I am still on hiatus because my 18-hour exam is just a week and a half away. However, I had a few moments, so I wanted to tell you about the results of the photomanipulation community meeting we had the other week.
First, let me say that I am extremely grateful to those of you who came. Everyone had a positive, constructive attitude, and I really think we were able to make good segue into a community that will acknowledge everyone's talents.
Here are some themes that came up and the solutions we decided to create for them.
People are concerned about what stock is and is not allowed to be used. They are also concerned about being able to copyright their own work and keep people from stealing or copying them.Solution:
I am not sure there is a solution for this one that will be satisfactory to all people, as this is kind-of a risk you take when you post your work online-- especially if you do not use a watermark. If someone copies your work exactly, you can certainly contact the Help Desk
. If someone is copying your style or doing a generic but not exact rip-off of your work, I agree that that's terrible. However, keep in mind that ideas are not copyrighted, and it's absolutely possible for someone to see the same stock and have the same idea you had. I think as a whole the community could be more creative. We discussed the possibility of having creativity challenges more frequently, but my question is: would the right people even participate? Would love to have some feedback from you about this issue before we move forward.
About following copyrights with stock, remember that the bottom line is that you need to make sure you are following the license terms of the original stock provider/photographer
. If you are using a premade background, for example, know where the original photographs came from and be sure that the original photographers allow their stock to be used in premades. If you are using stock from a stock site, make sure the original photographer allows his or her stock to be used in photomanipulations. Nothing has changed
; these have always been dA's terms for the use of stock materials. See FAQ #157: Can I use things created by other people in my submissions?
and FAQ #217: What are "Stock and Resources" and can I use them in my submissions?
People feel that the photomanipulation community doesn't get as much exposure as they would like. For example, we would like to see more photomanipulation on the front page. People feel that photomanipulation is pushed aside and not taken seriously and that better exposure would help with this issue.Solution:
First, it may not be a lack of exposure.
Regular features have been made of photomanipulation artists in communityrelations
and throughout dA; my site-wide features get thousands of views. Moreover, people in the community are really great at featuring one another in their journals, so we're definitely seeing each other's stuff. That needs to continue: we need to ALL be featuring one another's art in our groups and on our journals. Maybe together we can make a difference, but it will take all of us reaching forward. I love seeing all the articles and features people are promoting.
An idea that came up was that we could create a big group of people who can help promote the community. This group is CRPhotomanipulation
, and we will do that in conjunction with a new group, Photomanip101
, which I will tell you about in a minute. For CRPhotomanipulation
, what if we were to get as many people in there as possible and then all do our features there as well as in our own groups/journals? It could be a centralized location for photomanipulation-- as it was intended to be-- and house YOUR features as well as mine. It would take a lot of promotion and cooperation, but I think that if we joined together as a community we could make it happen.
Projects around the site, like Project Educate (projecteducate
) are also great for getting more exposure, as artists from many different media and genres pay attention to it. We are planning to have a Project Educate week either in late May (yes, this month) or June, and it would be great for people to get involved again. You can read the articles from our last Project Educate week and see how united we were as a team here
. We need some people to get involved-- especially if you like Dark Photomanipulation.
As far as making the front page, I will try to keep an eye on the front page and continue to promote the artists whose work makes the front page by putting up a poll to show you their work. We really do have someone there regularly; I think you just have to catch it. But I think there are two main things that can help get us there more frequently:Reason 1
: We are so busy searching after DDs and front-page features that we forget to be artists. The combination of technical skill and heart is what will get us ahead. We should stop worrying about the accolades and worry instead about putting together a piece that does us and our community justice, a piece that has tested our own abilities and creativity and makes us truly proud. THAT is what will get us ahead. And why not help another artist along the way?Reason 2
: We do not support each other very well as a whole. WE should decide what our high quality art is, and WE should work together to promote each other. I see stunning works all the time from artists who have less than 50 favorites or 500 pageviews, and I do my best to promote them. Some of them are eligible for DDs, and some are not... and either way, I can't promote the same people all the time. It would be great if we had some system in our community for promoting art in a way that is not a popularity game. How could we do that? Join CRPhotomanipulation
, and let's figure it out together.
I think the bottom line is this: We are in this together. We need to work together to support high-quality art *as well as* artists who are new and deserve some attention. If you see work you like, fave it and leave a comment. (Did you know that comments are also important for exposure statistics?) Offer a word of support and encouragement to the artist. Show some love. If something is especially wonderful, suggest it for a DD.
Education and encouragement of new artistsProblem:
People felt that there was little education or encouragement available for new artists. This concept of "new artist" was expanded to mean "artists in general," as no one really wants the label of "new" or "beginner." Solution:
We have decided to open a sister group to CRPhotomanipulation
, which we will call Photomanip101
. Here, photomanipulation artists of all levels can interact with the following features:
An advice column, where the member writes to us with a question that will be answered either personally or via blog by an experienced photomanipulator
Mentoring, where anyone can obtain an experienced "coach" to help them learn (We are still trying to figure out how this will work, exactly)
Education on everything from copyrights to how to photomanipulate
A structured plan for getting feedback on our work
Interviews and features
Anyone can join. We hope a lot of you will. We will be opening the doors soon. I will also be reaching out to some of you to be coaches. This program will take a lot of support to run, but I think it can be a great benefit to our community.
People feel that there is an unnecessary amount of rancor between community members, especially when it comes to groups. People are afraid to critique each other's work (constructively) because they get attacked when they do so. So, no one is learning from one another, and we are going stale.Solution:
Simply stop it. I know it hurts when someone points out something that could be fixed in our art. And it especially hurts if we perceive that person to be a beginner. On one hand, stop it! The ego games will get you nowhere. On the other hand, everyone has the right not to receive feedback on their work if they don't want it. But how to tell who wants what?
The group proposed a couple of simple strategies. (1) If you do not want critique on your work, simply say so, or disable comments. (2) If you DO want critique, say so! People would love to critique your work and just want to know it's okay for them to do so. Also, again, remember that Photomanip101
will have structured activities to help people get involved with critique and support.
As for the general negativity, I'm really tired of hearing about it, so I'm not going to bore you further with admonitions. I will say, though, that you shouldn't be vying for a community to get ahead in one moment and then stabbing them in the back the next. It's sink or swim... together.
In conclusion . . .
We will get nowhere if we do not work together. I am always open to your ideas and would love for you to get involved. But, it's not about ME. How can WE make things even better for our incredible community?
I have to study now. Talk to you soon.