Photography the killer app? On sharing, Flickr and visual language

May 10, 2012 | By admin | Creative, Visual Trends

Over the past few years, photography has become the prime vehicle in social sharing. But have you ever stopped to wonder why?

We think  it’s because it’s an expression of self that is the most valued form of connection  — and that’s why brands and advertisers are so keen to engage with photo communities (such as Flickr, which we love!).

We are at a fascinating moment in photography, in how it is used, and in its social purpose and function, and this will have direct impact on its use in marketing and advertising communications. Where will this lead us? Only time will tell (but we’d love to hear your thoughts). In the meantime, go deeper on the subject in this latest issue of the Curve, your resource for strategy, insights and visual trends.


(Photo by Cheyenne Glasgow, Flickr/Getty Images 89110497)

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  • Jorge Martinez

    Although your article does explain the sociological reasons why photography has exploded in social media in the last few years, I believe the real reason is technology. Shooting film a few years, ago, even with an AOL account or MSN account, you needed to develop, print, scan the images before being able to share them with your friends, peers. Nowadays, all you need to do is point your cell phone (not even a dedicated camera), take a shot and upload it to Flicker, Facebook or any other dedicated social network. In a matter of minutes!! So, the social aspect has always been there. Is technology that has allowed us to do it in volume!

  • Alex Bramwell

    Photography is conquering social media because it is immediate. Asking your friends to read a long article, or watch a five minute video is an imposition. What if they don’t enjoy it? Five minutes is the social media equivalent of a 300 page novel written by a Frenchman!

    A photograph can either inspire or be ignored instantly. If does not require clicks, new browser windows, or long periods of attention. Social media is all about sharing the moment: That is what photography has been all about for over 100 years!

  • michael pudney

    Very true , it is also the masses are now not scared of using this Tec, maybe before also it all seemed a bit geeky . There’s a lot of people out there that still don’t use PCs . What has really made it happen is the little thing I’m using now the smart phone. IPhone , any of them it’s an all in one easy solution. As for the other side of the art where skill , and techno ability, this is again very different market .

  • admin

    Very good points. But let me ask you this: Do you think the trend of authenticity in advertising will continue to rise as the technology for easy photo sharing spreads? Or, do you think there will be a backlash and a return to a highly stylized aesthetic?

    And what about apps (like Instagram or Hipstamatic) — will these be the next wave to reinvent advertising, the way they are becoming more widely accepted in editorial photography? (Check out this article in BusinessWeek, featuring the work of Reportage by Getty Images photographer Ben Lowy to see what I mean)