Sunday, August 15, 2010

Delete Me: Uncensored - my home away from home

When I first started to take pictures for the sake of the visuals, for the joy of it as opposed to snapshots to freeze the moment, I began looking online for a community of similar minded individuals. As it turns out there are many such places. I found the one that suited me by happy accident. I had read elsewhere about the genesis of the disparaging term “chimping” (looking at the screen on the back of one’s camera and often making approving grunts) and I did an image search of the word. This brought up a number of images, the most interesting of which was in a woman’s Flickr photo stream. After fiddling around for a bit I joined Flickr and stumbled across a picture of a cat, not an uncommon sight on a photography website, what made this picture so interesting was the tone of the comments. The comments were not only varied and not entirely positive, some were downright rude. The rude comments all came from the same source. A voting pool called Deleteme Uncensored (DMU). I was hooked.

From what I can gather there was once (and still is) a group called DeleteMe. Folks who wished to give extremely harsh critiques formed a splinter group and that was the first group I joined on Flickr. If you are going through my photo stream and you see vile, seemingly uncalled for, rude and/or obscene comments… please bear in mind I ASKED for this treatment. There are far too many extremely supportive groups that will tell you just how awesome you are and how much they like your work. I can learn NOTHING from such sugar coated critique. DMU pulls no punches. If you are lucky you might just get a fair critique from one of the many pro photographers who hang around. If not, one of the slack jawed yokels who don’t take photos or contribute to anything but the highly charged discussions that take place in the threads might throw in their two cents. Either way, you might just learn something about your work that you may be too close to it to see yourself. There is one caveat however - if you truly love a picture (or the subject) you might not want to submit it to these wolves.

DMU is an international gathering of photographers, professional and amateur, film and digital, wise and foolish, young and old, of many differing faiths, backgrounds, beliefs all thrown together in the one spot where you can say almost ANYTHING. That is really a wonderful thing. There are rules however. The original DMU did go a bit too far, was warned by Flickr to smarten up and, somehow (I really don’t want to get into the finger pointing) killed itself - dozens of splinter groups formed - three main groups came out the other side of the maelstrom. DMU, the other DMU (that I am not a member of) and the Icebox. The Icebox was formed by a thoughtful DMU member who wanted to provide a place for us to chill from the nasty words, invectives and blame that was being thrown around.

DMU is really not for the faint of heart - I bring it up because it means so much to me and also many of my friends seem genuinely upset that people should say such HORRIBLE things about my photographs. That is a two way street. I not only make rude comments, I truly enjoy making rude pictures as well. Let me post one of my favourites here.

Most of the horrible things I create are image specific. They only make sense if you see the picture they are mocking. I do try to include some advice with most of my comments - but if it just looks like poo...

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