Many photographers struggle with the decision whether or not to add a watermark to their photos, balancing the elegance of a photograph against a desire for accreditation, sometimes even compensation, for their creative works, works that are so frequently
stolen shared without permission by the online community.
For my own purposes, I choose not to watermark the photographs that I post on Flickr, Facebook, or other sources. Through these media, I choose to share my work freely, opting out of any sort of inbuilt accreditation. However, on this site, where my images are more likely to be found out of context, I choose to add a subtle indication of their source.
I find the watermark above to be readable and yet still subtle on practically any image, working well, without alteration, on solid and mixed-colour backgrounds, remaining legible overtop all but the most intricate detail. Feel free to drag that image about your window or download it and experiment with it yourself. I’ll describe exactly how to create it after the philosophizing below.
What is a Watermark?
Some photographers, feeling the need to protect their work so jealously, create a visual paywall behind which the quality of the photograph is merely alluded to, a barrier so severe as to move beyond a watermark, instead becoming a photographic moat surrounding and isolating their artistic treasures.
However, with the ability to remove these marks seemingly outpacing even the wildest imaginations of would-be counterfeiters, such attempts to secure photos via watermarking are usually futile, often resulting in the mutilation of the image by the artist, the destruction of any value worth protecting, the end result no longer a watermarked photo, instead merely an advertisement for the photo itself.
I love Instagram. And yet, I’m not very fond of the style of Instagram photos. I don’t share the vitriolic distaste that some have for the Instagram style; I simply don’t find the look to be to my taste whatsoever. Rather, it’s the appeal, the very phenomenon of its success, and the beautiful way in which it affects the way we view and appreciate digital photos that I find both fascinating and intriguing.
Instagram is more than just hipster douchebaggery.
It has a more primal draw.
On its surface, Instagram’s obvious appeal is its timely and trendy evocation of things retro. No doubt a large part of its meteoric success has been due to the fact that it not only oozes hipster-chic, the retro cool du jour, but it also makes masterful use of the very best of social media modernity. If there’s one thing hipsters like more than looking cool, it’s being able to look cool in front of their entire social circle.
But Instagram is more than just hipster douchebaggery. It has a more primal draw. Whereas the hyper-concious pursuit of what’s considered capital-C “Cool” is very cerebral, an activity requiring an agonizingly analytical approach by the Painfully Cool, Instagram speaks to us most strongly on a much deeper, more innate level.
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February 12, 2010. After 2,400 days of buildup, anticipation, fatigue, and anxiety, the Olympics had finally arrived in Vancouver. Yet the sense of reality, the feeling that the wait was actually over, lagged far behind the pace set by the countdown clock. The torch was in Vancouver, but the Games still felt distant.
While I had been looking forward to the Olympics since Vancouver was announced as host, in the last days leading up to the opening ceremonies, a feeling of anxiety had slowly eclipsed my excitement. All I hoped of the games was for Vancouver and Canada to not embarrass ourselves. So far things we’re looking good with the facilities and with the overal ‘Look of the Games’. As yet we had managed to avoid any serious cock-ups.
I was up early on this most anticipated of days, watching the torch relay on television. I had planned on heading out to get some photos of the relay, but I knew that the torch was going to criss-cross the city throughout most of the day and I was procrastinating.
When I heard that a very special surprise bearer was going to be receiving the torch and passing two blocks from my home, I anticipated another Matt Lauer or Michael Bublé. My motivation to capture such a moment for posterity did not overcome my considerable morning inertia.
However, when Walter Gretzky stepped out of the torch bearer’s mini-bus and the crowd erupted with cheering, I leapt into my clothes, snatched my camera, and flew out the door.
I arrived at Granville and Smithe and chose my spot. The torch had not yet passed to Mr. Gretzky, so I had a few minutes to take in the scene. The streets were definitely buzzing, but so far the torch escort was a bit of overkill for the amount of crowd-control needed.