Friday, January 21, 2011

500px is a photo site balancing between usual photo-sharing and a juried selection of photographs. Members can upload whatever they wish but the photographs will soon sink into oblivion unless they become really popular. All viewers can vote pro or contra on a particular image, but it's not mandatory to vote. The more votes an image receives, the less is the weight of a vote. In other words: the more popular an image becomes, the more votes it needs to proceed and finally stay in the top selection. Popularity votes are not to anyone's taste but at least every upload has a chance. I also like the easy-going and slightly ironic attitude of the founders. For example, if you upgrade your membership you don't become "pro" or "bronze" or "full" but - "awesome". (Quite an easy way to become an awesome photographer.) Their portfolio service doesn't offer too many gimmicks but what they provide is decently designed, bug-free and comes with an interface that's a pleasure to use. On the negative side, a great part of the chat goes in Russian and the site lacks a real community because there isn't any discussion forum. But for easy photo sharing with a little competition, the site is perfect.
Anyway, most of what's popular there is escapist-beauty-glam stuff (and I don't mean this in a dehonestating way because who wouldn't want to see nice things once in a while?). I had a hard time establishing myself since my "work" is mostly documentary-oriented with just a few attempts at fine art, but at last today one of my nudes got into the pool of most popular images.It's one from a 2009 shooting with model Ewelina in Cologne. Moreover, through my 500px portfolio I received an inquiry from a German gallery about buying this one. I hope it can be realised but in any case, isn't this the kind of email all photographers hope to find in their mailbox one day? At least it gave me good impetus to work the image over, having at last a real image in mind and not just the usual 900x600 pixel thumbnails.


Marie said...

Congrats, B! It's every photographer's dream to be recognized and compensated. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi Balazs,

I'm afraid I'm becoming disillusioned with regard to 500px. Many people don't even answer my comments and now the popular list is comprised of thousands of images and so getting there doesn't make it a lot easier to get noticed.

The site can change it's name to "one exposure" as in, you only get a few visits and a short chance to get noticed. I've found some nice images with 10 or so views. I am not talking about votes, the amount of views is usually low unless you get mentioned in some place or you are well connected with lots of followers. I am of course not counting nude images which almost always get the viewers coming (visiting). Lately I've even noticed some questionable Editor's Choice.

The interface is great (when site is on) and you are right about the portfolio bit.

Sometimes I think about returning to 1x but then I see some of the published work and the name of COTW that hasn't changed in months and nobody cares, and I remember what was there that I didn't like.

Congrats on getting noticed and on the chance to have your work displayed in a real gallery.


Nico said...

500px is not bad to me, but so so so far away from my taste when it comes to popular choice, let alone Editor's picks. I like to call it 1x on steroids. The quality of work is astounding, true, but it's just soooo eye candy and arty and plastic that it's just not my cup of tea. After watching 500px for 15 min it's like having drunk a cup of coffee where half of the cup is full of sugar. I like the sweet taste in the beginning but after a few sips i just cannot take it anymore.

As regards with the way it works, well, every user being able to upload as many images as he wants probably makes it impossible for the editors to do any kind of proper or reasonable screening. I mean, I'm sure they can only see a handful of what's submitted and make random choices among what they see and the rest probably doesnt even pass their eyes. Not only theirs but any user that is not online around the time you submitted, since your photo will probably get buried after a couple of hours bellow thousands of others submitted after.

Then, the total lack of community and the mostly dominant russian language.

Even worse, on a personal note, my work of dirty boys and people from remote parts of the world or landscapes with no golden light, goes completely unnoticed, barely seen.

I'm not sure. As little as I like 1x these days, I still prefer it by far, at least there's still a community with some interesting people, and once in a while a published image. But as regards with publishing, well, 1x is getting closer and closer to be exactly like 500px and the pathetic thing is, people who get published in one, move to the other one and get published too, so we are starting to see the same images by the same people in both. Especially these days that many Russians from 500px are moving to 1x.

There's less and less and less place for photos like yours or mine Balasz (i mean the people's shots and the kind) maybe we should start a site that doesnt publish all these eye candy psychodelia and gives priority to more down to earth photography....)

Pataki Balázs said...

Hi everyone,
I suppose I share your feelings - maybe we have a 1x nostalgia but then we realize that 1x is becoming just the sites we are bored of! :)
Anyway, I don't want to go on a runt of 1x-bashing... suffice to say, sometimes I check it up but I always see how dull it has become. It actually became a site for two very popular genres: Russian escapism and Indonesian workshopism, LOL...
As to 500pix, I have a feeling that the founders made a big mistake when they didn't keep a strict language policy. Probably it started as a site mostly for Russian-speaking photogs and overgrew its origins. As to community (or the lack of it), it supports my theory that photographers still use webgalleries like 500pix to show their work, but networking and contact keeping is done on Facebook...

Nico said...

....." e. It actually became a site for two very popular genres: Russian escapism and Indonesian workshopism, " ...

hahahaha full stadium applause!!!!

Anonymous said...

....." e. It actually became a site for two very popular genres: Russian escapism and Indonesian workshopism, " ... SAYS IT ALL ! RIGHT OUT OF BATCH !