Tim Gamble is a Manchester, UK-based photographer who uses light-painting techniques to create surreal and abstract artworks. His photos are almost entirely created in-camera, so imagine Gamble’s surprise when 500px unexpectedly deleted his account for “posting non-photographic content.”
He quickly contacted 500px to find out why.
“[I]t looks like it was reported and banned for posting non-photographing content,” the 500px rep writes. “Illustrations and graphic designs are not accepted at this time […] so we will not be reinstating your account.”
Gamble, an ambassador for Light Painting Brushes, estimates that 99% of his photos are created in-camera using all kinds of light-painting tools and techniques.
“I use my camera to record the light I place in the frame,” he says. “I have various tools I use in conjunction with my camera […] which can lead to some crazy results.
“I’d say 99% of my work is created in-camera during a single long exposure with some Lightroom edits to the raw file. Sometimes I like to create double exposures in Photoshop for some of my 365 project shots, but they are described as such and are few and far between and I wouldn’t classify them as graphic design or an illustration […]”
What’s more, Gamble’s uploads to 500px all have their original EXIF data in them, so the equipment and exposure details could have informed 500px that the photos were created using a camera rather than in software.
“[I]t feels like quite a compliment and I’m not angry,” Gamble says. “It’s unsurprising that to the untrained eye they appear to be created in a non-photographic manner although you would have thought that on a platform such as theirs someone would have the first idea as to what light painting is.”
“The one thing which leaves a sour taste in my mouth is the fact they deleted it without at least asking me or giving warning.”
So if you’re a photographer on 500px who creates abstract photos using techniques such as light painting or double exposures, you may want to tread a bit more carefully until 500px clarifies its position on where it draws the line between photography and “non-photographic content.”