In defense of Flickr and Compfight

Last month, two students complained that “Compfight and Flickr sucked,” and that they could not find the images they were looking for. I challenged them by asking them if they thought my slides sucked or if their superteacher Alex Rister’s slides sucked. They laughed, said no, and asked why. My response–because we only use Flickr and search only through Compfight. If you can’t find what you are looking for in the world’s largest image social networking site, then the problem has more to do with the way you are searching. Flickr is awesome. I credit this storehouse of images with completely transforming my use of imagery in my slides. Compfight was a true blessing; it filters out anything I cannot use and provides me with relevant results every time. Both forced me to come to terms with the fact that I, like many, was a “slide sloth.”

According to Alex Rister, Google Images has made us all “slide sloths” (Source); we put in a search term “evolve” and expect magical results. Because Google Images is running an unfiltered search of the entire web, students often find exactly what they are looking for–too bad it is too small, cheesy clip art, watermarked stock photography, or not labeled for commercial use. We must change the way we actually search for images. I am cooking up a more thorough “how to” on searching through Compfight and Flickr for Six Minutes, but in the meantime, remember, to find great images on Flickr, follow amazing people like JD Hancock, search for concrete things that represent your abstract ideas, and be patient–I have spent hours looking for that perfect image. The first slide to my latest deck took me 4 hours of adapting search terms, rethinking my metaphor, and adapting my approach!

My deck is three images from being done (and by done I mean a first draft that several folks have the duty to now destroy and decimate) and I have a full day of grading ahead of me, so just a quick post today to share some the images I’ve found while searching for hmm….three weeks…with you. There were many more images I loved that I did not use, but these are a few of the highlights.

Incredible Bokeh

Incredible Bokeh by JD Hancock

Field 0 by zachstern

Freedom by Angelo Gonzalez

In the rapture (explored) by Elizabeth Haslam

Meditation by deadoll

Crab Nebula: Energy for 100,000 Suns (NASA, Chandra, 11/23/09) by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

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3 thoughts on “In defense of Flickr and Compfight

  1. […] and to succeed.  Not every person was immediately sold on the visual design concepts I taught.  Not every student understood the importance of Compfight and Flickr.  But this is a good thing!  Resistance helps a student actually […]

  2. JD Hancock says:

    Thank you for sharing my photography, as always. If your students have ideas about how photographers like me could make our photos more “find-able,” I would love to hear them.

  3. […] is the same challenge corporate presenters face). On this blog, I’ve shared several ways to search through, which is one of the best resources for free images available to corporate folks. Another option is […]

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