I do enjoy using flickr, and for the most part its a pleasant experience. Yesterdays rude comments were unusual, but not unprecedented. However the very small part of the site that I occupy has resulted in my making some great contacts from around the world and I would miss that dialogue if I wasn't there.

As someone, who until recently worked completely alone, having little contact with other photographers, I appreciate the sense of community that sites like flickr can bring. The opportunity to share images, ideas and techniques is invaluable and is like belonging to some world wide camera club.

Yesterdays experience was actually quite funny. I was amused by the term "trustafarian" since it implied I was young and rich and dreadlocked. Since I'm none of these things I found it quite flattering. In a way I can understand how that comment originated. My flickr photostream includes sets taken with a selection of expensive cameras. There's nothing to indicate that photography is my living, nor any explanation that one camera is sold to pay for another, or that as a full-time photographer I get tax advantages which significantly reduce the cost of that equipment to me. Nor is there any indication of the choices I make for my disposable income. To an outsider it could look as if I was "bragging" about the cameras I can afford. However I'm unsure as to how a picture of a narrow boat at Stratford-upon-Avon qualifies for "trustafarian" branding. I haven't posted many images of dope-smoking reggae musicians eating organic food lately.

The comment about my "grainy amateur shots" was inaccurate in that they weren't grainy. I also have no problem with the term amateur. Julia Margaret Cameron and Jaques-Henri Lartigue were amateurs, so I'm in good company. However since both came from wealthy families they probably qualify for "trustafarian" status. There's also a case of swings and roundabouts, since some of my images receive praise which they don't deserve, so it probably balances it out that some get a rubbishing now and then.

I also did look at the photos of my critic. They were so unbelievably inept that my feelings of annoyance turned to ones of pity. (Well almost!)

I have a theory that while we interact via these networking sites on the internet, we are are still thinking of ourselves as being in some self-contained bubble, with no real comprehension of the world that exists beyond our screens. A bit like the the hooligan driver who "safe" inside their vehicle has no comprehension of the havoc they are creating.

The experience won't deter me from using flickr though I'm sure it will happen again. One of the consequences of posting your images for the world to see is that anyone can express their opinion on them & it may not always be what you want to hear.