPhone app, after shooting with Hipstamtic (a modern-retro simulator, no less). I found the camera at a sweet vintage shop called “Ideas” on Burke Street, Winston-Salem, NC. Original here.

What do you think? Do you see a connection between analog cameras and today’s mobile photography? What apps or camera discoveries have you made lately? Let us hear from you in the comments.

What Smartphone Apps Have Changed Your Life?

10 Jan

Has the way you live evovled by way of a smartphone app? What’s a non-standard add-on (besides maps, texting, etc.) that’s changed – hopefully for the better – the way you conduct daily life? Not necessarily saying they’re the very best, here are my immediate top three:

Instagram App1. Instagram

This app has literally changed the way I see the world and connected me with people from all over the globe through a very user-friendly interface, turning ordinary snapshots into art with the barest minimum of effort. I now see the world through “Instagram Eyes” and have gotten so much from what it offers Although the recent spam influx and terms of service update now have me exploring elsewhere, there’s no denying Instagram’s impact.

Dragon Dictation2. Dragon Dictation

This app listens to what you say and turns it into text. It’s like magic. It’s fast, intuitive, and lets you easily email, MMS, or copy and paste what you say. I’ve used it for years to handle texting and  composing blog posts, and it accurately gets the job done every single time. It’s been life-changing by by bringing my phone new functionality with incredible convenience and capability. Now that speech-to-text is built into the iPhone, I’ve been using Dragon less, but they were the ones to get it right first.

Pandora3. Pandora

This is the mobile version of the already robust website, but I mention it here because of how it’s impacted my enjoyment of music. Pandora is streaming radio where you create stations based on artists, songs or themes. It serves up related music, and gets better over time as you thumbs-up or thumbs-down what plays. I couldn’t begin tell you how much great music I’ve discovered this way. It’s a simple premise: “if you like this, then you might also like this” — and Pandora’s highly personalized  approach wins the day for me, even though I also enjoy similar services like 8Tracks. Even TheStreet.com says Pandora has “rendered terrestrial radio, on a grand scale, obsolete.” Consider how long radio has been in our lives as you consider that statement.

What do you think? What apps have made a difference in the way you do things? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Trade Street and Tree

16 Dec
Trade Street And Tree

Trade St. & Tree | See full size at 500px | Originals at Flickr

I’ve been meaning to document this doorway for a while. I ride by it at least a few dozen times every month. So it only felt right to work it into a montage. I snapped an image of it using Hipstamatic one day while waiting at a traffic light. Later, I realized it would be more interesting with the door part obscured and replaced with an image of a tree. I snapped the tree photo in the moment, especially for this image. But it still needed at least one more element, so I browsed through my repository of unfettered originals from here and there, and found the perfect complement in this outdoor light from a bar, Single Brothers, a few blocks up from where the door exists.

Trade Street and Tree

Originals at Flickr

So, I mix all this together in Photoforge2 with masks, a border, varying levels of curves/levels/clarification adjustments, and here we are: an image to accurately represent my creative vision that also represents a part of my city. There’s even more of Winston-Salem, on Instagram, courtesy the good folks at Airtype and their Winstagram project.

What do you think? Ever seen any interesting doorways in your city? What would you create in a photomontage? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Flickr to Instagram: It’s ON!

12 Dec

I just had my first whirl with the new Flickr mobile app. And… woah. It’s good. I mean really good.

The New Flickr App for iPhone

Flickr’s New App. Shown here with the “Mammoth” filter. Look out, Instagram

The new Flickr app for iPhone sports filters, easy browsing, a nice uploading interface… all on top of Flickr’s superb online Pinterest & Twitter integration. Overall, I must say it looks like Instagram got Flickr to step up its game. To that I say, well-played, Flickr. Well-played indeed.

Instagram in the crosshairsOperation: Target Instagram

If Instagram feels like it’s in the crosshairs, it’s with good reason. I had long been a fan of Flickr for general storage, but gravitated toward Instagram for the image discovery & immediacy of sharing. I have a feeling that’s going to change. And not just for me — I know more than a few folks who have been less than pleased with and seeking alternatives to Instagram lately thanks to spam or yanking its previews from Twitter.

This is not to say it’s perfect. It’s still not as snappy as Instagram, since applying filters and edits takes a bit longer — but you can do meaningful edits right from within the app like adding text, brightness/contrast, and basic retouching. You have to use a separate 3rd party app at present to do any of that for an Instagram upload. Conversely, features like the ability to tag people in photos, browse your favorite groups, and do batch uploads (thanks, Emily @_@) were already baked into Flickr. Having these tools now in the mobile app — along with just basic functionality like being able to zoom in — makes Flickr’s app superior to Instagram on a number of noticeably important fronts.

Given the massive leap forward of this latest edition, I’m optimistic that things will only improve further for Flickr going forward. Here’s a closer look with video of the new app from Flickr’s blog:

 
What do you think? Are you a fan of Instagram or other online photo networks? What’s your experience with Flickr been like? Let us hear from you in the comments.

If you like this, share it on Twitter (and thanks).

Instagram Spam Protest: “Go Private Day” December 4, 2012

4 Dec

Instagram spam has been exploding, with no stop in sight. Formerly attractive hashtag photo groups are now becoming polluted with ads for more followers and get-rich-quick schemes: Instagram Spam

Hashtag: #OneDayWithoutSpam

Users have become increasingly annoyed at the situation, organizing an informal “instaprotest” by setting their profiles to private on December 4 and using the hashtag “#OneDayWithoutSpam” in related posts.

Instagram Spam

What do you think? Will a protest make a difference? Have you noticed more spam on Instagram? Could this affect Facebook’s stock price? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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