Update: Smugmug.com has just had a major redesign. So Part II might follow.
I used to do a lot more photography – purposeful photography intended to leverage technical capabilities of the cameras, film, scanners, computers, and tripods in order to create meaningful images. Needless to say I was not very good at that. But – thanks to the internet, I could post these images on various photo forums and critique sites. I truly believed at the time that the reason – the ONLY reason – I posted these photos was to receive constructive criticism from my betters so that I, in turn would get better and bestow my true vision on the public.
That did not really happen.
Looking back it seems obvious that really I was simply looking for people to look at my pictures and preferably to like them. This suspicious was confirmed when
(1) I was compulsively checking the number of views and comments on my posted photos
(2) I was running against the limits of pictures I can post in a day and
(3) I kept seeing the same people move from site to site, reposting their portfolio to the adulation of new fans.
Facebook, and Google+ turn out to be much better for people to post pictures. There is the “like” button right there and your friends and family like any pictures you post that does not make them look bad. Seriously – you know you have liked a picture of a foot-long Subway sandwich someone posted and you definitely liked a picture of your friend’s cat even though secretly you hate cats (DOGS RULE)
There is silver-lining though. A few of the photo critique sites are still going strong. Free now from people who simply want their pictures to be liked they can cater to their inner core of camera geeks and their hanger-ons. What does not kill you – makes you stronger.