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Poor Captioning/Keywording and dim newspaper staff!

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I've always thought that one of the reasons that buyers will continue to use established agencies is that they can generally rely on the product they're buying. They assume that captioning is accurate and that a place or an object is what it says it is; this isn't the case for the internet as a whole. I know that mistakes have been pointed out on this forum before but none have been quite so glaring as one I saw in today's Telegraph. It's in the iPad version but not online - and I don't know if it's in the printed edition. Below is a screenshot:

 

 

TelegraphDeathValley_zps5cc40c70.jpg

 

 

One thing that article definitely doesn't show is a shot of Death Valley in California. There can be few more recognisable sights than Monument Valley in Arizona/Utah.

 

I found the image on Alamy and, sure enough, it's captioned as Death Valley, which is an unforgivable error on the part of the photographyer/agency (Acestock). However, even more startling is the fact that the editorial staff at the Telegraph didn't notice the error and have boldy put it up as a shot of Furnace Creek in Death Valley.

 

If such stupid errors are made by contributors, then the reputation of the whole Alamy brand suffers. I would suggest that those guilty of this sloppy behaviour have their accounts closed, as it is in nobody's interest to see such glaring howlers.

 

Ian D

Edited by IDP
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Alamy may be 'established'. not sure that it is an 'agency', more a crowd sourced image site, where most users seem to be earning around $0.25 per year for their product. 

 

Under these conditions mistakes are inevitable, as they are in any production system where overhead and operating costs are at a minimum and pay hardly covers basic necessities (in this case the expenses incurred in actually producing the work).

 

Buyers might be falling about laughing at how dumb we all are to allow our pictures to be sold so cheaply, but surely they are not expecting captions to be always correct too? 

 

That's taking the biscuit, surely.

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It shows up as correctly captioned today - same day as article????

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/v3npd16tqjsmkag/Screenshot%202014-07-26%2012.50.20.jpg

 

On the general point, it's always been buyer beware. There's lots of wrongly captioned plants etc on Alamy - just poor id skills from non-specialists. However, to be fair, this is nothing new. Back in film days (with medium format especially) printers has the habit of occasionally putting the film back into the wrong sleeve when doing a scan run. The mistake doesn't get picked up by the agency, most of whom are frankly admin, and next thing a client is moaning about wrong attribution......

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It shows up as correctly captioned today - same day as article????

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/v3npd16tqjsmkag/Screenshot%202014-07-26%2012.50.20.jpg

 

On the general point, it's always been buyer beware. There's lots of wrongly captioned plants etc on Alamy - just poor id skills from non-specialists. However, to be fair, this is nothing new. Back in film days (with medium format especially) printers has the habit of occasionally putting the film back into the wrong sleeve when doing a scan run. The mistake doesn't get picked up by the agency, most of whom are frankly admin, and next thing a client is moaning about wrong attribution......

 

Actually, Geoff, that's the caption I saw and it is incorrect. Unfortunately, it's one of those useless ones where there's just a string of keywords, but it quite clearly says "Death Valley" - which it ain't!

 

I agree about there being a lot of incorrectly captioned material on Alamy but it's probably easier to make a mistake with obscure fauna and flora  - although just as unforgivable. In this case, the newspaper should certainly have picked it up and perhaps noticed that, although it says Death Valley, it's been positioned in Utah!

 

If there were some sanction for sloppy captioning, perhaps it would become less prevalent?

 

Ian D

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Ian, that looks to me like mixing up of captions rather than incorrect....although it is incorrect.... monument Valley is in the caption just not in right order. Could be software conversion but agencies don't check much after upload.

 

As for plants being obscure.... Hmmm

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But Death Valley is in California. Definitely incorrect and I have seen many, many instances where there are a huge number of keywords and many are incorrect. It looks like there was a list of keywords for desert locations and they just put all of them in.

 

Paulette

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As for plants being obscure.... Hmmm

 

As an ecologist by training and gardener by choice it always worries me how many incorrectly captioned plant photos I've found on Alamy since I started uploading in January.  Not just wrong variety or species but wrong genus or even family.  It can't breed confidence in buyers - to the possible detriment of us all.  OK, not everyone is an expert - but before a photographer uploads an image all it takes is a quick search using their suspected ID keywords.  If the images that come up are wildly different to what they're planning to upload the chances are they've got it wrong.

 

To give an example I grow a number of different Hedychium species and varieties so, before uploading an image of one of them, I've checked out the competition.  Do a search on Hedychium and you get 235 results.  6 of them - 2.5% - are captioned as hedychiums but are completely different families.  We all make mistakes but that's just unprofessionally sloppy.  It's not difficult to find other examples - which means that buyers can find them as well.  They only have to be burnt once.

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As an ecologist by training and gardener by choice it always worries me how many incorrectly captioned plant photos I've found on Alamy since I started uploading in January. Not just wrong variety or species but wrong genus or even family. It can't breed confidence in buyers - to the possible detriment of us all.

 

Quite the opposite. If buyers want certainty they will go to a high end or specialist agency, who employ qualified staff to check captions and details. The agency will charge a higher rate for the service. Sloppy work here helps to keep these agencies in business, and concerned specialist photographers who think they are good enough can use them to sell their images.  This is a counterbalance to the pressure for ever lower prices.

 

On the other hand, experienced buyers will be aware that Alamy operates more like a market with lots of different stalls and quality of service. Those who provide a good service here wil get the buyers.

 

To support my argument I was going to mention a small Welsh seaside town, but resisted the temptation.

 

Edited by Robert Brook

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I hope Tom Chivers has a sense of humour.

 

dd

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It's not always the photographer's fault. Very often, it's the picture buyer who does a very sloppy and hasty job and hardly reads the picture's caption. 

 

 

I've only sold a handful of photos so far and I've seen evidence of this, a mistake on the part of the person using the image.  I found one of my images on a website that was taken in a big city and they reported the wrong part of town with the image.  They incorrectly identified a neighbourhood I had not travelled to even though my keywords and description state the correct place and no other.

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