Great-Googly-Moogly It's Nanook

 

Yup, I'm the moron dressed as Nanook wandering around in the ice cave. For whatever reason I love places like this - the more remote the better. The opportunity to experience places like this in the Midwestern United States was limited, so I dropped my entire life and sold my business so I could live in The Southwest. The desolate beauty of the desert, especially in the more remote red rock regions of Southern Utah, is my favorite stomping ground. While I try to improve as a photographer, I still consider myself much more of a nature lover than photographer. I spend a tremendous amount of time wandering the wilderness of the Southwest in search of beauty and solitude. I try to capture the beauty of these places with my camera but any good results are far more a function of the subject matter than my expertise as a photographer. These natural areas are my church - I am at my best when I'm out there.

_________________________________________________________________________________

  

WARNING: DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU DON’T HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR - ESPECIALLY IF ARE UNABLE TO LAUGH AT YOUR OWN STUPIDITY. THE FOLLOWING RANT IS DIRECTED AT THE BEHAVIOR OF THE PEOPLE THAT MAKE UP THE FLICKR COMMUNITY, INCLUDING MYSELF. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS RANT ARE EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE VIEWS OF “NOT ANSEL, INC.” (THERE’S REALLY NO SUCH THING) AND I TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CONTENT OF SAID VIEWS.

 

OK, I’ve been doing this flickr thing for a couple of months now and I think it’s time I filled this page. I’m kind of a slow learner and it’s taken me this long to learn the ropes and figure out what’s what. Instead of using this space to tell you about me, I have chosen to use it to write a commentary about flickr and “flickr-ites”. When you’re done reading this you’ll know everything you need to know about me anyway - which is that I’m a complete smart-ass, that my habit of saying exactly what I mean gets me in trouble sometimes and that I’m amusing as hell (or not).

 

(Sorry if you find the language offensive, but that’s the way I talk and besides you’ll hear worse on HBO. I promise I won‘t use any of the really juicy words.)

 

My first observation is that flickr seems to be extremely addictive. I spend way too much time on here and I see a lot of people who seem to be spending at least as much. I have no clue why I would become obsessed with posting and looking at photographs on a computer - it seems a little odd. Maybe there should be a flickr anonymous group for people such as myself who just seem to end up on flickr everyday. I’ll be the first member. OK, now we’ll move on to the real purpose of this editorial.

 

First the positive. For the most part flickr is a great idea and a really cool site with really friendly people. The overall vibe is really laid back and complimentary. People are just having fun and not taking the whole thing or themselves too seriously. I sincerely thank everyone who has encouraged me and made constructive comments on my pix. I’ve met (if talking to someone on a computer can be called meeting) what seem to be some great people on flickr and I’d love to go out for a shoot, or better yet a shot, with a lot of you. I’ve learned a huge amount from viewing other people’s stuff, some of which absolutely blows me away and makes me feel like my pictures are like stick figure drawings. I’ve also learned to appreciate more of the art of photography - as opposed to just recording beautiful natural scenes - through seeing what you all have done. When I comment on someone else‘s work I try to say something specific that I like and this has helped my photography in that it makes me think about what I like (or don’t like) about a picture. I have absolutely no training when it comes to photography, nor do I have fancy photographic equipment. What I have is an unmatched love for the natural world and a willingness to go to places that most people would not take the time, trouble or risk to go to. Because of this I never was sure that any of my pictures were any good, so I want to thank everyone for their kind comments - I’ve always liked my stuff but it’s nice to know that others appreciate it too.

 

Now the negative. First of all, what’s with the little group icon thingies? When I first joined flickr I really wanted feedback, but I soon discovered that most groups are just dumping grounds for pix. No one in these groups (hardly anyone) takes the time to look at other peoples stuff - so I joined groups that forced comments. I’d post a picture and comment on three, or whatever I was supposed to do and figured that I’d get some constructive comments in return. WRONG!!! Attaching an icon to my picture that says “seen in Cornelius’ #$%#&’ed up world of really incredibly awesome, amazing, captivating, b&w, Arctic safari pics” isn’t constructive! What it says to me is: “I can’t post my picture unless I comment on something, so I’ll stick this icon thingy on your picture and get on with my life”. If you’re going to do that can you at least give me a “favorite” too ‘cause we all know that the picture with the most favorites wins $1,000,000. There’s actually a photo in my stream that received 17 comments in a row that just said “Seen in ____”, with no written comment!!! In light of this “icon thingy” phenomenon, I will now give a short tutorial for those who don’t know how to offer constructive criticism.

 

There are a few things in a photo that might make it appealing to your sense of sight. They are: composition (the part of the scene the photographer has chosen to include in his/her picture), color, tone, light, contrast, atmosphere or even educational value. I’m sure there are more, but that’s all I can think of after three mixed drinks. So, when you attach your comment say “Nice picture, I really like the _________” - then attach the icon thingy that says “seen in the best @^&*(#$ photography gallery in the whole #&*$% world - post one, comment on 347,655”!!!! As I said before, if you take five seconds to think about what it is you like about a particular picture it will make you a better photographer. Or maybe I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about (I usually don’t).

 

I guess you don’t need to do this on every picture you comment on - every once in a while you could just bust out a “Oh My God - this is an art masterpiece, I would gladly give you $1000 for a print of this”. Or if you think that’s a bit much you could say something like “What a beautiful place, I'd love to see it in person someday.” But don’t just stick an icon on the picture - your basically just putting a billboard advertising that particular group on my picture, and I don’t want the comments pages in my photo stream to look like the shoulder of an interstate near an exit ramp. To be honest, I’d rather you said “This photograph sucks - try focusing before you snap the picture you moron” than just stuck an icon on it.

 

Seriously folks, did we join flickr to meet other people who share our interest in photography and learn about our chosen hobby or is it just a competition to see how many comments/favs we can get? I have to admit I got caught up in that crap for a while, but I refuse to let my participation on flickr become a competitive quest to see what statistics I can compile on my photos. I must say that this does seem to be a huge deal to a lot of “flickr-ites” . If it’s not important then why do most groups need to TELL people not to re-post pictures? To be honest, the thought of re-posting a picture to get more comments hadn’t even occurred to me. If it’s not important then how can you explain the existence of groups like: “photos with 500+ views”, “”photos with 100+comments”, or “photos of purple toads with 1487 favorites and less than 20 views” (I made that last one up, but not the first two). If people don’t care about this then why do I sometimes see sets arranged according to how many favorites each picture has received instead of by some real, physical feature that the photos have in common? Even more to the point, how do you explain the existence of “EXPLORE”?!?!

 

What the hell is Explore anyway? Does anyone actually understand “interestingness”? I know I don’t, and I don’t want to. I doubt any of my photos have ever made Explore, but if they have I wouldn’t know. And why is it so good to be “explored”. I got explored a couple of weeks ago when my doctor gave me a physical and let me tell you, it was not a pleasant experience. And if everyone else feels the way I do about Explore then why do so many people have a set in their photos for “Explored”? It seems so elitist, almost like being a member of the most expensive country club and then shoving the fact that you’re a member in other people’s faces. I’m sure some of you (if anyone is actually still reading this) are thinking “he’s just jealous”. You’re right, my ambition in life is to be as America was to Columbus, like the straits were to Magellan - EXPLORED!!! Even if there isn’t a human being on the face of the earth that could possibly explain what it means.

 

OK my rant is over now and I feel better. I want to say that many of my contacts don’t seem to be caught up in this stuff and have been nothing but nice to me and are very helpful with their constructive comments. And I’m not saying that anyone who has an “Explored” set on their page is a bad person. It’s just that for me the whole photography/flickr thing is an outlet to get away from the competitive world of the “rat race” and I don’t think flickr should be more of the same. I hope I haven’t offended anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings - I’m just trying to make light of some of the strange stuff I’ve observed since joining. OK, not JUST trying to make light, it does kind of drive me crazy - but I was kind of crazy before I joined flickr. Besides, as I said before, I usually don’t know what I’m talking about anyway.

 

So what I guess I’m saying is that in the future I’ll be spending more time going through my contacts photos and less time posting and commenting in big groups. I’ll still do some of the group thing, it actually does serve a couple of purposes. For one I can add new contacts whose photos I have seen as I go through the groups and continue to learn by seeing what other people are doing. I also can use the groups as a barometer to measure how interested people are in a particular picture. I am trying to do more public showings of my work (don’t worry, I’m not quitting my day job - or at least I won’t quit it if I ever do get one) and it’s useful to see if a large group of people like something so I know what to use in the shows. I just won’t count on anyone explaining WHY they like (or hate) the picture.

 

One last thing, for anyone who’s still reading this diatribe. I’ve been dabbling in this idea of doing a photography coffee table book/guidebook/rantings of a lunatic book. It’s based on my travels, my pictures and my warped mind. Actually more than dabbling, I’ve started it. So now that you’ve gotten a taste of my writing and my photography - do you think I should proceed? If you answer that question, remember to be constructive.

Read more
  • JoinedNovember 2007
  • OccupationProfessional Slacker
  • HometownAll around Illinois
  • Current cityFlagstaff, AZ
  • CountryUSA
View all

Photos of Rick Goldwaser

Testimonials

Write a testimonial
Bailey S. says:

He's not ansel, but dare I say he's just as good, if not superior? His use of color, lighting, depth, near-far, the places he shows the world....absolutely gorgeous. I'm consistently amazed at the photos in this stream.

January 16, 2009

Rick is a huge sourcer of information of all things South-West, and a lot of fun to hang out with as well...if you need to find a certain rock, with a certain shape, and a certain lighting...he knows where it is and can take you there...he's also a hell of a 4x4 driver...his photography is always good and always he's t… Read more

Rick is a huge sourcer of information of all things South-West, and a lot of fun to hang out with as well...if you need to find a certain rock, with a certain shape, and a certain lighting...he knows where it is and can take you there...he's also a hell of a 4x4 driver...his photography is always good and always he's trying to find the new and interesting way to see the subject....but only 4 or 5 people see what he sees...and that's beause he shows them where it is. I always look forward to seeing where Rick heads next.

Read less
April 28, 2008

Rick has only been living in the Southwest for a few years, but you wouldn't know it given his wonderful collection of photos of the Southwest. I can't speak for him, but the spirit of red rock country seems to flow deep within his soul and manifests in the form of wonderful imagery,

April 22, 2008

Ansel is one of the most consistently great photographers I have come across on Flickr. First, as a newbe to Arizona, I just love his subject matter, SWern landscapes; but beyond that he does such a fabulous job of capturing a scene. I know it would make me feel better if i knew he deleted 100 terrible shots before h… Read more

Ansel is one of the most consistently great photographers I have come across on Flickr. First, as a newbe to Arizona, I just love his subject matter, SWern landscapes; but beyond that he does such a fabulous job of capturing a scene. I know it would make me feel better if i knew he deleted 100 terrible shots before he got to the ones he posts, but I know that is not the case. Tomorrow I am off to Sedona. I hope I come back with some photos that are half as good as the ones that Ansel posts. Ansel Adams would be proud if Non Anel was Ansel. Doug

Read less
April 4, 2008

Before moving here to Arizona, I thought the only colors I would ponder would be brown, tan and dirt color, but Rick has taken me visually to places I keep dropping my jaw over. His use of color, framing and style are likely "Better than Ansel". Look and see.

March 25, 2008