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500px Bans Photographer for Photos Not Being ‘Photographic’ Enough

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.”

Gamble, who shares his work online as Fade To Black Light Art, recently found his account deleted.

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 […]”


Light-painting photo by Tim Gamble.

Light-painting photo by Tim Gamble.

Light-painting photo by Tim Gamble.

Light-painting photo by Tim Gamble.

Light-painting photo by Tim Gamble.

Light-painting photo by Tim Gamble.

Light-painting photo by Tim Gamble.

Light-painting photo by Tim Gamble.

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.”


P.S. You can find more of Gamble’s work on his Instagram, Facebook, and Flickr.


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