Tag Archives: social

Museums Get Tough on the Selfie Stick

Walking through museums behind young children scares me. Weird huh? Well, young children have young minds. Those minds have not quite matured enough to figure out that running into the 3000 year old vase swinging your toy is not a good idea.

Children usually lack that bit of common sense and need an adult to guide them through this experimental period of their lives. My years as an educator have taught me that sometimes this common sense passes on to the next generation and sometimes it doesn’t.

In the prehistoric world very few people lived to see 30 years old. Why? Because back then, without medicine and technology, one grand act of stupidity took them out of the human breeding population for good.

But, we’ve moved on. We invented. We, as a species, overcame the chance that doing a stupid thing results in your untimely death. There are no more Wooly Rhinoceroses to play cow tipping with.

Likewise, we now have rules of no running in the museum. Museums hired guards to patrol the art galleries to enforce this rule. Calmness and serenity should descend in the art museum. Unfortunately, human ingenuity is known for creating both chaos and order.

Enter the latest act of social silliness, the selfie stick. According to Molly Shilo of the Observer the MoMA is the latest in a long string of museums including the Frick and the Guggenheim that have seen the potential danger in our latest social craze. In response, they have all outlawed the use of selfie sticks in the museum.

No more can the young carefree mind swing a selfie stick around and carelessly carve up a Caravaggio. No one will accidentally poke a Pollock. That 3,000-year-old vase of the sheer genius and artistic style of a civilization long dead is still viewable to everyone.

In the end, this is a good thing. It’s a sign that the museums are responding to popular outside trends and are trying to save both the world of art history and the youth of today.  It saves the art world from unmitigated disaster and any youths from making a stupid life-changing mistake in the name of a selfie.

The young student of the arts may not understand what the big deal is. They may even rebel at the idea of not being allowed to have this fun. I wish to encourage a sense of patience to these future protectors of human ingenuity. Your selfie is not worth it.

In order to explain this concept, one must understand  that while we have a better chance of surviving the consequences of our actions. If you mutilate a $41.1 million Matisse with your selfie stick you may wish you didn’t survive.   Your allowance sure won’t.

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Why I Don’t Worry about Posting Pictures on Social Media.

As the owner of an art business, or for that matter just being an artist, I depend upon the selling of my work to make a living. But as I stated last week, that leaves me with a dilemma. In order to sell my art, I want my art seen by as many people as possible. Some artists refer to this as placing “eyes on canvas”. The logic is simple, the more people who see and enjoy my work, the more likely some one will purchase it.

Therefore, the most logical thing for me to do is to place my work in a location where the greatest number of people can see it all day every day.  For this purpose there are few places where this goal is reachable other than on the Internet. But just placing a web page up in the Internet cloud is not enough.   No one will visit your slice of the net if no one knows you are there. So, you need to go where the people are. The place for this exposure would surely be social media.

But, as we mentioned earlier, uploading to a place like Facebook is fraught with dangers. By uploading my work to their site I’m giving them permission to use my pictures for both data mining purposes and for possible advertisement usage. Now, that would give me plenty of exposure, but it does not place food in my stomach or clothes on my back and trust me, no one wants to see me without clothes.

Why then would I endanger my business by placing a picture on Facebook for the world to see if they can do this to me? The answer lies in the technology I use to make the pictures I place on the web.

I have to make each picture web ready. When I take a picture the size of the actual picture is usually somewhere near the 4272 × 2848 range.   This is a good-sized picture and you could format it to be useable in just about any product from a small wallet sized print all the way to a large 30”x30” poster without too much hassle.

I could put this raw file on social media, but then I leave a very tempting target for someone to misuse my picture. So, I want to make a picture that is too difficult for someone to misuse and yet good enough for my potential clients to enjoy, purchase, and brag about.

The first thing I do to a picture is add a watermark. Not a huge lumbering thing across the length of the picture, but something small and out-of-the-way. It simply advertises whom I am, and that the picture is mine.  It’s necessary that it does this without distraction, so I always put it in the corner of the picture.

The second thing is that I cut the picture’s physical size to no larger than 1024×1024. This produces a picture that allows you to use it on the web with no major drawbacks. The picture fits nicely on most monitor screens and is big enough to show all the necessary details a customer would ever want to see. But, if a less than honest person tries to increase the size they would quickly run into difficulty with pixilation, thus making the picture unusable.

Third and finally, I severely cut the DPI (Dots Per Inch). DPI is the lifeblood of printing pictures from a computer file. Basically, the larger the number of DPI the bigger and higher quality of print is available.  Inversely, quality prints cannot come from files with a low DPI. So, by reducing the dots per inch ratio from the usual standard of 300dpi or more to a mere 72dpi or less I can guarantee that the best anyone at a social media company could print would be at best a 4″x6″ copy of the picture.

Could Facebook or any other social media company still use my work?  It’s possible,  like any protection, there are weak points that would allow the unwanted use of my art. It’s a risk I must take so I produce the exposure that will guarantee my business’s success. But, by adding a watermark, physically making a copy of the picture smaller, and reducing each picture’s ability to produce any quality prints, I produce a major deterrent of wasted time and resource use for them to want to try in the first place.

Why not start your own artistic journey ?  Sign up to be a friend of A&A Photographic Arts today!