General Photography

Happy 4th of July!

Here in the bay area the weather could not be better for some All-American festivities. BBQs are lighting up all across the area this afternoon in anticipation for the various fireworks shows happening all around the bay tonight.While you’re out celebrating, I’d like to remind everyone to be safe! No doubt that with the heat wave happening here in the bay, that the fire risk is extremely high. Many counties and cities have a fireworks ban in place and while I know the novelty of celebrating with sparklers and other festive fireworks is tempting, just be responsible.

With that out of the way, I’d like to offer you a special discount on prints and products that will run through the weekend!!! From now through July 7th, take 40% off ANY order. 4 days only to get in on this special summer deal!

This will probably be my last coupon as I am dropping the ability to offer them with SmugMug at the end of the month. The extra $150/yr isn’t really worth it for me, so get in on this deal while you can!

Now that all the business stuff is outta the way, HAVE FUN today and this weekend! Enjoy your day off work, eat some BBQ or salad, drink a cool beverage, and marvel at the fireworks displays to come! #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 25%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

A long and ongoing story here with eBay “support” that I hope NOBODY ever has to deal with:

eBay removed a listing of mine for being in the wrong category last week. This listing, along with 300 other listings that I repeatedly do on a regular basis, is a photo print listed in the Art > Direct from the Artist > Photographs category.

The subject of the photograph is a nude woman, and as such (per eBay policy, more on this later) I added the “item specific attribute” of “Subject: Nudes”. The photo is not a “spread eagle” closeup of a woman’s crotch, in fact the only nudity visible is bare breasts.

eBay’s own policy regarding nudity in images specifically states that they are allowed in any of the “Art” categories as long as the above mentioned item specific attribute is present.

So why then was my listing removed? Good question! One that has gone unanswered for the past week and 5 phone calls to eBay’s “support” staff. I’ve been told such crazy things in this endeavor like “an image on eBay can only be defined as containing nudity if it is in the ‘Adult Only’ category, so the policy you referenced does not apply”, to most reps just flat out denying that such policy page even exists, to being told that there is no “Subject: Nudes” item detail option in the art categories despite me staring right at it.

But enough about the actual listing, the staff in the Trust & Safety Dept would be laughable if not for the sheer pathetic way they handle these types of cases. Upon my first call a week ago, and after being led in meaningless circles by a dimwitted rep on the phone, I was told to just reply to the removal email explaining my appeal. I was assured that the maximum timeframe for a response to such an appeal was 48 hours.

Guess what!? Yeah, no response by Friday afternoon. So I call back asking why I had yet to receive a response to my appeal. After ~30 minutes of the rep making herself look like a complete moron by dodging my question and reciting policies that related to erotic films, I was yet again assured and promised a reply within 48 hours. With the weekend and the holiday coming up, I specifically asked if either would affect response time, I was told “No”.

Knowing full well that I would no get even a hint of a response over the weekend, I decided to wait 48 hours NOT including the weekend/holiday but to no surprise I had still not gotten anything back from eBay on this issue.

I called again today, a full 7 days since the initial appeal was filed, asking why I had not yet gotten a response. The woman on the phone insisted that she NEEDED to look up all the information on the case before she could answer that question. Of course, she didn’t even come close to providing me a reason why twice now the Trust & Safety Dept had failed to meet required response deadlines. Instead she wanted me to explain my case to her, that didn’t get very far.

When I asked her if she could look at the policy page with me on the phone, she refused, stating that she knew the policy and didn’t need to “look it up” and told me that I wasn’t reading “whatever page you are on” correctly. Crossed the line by a mile with that one, So I asked to speak to a manager. She instantly, without pause, said “he’s not available”. I informed her that she didn’t even check and again asked to speak with a manager. Again she refused. Finally I told her that I was done dealing with her and asked to be transfered to someone else in the same department, you know, since the manager wasn’t available. Again, she refused. I hung up the phone after muttering some focused obscenities her way.

Called right back, hoping to get someone that would let me speak to a manager. No such luck but at least this new woman seemed to take the time to actually attempt to get a manager. When she couldn’t, she took down my phone number and assured me that I would receive a call from the department’s manager within 2 hours.

Well…..yeah sorry, the surprise factor has worn off by now. No call 4 hours later. Third time’s a charm (no, not really), and I call yet again this evening. By this point I’m less concerned with my listing being removed than I am at just how awful the support is. So a new woman on the phone, I skip the mention of a listing removal and dive right in to the fact that It’s been an entire week yada yada yada.

This woman was at least kind enough to be the one person in all of this to actually look at the policy page with me. When I pointed out, and she read back to me, the specific bullet points that make it quite clear that my listing was valid and in the right place, she paused for a moment and just could not come up with a response. Stopped dead in her tracks almost mid sentence, she fell back to looking for the elusive manager again, which of course was not available.

She said the best she could do was make another note on the case for the manager to call me within 24 hours. I ended the conversation by making sure that she also noted that If I didn’t get a call by then, that I was going to file a formal complaint with the BBB as well as send a detailed email of the situation to eBay’s CEO (who’s email address I got from this website, thank you very much!)

If I were a betting man, I’d be banking on writing that report to the BBB tomorrow afternoon.

Here is the policy page for reference:

Any successful photographer (or sculpter, painter, etc) will agree that networking plays a huge role in broadening your audience. In the age of the internet, there are a plethora of available outlets to satisfy this need. But what happens when your work involves nudity? Some websites allow it, and some do not, and each has its own way of handling the subject. Below is a brief, and in no way exhaustive, list of some of the more popular networking websites that artists use and weither or not they allow content with nudity:

  500px Nudity Allowed   DeviantArt Nudity Allowed   Flickr Nudity Allowed   StumbleUpon Nudity Allowed   Twitter Nudity Allowed   Tumblr Nudity Allowed   eBay Nudity Allowed   Behance Nudity Allowed   Blogger Nudity Allowed   Facebook Nudity NOT Allowed   Google+ Nudity NOT Allowed   Myspace Nudity NOT Allowed

As you can see, most of the websites above allow nudity. Now keep in mind that “nudity” is NOT the same as “sexually explicit” or “pornography” (never has been, never will be…I don’t care what anyone’s personal beliefs are here, there are hundreds of years of history to back this up). Some websites clearly define in their Terms of Service where exactly they draw the line on what is and is not acceptable. DeviantArt is one such website, detailing that nudity is allowed but that erections, physical sexual interaction of the genitalia, or sexual lubricants are prohibited. Other websites, like 500px, Behance, and Tumblr use a much broader approach in that content is flagged as “NSFW” (Not Safe For Work…a generalized and adopted term that basically referes to any content that would be frowned upon if you were to view it in a typical American office environment).

While I don’t agree with the “NSFW” method, mainly because of the prudish mentality that it encourages, I do see the reasoning behind websites using this method of content tagging or filtering. It gives them free reign to just blanket over various types of content without any clear definition as to what is or is not acceptable. That being said, I would much rather see a website utilize this (VERY simple) method than to completely stifle and alienate a potential user base.

And that is exactly what Facebook, Google+ and Myspace have done! I know that most people probably couldn’t care less about Myspace these days, but thought I’d include it here since they did a recent relaunch. What are these three networks so afraid of really? Each of these websites strictly forbid nudity, and worse still is that they all lump nudity in with pornography or sexually explicit content. Thats quite the insult to any artist that works with the nude form and there have been little to no answers as to why these websites take this hardline stand.

My Facebook page is clearly marked as 18+ in the page settings, so Facebook has some form of age filtering capabilities in place, though it would seem that its only really used for pages that relate to alcohol. Why not take the next step and apply the already in place age restrictions to user profiles or photos/videos? Facebook really only stands to gain by making this logical step forward with the massive increase to ad revenue such an action would produce.

Google+, while it may have failed to be the usurper of Facebook’s dominance in the social media domain, has found itself praised to no end as an outlet for creative types and artists. UNLESS THERE IS NUDITY! Google’s restriction on nudity in the G+ community strikes me as totally bizarre,  given the fact that google is the single leading referrer to all kinds of “adult” material with simple nudity being among the tame. Granted that G+ does not have any kind of age filter in place anywhere on the service, which they really should given some of the content I’ve seen published there.

And Myspace, well like I said, who cares about myspace anymore? But the fact remains that there is no stated reasoning behind not allowing nudity in posted content.



Thats my rant of the day, if you’ve found an excellent networking outlet for you work that contains nudity, please share your experiences!



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