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Virtual Photo Walk

September 8, 2009

Lately I’ve been thinking about a concept that a friend first suggested to me. I’m not even sure if he realizes that he suggested it. It was just an off-hand comment he made that triggered a cascade of ideas that eventually led to this: a virtual photo-walk.

A real photo-walk is where a bunch of photographers get together at a designated time and place and all go walking around together. They socialize and take pictures and generally enjoy themselves. Afterward, they usually all post some of their pictures online in some common place where they can all view and compare how differently they each saw the event. It can be a good tool for learning more about about photography and especially for stimulating creativity.

Photo contests are a different, though also quite common, thing among photographers. A theme is announced. Themes can range from the tangible — cars, vegetables, housepets, etc. — to the conceptual — friendship, summertime, love, etc. The big thing about a photo contest is that all entrants are exercising their vision and shooting around some point of commonality, just like in a photo-walk, but they are not necessarily doing it together nor even all at the same time. Some photographers avoid contests either because they don’t like competing or feel they aren’t good enough or for whatever reason. Contests are also generally limited in terms of number of entries a given person may have.

So I came upon the idea of a hybrid wherein some theme is set and users go out on their own to take photos but where the photos all center around some point of commonality and are all shared so users can see one another’s vision. In a way, this is one of the things Flickr already does on a grand scale.

I haven’t decided whether or not I’d actually like to organize or participate in a virtual photo-walk. I’m just sharing the concept and giving light to my idea at the moment. Perhaps it will sprout.

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