There is a computer term to describe the management of lists. It is called LIFO, for Last In First Out. It should be a photo agency term too. What used to be the field of editorial photography is now becoming a standard in all websites, be it commercial stock to royalty free.

The idea is quite simple. The last image added is the first one scene. The thinking behind it also quite simple, however maybe not correct. The latest images added are the most interesting and thus should be the most visible. It is, again,  a pale rendition of the retail space where new items are the hot items. However, is that necessarily true ?

Photography is after all a timeless activity. A lot of photo agencies have very valuable images that are timeless and sell over and over again. But, for some odd retail space reasoning, they are put in the back shelves, only to be found by those who happen they exists.

New is always considered better in websites these days. The most recent the image, the better it is. At least according to the way website function. But new has only that quality to it: it is new. We are brainwashed by marketing that we apply the same tired old tricks to images. “Come see the latest images” is  the photo agency equivalent of “come see the brand new Ford”. I know of a lot of older Ford cars that are much better than the recent ones.

Can images be treated the same way ? New has the value of “never published”. But then again, some of the older images have the same status. Shouldn’t a search engine do a filtered search on “never published” instead of “latest images” ? A free idea for those in the lack of.

LIFO should be changed to BIFO ( Best In First Out).

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2 Thoughts on “LIFO

  1. Joseph on July 20, 2007 at 6:17 am said:

    I don t agree that everyone work that way. I mean many sites have pertinence rather than most recent selected as default.

    Question is what is pertinence? or interestingness? or “best” as you say, it is a complex function that need to take into account time of course but also reaction of other people towards the photo (number of time viewed, rating, number of time bought, comments, or other criteria).

    Managing a photolibrary is even more complex than a managing a cellar of very good wine!

    And in both cases LIFO is heretic.

  2. jeffgreenberg on July 21, 2007 at 7:13 am said:

    >Shouldn’t a search engine do a filtered search on “never published”
    Advanced search:

    a. never published for no good reasons
    b. never published for good reasons

    But wait! Never sold at one agency does not necessarily mean never sold…?

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