Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Is Lightbox a Facebook for photographers?

I picked up the lightbox app for my phone a few months back, noticed that it had a neat camera interface that allowed a greater than usual range of adjustment, as well as the usual daft effects, and ignored the rest of it. Then around 6 weeks ago I finally got around to registering on the site, but even after uploading a few images (from the phone) to the site I still didn't see the point - apparently no-one was looking at the pictures.

What's the big deal then?

Currently the site works a little like a reverse of Facebook: everybody's pages are open to everyone, but it's up to you to create links and give people a reason to look at your images. For this to happen you have to let them know you're there, by liking one or more of their images.

I'd love to know how much this approach has affected the way the site runs, and for how long it will last like this. For an internet photo site there's barely any nudity (certainly compared to Tumblr) and I've yet to see any negative comments, even though some of the photography is as poor as you'd expect from a site very like instagram.

Would I recommend it?

I've mixed opinions right now. Some of the photography is stunning, if not always original, while there is quite a bit of dross too. But, just like facebook, it can become a huge consumer of time, just trawling through thousands of images to see a few you like. There are some obvious 'stars' of lightbox, and some of the macro work of insects by Rolly is absolutely stunning. I like this much better than the impression I have of instagram, both from the manner in which images are degraded to give them a psuedo-vintage look, and because of the attitude of the iPhone instagram users, who have taken exception to the new Android posters. And after all, if you want to run a site that carries images to inspire people, what better way to prevent creation of inspiring art than to restrict them to phone cameras, with the output forced through degrading software.

If you want to have a look, my page is here but there's nothing up that you won't have seen before. As time goes by I may strip out some of the less great images I posted earlier and try to keep it to better work only. You can bet there won't be many images from the phone either!

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