Sunday, December 30, 2012

Silence! You Have No Voice

If there's one thing I despise, it's being minimized. Considering I was just minimized on DeviantArt, it's not making a great start for my Sunday.

Link to the "Solitude" photo on DeviantArt
To provide context about the situation, I uploaded this photo onto DeviantArt and placed it into the category of abstract photos. About 30 minutes later, I received a message saying my photo was reported as inappropriately categorized and had been moved. In a painfully ironic twist, the photo didn't even indicate it had received any views. Not only was it moved, but it was done so in such a way as to not indicate at least two people looked at it: the community member who reported it and the administrator who moved it. My selection of abstract as the category is debatable. But whether or not truly the photo is abstract is not where my real issue resides. Enough said. I'll share my journal post I published on DeviantArt after this happened:

"Earlier this morning, one of my photos was moved to a new category after I submitted it. From what I understand, another community member reported it as being in the wrong category. The photo, "Solitude" was moved from abstract to Urban Exploration as a result.  To say the least, I am not pleased. Here's why: the photo is intended to communicate more than just an image of urban settings. With the single sentence of description coupled to the photograph, it makes a statement about how our culture has learned to turn a blind eye to decay and solitude, ignoring society-based issues as if they don't exist.

I'm sure those who are purists (or simply like to argue) might claim the photo doesn't rely on form, color or flow to fit into the category of photography style abstracts. But take a look in the upper quadrant. Do you see the predominance of the reflection of light? Well, I consider that a key aspect of this photo. And let's take a look at the empty space on the left side as well. It's fundamentally a usage of the absence of color. The garden hose to the left? Being alongside an empty chair, it provides a more sinister symbolism implying torture... ah forget it, I'm talking to myself here.

My selection of abstract as the category is certainly open for debate. Conceptual art might have been appropriate but I do feel the photo has beauty and is no less important than the message it carries. 

But the categorization of the photo is not where my real issue resides. Let's try to look at this from my perspective and maybe you'll understand why I feel upset. By moving the photo and only notifying me after the fact, I was stripped of my voice and power in the matter by being totally removed from the decision making process. For that matter, the community member reporting their disagreement was given more power by at least being involved in the process.

The admins of DeviantArt can do as they please, it's their site. I also understand the move was done to help others find similar content and as such, it was not a malicious action. As such, I have no objections to the photo being in the Urban Exploration category. But it would be nice to have someone at least discuss the issue with me rather than telling me after the fact thereby minimizing me to an insignificant bystander."

My anger will be insignificant to anyone except myself, but I would like to point out that taking away a person's voice is a social abuse we commit on a daily basis. Yet we defend our actions saying people should develop tougher skins or that they are reading too much into a situation. I disagree. Courtesy rests upon each of our shoulders. If we opt to hide rudeness with excuses, it's a choice. But I for one, do not find value in the act. Think before you act and maybe you'll spare someone from having a bad day.