|Descent of Christ into Limbo by Bronzino, 1552|
Refectory of Santa Croce, Florence, Italy*
I like to use pictures in my blog posts. I used to just hot-link them (that is, use the URL from wherever I found them) but I found that people cannot be trusted. Their website goes away, or they take the picture down or something and all of sudden my glorious blog post is now pictureless and I'm devastated. I went to a lot of trouble to locate that picture, case the joint, break in and steal it, and these people have the nerve to sever my link. Hmph, people just don't have any respect for the black arts anymore.
I am not completely without scruples. If it's a good image (not some viral internet meme thing), I will try and provide a link back to the source, so if someone wants to know where the picture came from all they have to do is point and click. Some of the photos I have liberated are copyrighted, and sometimes the owners have gone to the trouble to prevent scoundrels like me from downloading them. Not to worry, Print Screen and Crop are the image thief's lock pick and crowbar, Saint Dismas protect me.
I am not too concerned about infringing copyrights, it's not like I'm trying to pass these images off as my own. If anyone ever complained I would certainly take them down, but no one ever has. On the other side of the coin, the purported owners of these images are getting some free publicity. Since my presence on the net is infinitesimal I doubt whether anyone notices either my theft or the credit.**
I've downloaded thousands of pictures. I've manage to consolidate them onto one hard drive, but they aren't really doing me any good there. The drive is plugged in but turned off***. I'm trying to find an online storage system so I can dispense with the hard drive, but all the ones I've tried present some obstacles. flickr only allows you to upload your own photos. I uploaded a punch of old public domain military photos a while back and now I find out that I've violated their TOS, so that account may vanish at any time.
There are a lot of photos on flickr. Each user gets a free terabyte of space. The number of photos on flickr must be approaching a zillion, or infinity, whichever is greater. Digital storage space is growing exponentially. I wonder how long this can go on.
flickr does allow you to create "galleries" which are lists of other peoples pictures. I made one of the Tempelhof airport in Berlin, just to see how well it works. flickr is kind of funny. Their default setting is to prevent anyone from downloading a picture, but anyone can view it. I mean, what's the diff? What is anyone going to do with a photo besides look at it? Okay, they do offer to print your images onto stuff, and I can see how a popular item with a popular image could be making someone some money, but if thieves want to steal your image they will find a way, and if they're intent on cashing in on the market for that popular item, they aren't going to be to worried about the quality, meaning Print Screen and Crop is going to be good enough.
Google will store your pictures, but they seem to be focusing on Selfies from the Smart Phone crowd, meaning their stuff is almost useless for me. I'm using it, but it's awkward. And it has it's own set of limitations. I found a gallery of German aircraft on Google+, but you can't see it unless you have a Google account. It's kind of like Pinterest that way. Google image search often turns up images on Pinterest, but you can't get to the page without signing up to Pinterest. Anyone who is trying to coerce my allegiance gets none, so if the image is on Pinterest, then I'm just not going there.
Many (most?) of the pictures I have downloaded are public domain military photos. I finally realized that Wikimedia Commons might be the place to put them. It might be, but it's liable to take some work. Commons is kind of persnickety. They want some way to verify that the image is actually in the public domain. I gave them the name of the photographer, but that wasn't good enough. They wanted a URL. I think they've got it backwards. I mean, URL's are a dime a dozen, they come and go. What happens when that URL goes away? Huh? What you gonna do then, Bucky?
But that's okay, their website, their rules, and since they seem to be kind of dedicated, their URL might be around for a bit, maybe even a few years. So, if I want to be free of maintaining my archival copies of these pics, and make them permanently available on the net, Wikimedia Commons might be the way to go. All I have to do is:
- locate the public domain source of the image (Google image search can find that, it there is one)
- upload the image to Wikimedia
- if they already have it, they will tell you, but you have to upload it so they can check
- then there's the matter of categorizing which can be a bit of a chore
- captions are good
That leaves all the non-public domain images I have. Guess I shouldn't worry about that, I've got plenty of work ahead of me just dealing with the public-domain stuff.
* This image is good example of what I'm talking about. I found it on Journey to the Sea, who got it from Cate Copenhaver, but you can't download it from her page. And it isn't on Wikimedia, which kind of makes me think Santa Croce doesn't allow cameras in their refectory.
Once upon a time:
** I found a copyrighted image and I tried to ask for permission to use it, but there was no contact info!
*** my daughter had a Dell desktop computer. After several years I noticed that the hard drive was making some noise. Turns out that the setting that turned the drive off when the computer went to sleep had been turned off, so this drive had been spinning at full speed for years. No wonder it was starting to make a little noise. So a drive that could have lasted for a hundred years if properly conserved was ready for the scrap heap in less than ten. Never mind that it was already obsolete.