"We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?" - Steve Jobs

EyeEm - An Ad Free Instagram For Photo Lovers

I’ve been a big fan of photography for some time now and, while I’m not particularly good at it, I love to look at some of the works of art people around the world often share online.

I used to enjoy Flickr quite a bit, back in the day, but that died a death when Yahoo acquired it. Eventually, most of my online photography browsing ended up happening on Instagram. The content there, however, quickly switched from real photography to pictures of peoples dinner and ‘Influencers’ trying to sell me some garbage food supplements. A lot of my current issue with Instagram (apart from the fact it’s owned by Facebook) is a little self inflicted, to be fair. I do follow a few celebrities, to be fair, but even without this my timeline would still be full of irrelevant ads every 2 posts. It’s just not an enjoyable experience anymore.

To this end I’m aiming to spend my Instagram time browsing another site I’ve enjoyed for some years now, called EyeEm. The site isn’t new, in fact it launched almost 10 years ago now, but it seems that everytime I mention it to someone it’s the first time they’ve heard about it. I wanted to put this short post up to do my small part in raising awareness of a great photography community.

Photo by Dariusz Sankowski / Unsplash

At a very basic level, if you’ve used any photography sharing / social networking app you’ll be instantly familiar with the process. You open the app (or site) and upload any pictures you have on your device. You’ll be instantly familiar with the basics, but there are some interesting aspects of the app and service that make it stand out to me.

Firstly, when uploading your images, the app utilises something it calls ‘EyeEm Vision’ which uses machine learning to analyse your image and suggest a handful of meaningful tags. From past experiences it does a fantastic job of understanding what’s in your image. This tagging is not only beneficial to you and the rest of the browsing community, but it helps a lot with the next part that I find interesting.

EyeEm also offers the completely optional ability to list your photos in their ‘Market‘, via a small ‘Sell on Market‘ toggle when uploading photos. The EyeEm Vision tagging helps you tag the images appropriately so they show up in relevant searches by potential buyers. While I wont be retiring anytime soon off the back of my sales, and it’s been building up over a few years, I’ve made just shy of $1,000 so far. If you look at the quality, or lack thereof, in my profile, that’s fairly impressive.

The last selling point of EyeEm, to me, is the community itself. Unless you look very hard there are very few selfies to be found, just a lot of really great (but also some terrible of course) photography in a clean interface, with no ads and a fair bit of interaction from real life accounts. There is little benefit to be had from running a bot on EyeEm I imagine, so there doesn’t appear to be any.

This isn’t supposed to be a full on review of EyeEm, but I have seen a fair bit of dissatisfaction with Instagram amongst my Twitter timeline in recent years, so I wanted to share some details about a network that seems to be growing, yet remains relatively hidden to many. If you’re into Photography, you could do far worse than giving this site a try.