If you read nothing else, my summary judgment on stock photography closes the post.
Ten minutes after I threw down the gauntlet Tom Woodward picked it back up and whacked me with it:
Once again, help me make this better. That goes for images, argument, facts – whatever.
John Pederson, apropos of nothing I wrote, has developed a sudden, sloppy crush on typography, one of the artistic disciplines that hasn’t changed in several centuries, so that’s great. Because if you don’t know how to work with type, Prezi and CoolIris won’t save you.
Darren Draper posted two variations on the same theme, asking would I really prefer a white background to a stock fast-food worker.
My answer is no, I prefer the stock photo, though I am glad there are a few other options besides those two. If those were your only options then go with stock photography. But carefully. The trappings of stock photos are a) exaggerated lighting, b) exaggerated framing, and c) exaggerated content, all of which give the content of your slide a lot of competition for attention.
I saw recently, for one example, a frightened kid shot under harsh lights with Scrabble tiles spelling out F-E-A-R censoring his mouth. The accompanying quote concerned Internet filtering or something. The quote was interesting and provocative but completely overwhelmed by the stock photo.
Dean perplexes me, saying I’m “stirring up trouble” with my last post. I realize this is just Dean’s usual Canadian bonhomie but, come on. Here is Dean’s commenter, Mark Kowalski. Take it away, Mark:
Even as a teacher, public critique of a person’s work is an odd experience. Maybe our social norms on feedback and politeness have gone too far one way?
If that “one way” is toward norms equating “criticism” with “insensitivity,” then I agree.
Angela has linked up a Slideshare presentation and asked for feedback.
Credit where credit is due. Y’all have taken Garr Reynold’s style and run with it for quite some distance. I have two concerns.
First, there are instances when the stock photography is so exaggerated or stylized that it distracts from the purpose of the presentation. In this example, I promise you I am not pondering the consequences of Angela’s quotation. I am scared to death of that toddler. Someone sign that kid to the Lakers but get him away from me.
Second, there are instances when the stock photography Angela has selected a) interprets the quotation for me or b) tips me to Angela’s interpretation when she’d probably rather I develop my own interpretation and add it to the discussion or presentation wiki or whateverTo cite my recent obsession, stock photography can easily be too helpful..
I didn’t mind this next one at all, an understated image that doesn’t constrain audience interpretation. The fact that I’m reduced to judging stock photography on how little it hurts a presentation oughtta concern us, however.
Alice has linked up her presentation files and asked for feedback. Take it away, people.
Summary Judgment On Stock Photography
Ditch it. Show me something real, not artificial. Serve the quotation up on a simple background with good typography and then show me some video or a photo or some audio captured naturally, in the wild, that hints at but doesn’t clonk me over the head with your point. And then let’s talk about it.
In Darren’s case, I would look for video of high school dropouts interviewed about their career paths since they left school, including, for the sake of intellectual honesty, some success stories. Find that. Or make that. Embed that. Let’s talk about that. Not about some Google Image or FlickrCC search I could have performed myself.
I realize this is several hundred times harder than typing keywords into a search engine but, as with personal hygiene, you get out of it what you put inMaybe y’all think I’m some sort of crank in these posts. But when someone uses their digital projector to curate and build conversations around interesting media they captured or aggregated themselves you really can’t imagine my enthusiasm..