I’ve known and used photos from Unsplash before but after a presentation on it at the Creative Commons Summit, I thought it was time to try it out with my first set of 10 photos. So I am unsplashing at https://unsplash.com/@cogdog.

I tried a mix of ones from my own favorites list and ones that have been explored in flickr.

The Unsplash story is one of how a small project hosted in tumblr went big. Every bloggers dream. I guess it happens to some. I picked up that Unsplash is the fourth most popular site for images. Not all [commercial] photographers think it’s great, but the images are certainly lovely, and the CC0 license on all of them makes them easy to reuse.

I’m not a fan of the way they described the license, but it’s typical of the way nearly everybody describes public domain- “great stuff and you don’t have to give credit”. From the Unsplash license page

All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash.

That’s a minimal, bottom threshold description of CC0 and is IMHO bad for a thriving Commons. You see it all over as a hidden message that every image on the web is free to Grab and Go and Do Not Even Bother to Say Thank You.

It’s lonely fighting for attribution and writers on the web with sizable audiences continue to pilfer images w/o giving credit (I’m still on your tail, Dave Pell).

I digress.

Perhaps the reason I created an account was that I heard from the presentation that Unsplash has an API. I’ve had in the back of my mind and maybe scribbled on a “to do” list to build a second generation flickr cc attribution helper that could also pull single click generation attribution tools for not only flickr, but other services like DeviantArt, Pixabay, and now I think it would work for Unsplash.

I’d want to reshape how the options are done, rather than having to create a bookmarklet for each kind of attribution and size, it should be set as options when one gets the attribution code.

Anyhow, it’s been on the list a few months and nothing has happened.

Unsplash would never “replace” in my process the central role of flickr has my main photo destination, but maybe one more place to send them. My photo process remains the same as 2009 (yes, I am running on my MacBookPro an un-updated version of Mavericks which means I can still use Aperture).

  • All photos edited, tagged, titled, captioned in Aperture
  • Photos sent to flickr, assigned to groups or collections with FlickrExport. A feature I love is that it adds as Aperture metadata the flickr URL of the posted photo
  • One or two photos are tweeted. Because twitter.
  • For the last year or so, I have been posting 1-3 a day to Instagram from the flickr mobile app.
  • If I remember (which is rare, I usually go back and do this) I rate in Aperture the best ones with 5 stars. These I export to a folder on my computer, and every now and then I upload to my photo portfolio WordPress site http://barkingdog.me. I have some clever (to me) under the hood tricks that automatically posts the image metadata to the posts, so adding it basically new post -> upload media
  • Now I guess I will try tossing a few into Unsplash. I’m just testing now to see how worth while it is. Does it matter if my pics never get picked by whomever reviews? I started also adding some to pixabay because I needed an account to use their API. I found it interesting that their review is strict, they don’t take anything, and 6 of 8 of my first uploads were rejected! I now pay more attention to their quality guidelines

Yes, I might be on shaky ground with flickr. Rumors of their demise have been imminent for years. I have a gentleman’s bet with Roland Tangloa they will still be around after April 2018. Not that I necessarily believe that 😉 But if that one does cave in, I will be mad and sad and growling, but my library is completely intact and organized from my method above.

I’m just testing the waters, a tiny splash.

Featured image: screen capture of my new account at https://unsplash.com/@cogdog

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as @cogdog@cosocial.ca


  1. I use Pixabay (and Unsplash) a lot now…but the guidelines for Pixabay are…weird. A number of their example rejects are images I consider potentially more useful than their accepted counterparts. A strange kind of subjectivity inhabits those rules.

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