Friday, August 23, 2013

An Experiment in Curation

Over on ToP, Mike's running a fascinating experiment (see that link, and then later posts with the first cut of edited pictures and so on).

What makes this interesting to me is that it presents something of a solution to the "age of a trillion pictures" problem: How on earth shall we find new, good, work? We can simply dip in at random to the stream of pictures. We can do some sort of word of mouth thing, perhaps. It's not clear what results any of those will produce.

What Mike has done is:
  • start with a relatively small group of very interested, serious people: his regular readers (maybe 100,000 people? small-ish)
  • give them a theme and a narrow time window
  • receive on the order of 1000 pictures
  • edit that down to a small batch

Mike's audience is big enough to contain some genuinely "new artists" whatever that means, interested and serious enough to contain a high percentage of pretty good artists, and and small enough to produce a manageable set of pictures to start from.

As of this writing, he's posted a few dozen of the best, sifted from the submissions he's received. The work is truly excellent.

The question is, can this be replicated? Can you bottle it? If you can, this could be a significant channel for "breaking" new artists in this brave new world of a trillion photographs. That would be nice.

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