Friday, July 14, 2006

A first: votes from Phoon fans on a submitted photo

A guy uploaded a photo of "a Phoon on a mule". I liked the concept. It reminded me of the police officer on the horse. The top half of the guy looked fine: good arm shapes. But the bottom half of the guy wasn't right: the mule was headed toward the camera, thus making the guy's lower half face the camera. He was not truly sideways to the camera--rule #1--but perhaps fans would find the photo "interesting enough to bend the rules."

At the time that I wrote this entry, I had a Phoons newsletter subscription list and it occurred to me to ask that list of folks what they thought. I mentioned to them what I described above.

Four out of the group interacted with me. I've included their (edited) replies here.

Two main reasons I don't like this Phoon very much:

1. It is not a sideways perspective, as you say. It is close, but the "interest value" is not there. And it is not really up to your high standards, which is the major strength of

2. The Straddle Phoon. I hate it. It just creeps me out for some reason! The police officer on the horse doesn't bother me as much, and I think it is because of the angle. The sideways angle doesn't seem as creepy as the front view.

Glad to be a part of the inaugural opinion-seeking e-mail.

Keep your expectations high, and I vote no on the horse.

No way that should be allowed, it is not photographed at the right angle and he is not posing for it right at all. It stinks.

(From me) Are there other photos, by chance, that have rubbed you the wrong way for whatever reason, that you wish weren't on the site?

There are some photos that I do not care for that much, but I figure once they are on the site they should be left there. I would hate to think someone saying to a friend check my photo out and it being gone. People take things too personal sometimes, especially Phoon Photos.

The horse is looking away. Does that improve it? :)

I think you're right about not including it. But you could have a "didn't make the cut" category and let people vote on whether or not any of those should be allowed into the regular gallery.

Tough one. I think the setting is pretty (nice colors, interesting situation and background... where was this picture taken?), but I did notice how his body faces the camera. Probably it should be put in "phoonlike", unless it's his first picture or for some other special reason.

Yes, this reminds me how much I want to implement a rating system so that fans can have their say in which ones are their favorites and which ones they collectively say are not as impressive. (Which reminds me what someone said to me once: "50% of graduating doctors were in the bottom half of their class.")

I had informed the submitter that the legs were wrong but that I wanted to hear what others thought. He replied that he was okay with whatever decision. And I did end up deciding to not use the photo.

Thanks to all for their input! Good to hear the variety of thoughts out there. I've observed similar "extremes" before: there are those that might want just about anything Phoon-like to end up on the site ("Hey, they were joining in the spirit of Phoons! Reward them!) and those who want as many people to Phoon while still meeting the fundamental requirements of pose quality and interest in location ("Hey, if the Phoon is what ties everything together, they've got to put the effort into getting that part right!").

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Who can compete with those guys?

With the excellence in photos like these, I wonder how many people are inclined to just "give up" on phooning?!

(And it cracks me up that the left one was Anders' idea and his
hiking buddy did the pose. I imagine the conversation going like this: "Hey, Magnus, I've got a great idea. See that mountain top over there? Why don't you go over there and phoon for me? I'll just wait here. Hey--and do it right. I don't want to have to send you twice...")

I remember when Brandon submitted a flurry of Phooner wrote in and semi-joked that they giving up on phooning for a while, now that they'd seen what Brandon was submitting.

So I quickly reassured them, as I'll reassure you: gorgeous photos from Utah, another regular don't stop! Hey, even *I* have given up the notion of trying to keep up with them. If they have amazing, stunning Phoon pics, great! We all get to enjoy those. Sure, we just don't have access to the amazing places they do (and I'm not sure I have the energy!). But don't forget the reverse: you and I have access to weird objects and beautiful locations that they don't. I was glad they kept phooning. It's been fun to see what they've come up with.

There is stuff around you that is Phoon-worthy. You may have forgotten about it because you grew up with it or it's so familiar to locals that you don't think others would care. Think about it again with "Phoon eyes." For example, I like how Lisa showed off the Maytag headquarters in Iowa. Who else has one of those nearby! One of these days, I want to go find a Phoon-worthy spot at Google's headquarters. It's only 20 minutes away. (You haven't heard of Google? Just google them to learn more.)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Rising to the occasion

"Am I supposed to get up on something for my Phoon picture
to be accepted?" No, there is no such requirement.

"Is it more interesting if I'm up on something?" Hmm. I suppose that depends on what the thing is.

It was funny to me when good friends John and Gretchen told me that seeing the slab of concrete on which they're standing is what motivated them to Phoon in front of this beautiful cathedral. That illustrated the common misconception that phooning is somehow tied to being up on something.

With that said, there are things that seem to call out, "Phoon on me!" The better examples of "up on something" photos are the Had to Phoon on it ones.

It is often true that climbing up onto something in the view would be more interesting to everyone's eye than just Phooning next to it. And there are always those who will take this idea to the extreme.