Goggle Image is the Bane of my Existence

- - Working

What a crappy feature Google Image has turned out to be for photo editors.

I get endless emails every day from editors and writers with useless google image links to shit photography or uncredited photography or even worse… amateur photography where I have no idea if it was taken with a Mark III or Hello Kitty camera from JC Penney and YES it makes a difference what camera it was shot with when printing on a 4 color press because really I have no way of knowing how it will turn out until production sends us a proof and usually by then it’s getting too late because the layout and story has been designed and written to go with the photo that a dumb ass algorithm found.

It used to be that editors, writers and art directors had no idea where to get photos from, so the images that I found offensive or that didn’t fit my aesthetic never surfaced but now that google image dredges the bottom of the ocean of horrible website photography my life is spent telling people why certain photos suck and others are awesome.

So, do me a favor google algorithm writers and talented photographers. Figure out a way that only the good photography surfaces so that when I type Richard Branson into image search I don’t get a photo of him running out of the surf holding his nutz.

There Are 24 Comments On This Article.

  1. Dear Photo Editor
    This web site is an invalueable tool for anyone interested in making pictures.
    Thank you for your efforts and please keep up the good work.

  2. photoeditorb

    yes! thank you so much. i desparately wish that i could eliminate the ability of my coworkers to use google images. i get sent on image chases that are pointless when if they just let me do my job first, they’d see that there’s a much better image they couldn’t find via google, or that the image they found that i can’t trace rights to anyway was not helping me do my job. it certainly doesn’t help protect photographer’s rights either.

    this may be a strange metaphor, but i feel like for a photo editor, google images is like a decent digital camera in the hands of an amateur. it lets people think they’re great photographers or equal to a professional… but an algorithm does not a photo editor, or a photographer, make.

  3. …forwarding post to editorial and ad right now…

    (though I have taken the liberty of making it all bold face)

  4. I never understood why anyone would use Google Image Search when you can type your keywords into any stock agency and get infinitely better results.

  5. I’ve had this happen COUNTLESS times and to be honest it just sort of tells me what kind of journalist I’m working with. The best journalist let you do your job and respect it others try to research themselves so they can try in vain to control the entire section.

  6. YES!!!! you know when i would explain why google images is not a good resource they would look at me like i was the IDIOT!!

  7. Aaaahahahahahaha!!!

    As hackers say: information wants to be free (and so do Branson’s nuts).

  8. Yes, and this is the technological wizardry that is going to put us all out of business when they replace photographers with “citizen journalists.” On the bright side, after Google and Yahoo put magazines and newspapers out of business they might have to hire photographers to provide their “free'” content.

  9. yetanotherphotoed

    Re: no way to tell if a shot was taken with a Hello Kitty p&s, or what: you can find out what camera an image was shot with [assuming it was shot digitally] by checking the exif metadata in either photoshop or bridge.


  10. Get over it. This happened 30 years ago in graphic arts and typography when the laser printer was introduced. You are a teacher as well as an editor now, that’s just the way ti goes.

  11. “YES it makes a difference what camera it was shot with when printing on a 4 color press”

    Case in point, that portrait spread in this months Vanity Fair. Shoot by who knows who, retouched to look like Leibovitz, but gawd do the pics look horrible and digital. And this is Vanity Fair we’re talking about here!!!

  12. I think google images does not look into the jpeg’s metadata where you might find embedded data about the pic.

    At the same time, not everybody who takes pics fills up the IPTC data. Nor does everybody post their pics to the net with metadata intact.

    Nevertheless, i still think GI sucks because it doesn’t seem to look into the metadata

  13. One of your respondents calls you a teacher now; I think this is true.

    So, teach us, in general or specific terms, what type of digital image you need to feel confident that it will reproduce adequately. I.e, size, resolution, format, etc. and the more esoteric aspects — contrast levels, pixel ‘quality’…

    Based on the comments, your readership seems to be other editors, but I’d wager there may also be potential suppliers too, who could benefit from your insight into what constitutes economical, useful, commercially viable and even brilliant content.

    Thanks. …edN

  14. One of my favourite things to hear in a meeting is for an editor to say “can’t we just I-stock it?”

  15. Stan Kaady

    Thanks for sharing, A PhotoEditor. Judy’s idea surely got your attention and will get others, as well.

    Cheesy? That’s what I thought about You Tube, Blogs and Flickr back in the day. Pay attention folks.


    A Magazine Photographer

  16. Mikko Reinikainen

    Dear A PhotoEditor, how does knowing the camera model help in knowing how a photo will print? Isn’t it more important what the digital image looks like?

    Most amateurs can take crappy photos with any camera, and most photographers should be able to make printable photos with any camera.

  17. I couldn’t understand some parts of this article Goggle Image is the Bane of my Existence, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

  18. That’s the bane of your existence?! I envy you! I work in web publishing! Try getting a PSD from a client that is clearly a print design with no embedded fonts, and Lorem Ipsum shell link text! Then when they supply the text try to fit 10 paragraphs into a 500 pixel high shell! At that point poorly composed, exposed, or low resolution images are the least of your worries!